The new revamped and rebranded Mail Online website came out of beta this week, with a number of improvements to the previous version.

There is one major problem though; browsing through the site and loading pages can be a painfully slow process.

Mail Online

This makes the site very frustrating at times; from clicking on the Mail Online in Google to actually being able to scroll up and down the page or click on any stories takes more than ten seconds, which is way too slow.

To make sure it wasn't my PC or broadband connection, I tried a few other newspaper websites for a rough comparison:

  • Telegraph - 5 seconds to load home page
  • Times Online - 3 seconds
  • Independent - 3 seconds
  • Guardian - 6 seconds

Some of the feedback on the new site seems to back up my observation, with a number of users complaining that the site is now much slower than before.

The rule for loading times used to be eight seconds, before users would get bored and give up. Most have relatively fast broadband connections now though, so this is too long to wait.

Indeed, usability guru Jakob Nielsen recently told us that the rule was nearer one second, and should certainly be less than the ten or more it takes to load the Mail.  

There is a lot of content, images and adverts on the Mail's homepage which, as with some other news sites, slows the load times down. Perhaps the Mail should consider removing some of these elements and trimming down the page to make it easier for people.

Loading speed aside, the new site is an improvement on the old version. The look of the site has been improved, the new sports sections have much more detail and the navigation works better than before. It's just a pity that it is so cumbersome.

Related stories:
Site review: Daily Mail redesign  
Five ways to speed up your website   

Graham Charlton

Published 23 May, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (2)



I heard that Mail Online are using a new Content Management System. Could it be the CMS that's causing the slow down?

about 10 years ago

Ian Tester

Ian Tester, Senior Product Manager at brightsolid online publishing

A lot of sites have been doing this recently - redesigning and having massive page bloat. Quite a lot of them seem to be caused either by coiding issues whiuch have not been QAed properly, or slow-to-serve video ads.

I'm also finding that sites on open-source-hosted platforms are often the worst - Techcrunch for example just sucks for load time.

Sites that are driving me potty with awful load speeds, all of which I have stopped using or significantly cut down use of:

1. iGoogle - modules are *pathetically* slow to load, this is very poor from Google
2. Media Guardian - the redesign has really slowed the Guardian site, and it had some terminal bugs for a few weeks (which now seem to be fixed) but quick it ain't
3. Yahoo! The HP load speed site is OK, but the redirects from the front page and search results are so s....lo.......w that it's basically unusable. And it has been that way for years.

Sad that site owners aren't measuring page load speed and link latency as key customer metrics - it causes a lot of dropout and most companies assume everything is hunky dory - it rarely is.

Incidentally, this is connected to by the massive jump in Telegraph traffic when they sneakily moved their webtrends tags to the top of the page from the bottom - many large sites' pages simply fail to load properly nowadays because there's so much gubbins on the page so tags at the bottom will depress your traffic (although arguably if you can't get your page to load, you should not be counting it anyway).

about 10 years ago

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