Don't ask me why but I today clicked a Google ad about IT jobs at Merrill Lynch. Not that I'm interested but I guess I was just curious to find out what this super-rich company has to offer in terms of IT technology. I guess what they need is a team of web developers. Here's why...

First of all, look at this screenshot. Apparently my browser is too crap for their website, but I know they're wrong. Firefox 1.5 is one of the fastest growing and most advanced browsers available. According to Google Analytics, about 30% of visitors of use Firefox. Granted that that site is geek oriented but more than 90% of my visitors are new ones who drop in through random Google searches. Out of curiousity I started the Windows machine we have at work to try the site there and when I reached the site I was horrified to know that there it does work in Firefox. Are Merrill Lynch Linux-haters? If so, let's continue complaining.

If you do a speed report on you find that their biggest document is a 52 kbytes CSS file followed by a 47 kbytes JS file. That's 54% of the total homepage weight. Contrast to which is less than 4% CSS + JS. I did a quick analysis of the JS file at just to find out that 14 kbytes is spent on just browser detection. Clever? With such a huge CSS file, is it really necessary to have 2.3 kbytes worth of inline style definitions?

A good website has good URLs (not just a good domain name). Look at a random newsitem URL on Think again!

At least the site's markup has a DOCTYPE but 14 nested <table> tags on the homepage is just not acceptable in year-numbers starting with a 2. Having 83 HTML validation errors is not OK either.

Come on guys, shape up or start again. This kind of f**ked up web development is not accessable for high profile companies like Merrill Lynch. Embarrasing.

Ben Mason - 28 March 2006 [«« Reply to this]
What's really funny is that in the screen shot it actually says firefox 0.8 and above!!
Chris West - 29 March 2006 [«« Reply to this]
ha ha - I did this on 'my' website at work. We got similar warnings in the same places but not to the same extreme as ML - eg. our overall page size is over but it says it would take 8 seconds to download, not 37!!
Chris West - 29 March 2006 [«« Reply to this]
...and I just noticed if you do it says your page will load in 71 seconds...worse than ML!????????

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