Design Variations test

This test has been removed from Sitebeam.

What does it do?

Identifies separate graphic designs / layouts used by a website, and identifies how frequently each is used.

Example results

Example design variations test results

Why is it important?

This test is useful for several reasons:

  • In large sites, it is common to have ‘left over’ pages from a previous design that were missed during an upgrade. This test will find these.
  • Unexpected error messages, or broken pages, often appear as different designs (especially where the design is broken). This test identifies those pages.
  • When considering the replacement or upgrade of a website, this test can give an at-a-glance overview of the site is comprised, without having to view every page individually.

How is it measured?

Sitebeam analyses the following aspects of each page:

  • Images used
  • CSS¬†used
  • HTML / XHTML source, traits of

These are combined and weighted. Sitebeam then sorts these into sets, each of which represents a design.

Pages which appear to be redirections and frameset pages are ignored.

The thresholds and precise algorithms used for this test are trade secrets. We revise this algorithm from time-to-time to better identify similar and different page designs. Users may specify their own overall threshold level for design similarity, if they would prefer to see more distinct or similar designs listed.

Potential problems

This test is an automated summary of a subjective trait: graphic design. Human beings would be unable to agree, in many instances, how many ‘designs’ a website has and what they are. Therefore a computer – without the benefit of human intelligence – has a particularly hard task. Our approximation is however very accurate for the vast majority of cases.

How to use this test effectively

This test can be reviewed on an infrequent basis, particularly prior to or just after a redesign. Results should be investigated to ensure that any designs found are authorised and appropriate.

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