Speed is great, but get the facts right too.

I agree ... and I don't.

As far as design is concerned, we are all guilty of over-design. I remember launching a web site aimed at a fairly easily definable group, many of whom congregated on a particular list.

Once the site was up, I put an invite on their list - come to the pub, I'll pay for the drinks all night and you can tell me what's right and what's wrong with our new site.

About 30 people turned up - not a very large group, but enough to give me some pretty clear and consistent comments. Overwhelmingly, what they didn't like were the graphics that slowed the site down. They wanted information at speed. We stripped the site to virtually text only, put any photos and graphics on to clearly marked pages and aimed for a maximum of a five second dowload time for any page unless it carried a health warning.

The site was instantly successful.

But it wasn't just the speed that made it successful - it was also the information.

The truth is that many (most?) people do want their information edited - that's what they pay for in newspapers. And they want it to be accurate and reliable.

The trouble with many blogs (including the Kottke one mentioned by Nick Denton of the Guardian) is that they are inconsistent, links are broken, and they can take you inadvertently to places you don't want to go.

It may well be that your final line - 'We can learn a lot from blogs' - is the key. What blogs need is a touch of professionalism to help sift the content and ensure that the information is top quality - what we need is a touch of amateurism to ensure that we don't become obsessed with style to the detriment of speed.

Keith Perch is a Regional New Media Director for Northcliffe Electronic Publishing.

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