Website Availability

Websites and online business systems need to be available to everyone at any time, from any location, and with any type of device.

All Net4orce websites and online business systems run on high performance web servers located in established reputable data centers with high speed backbone internet connections.  Together with the high reliability of our individual websites and online business systems, this assures their availability at all times.

Our web servers are all UK based and are mirrored in two separate locations, one in Maidenhead and the other in Portsmouth.  This protects against the likelihood of a mains power supply failure or any other common failure, such as a fire, that could disable servers in a single location.  All of the data is also backed up automatically on a daily basis and the most critical data is backed up continuously throughout every day.

The availability of a website is also determined by its compatibility with modern internet browsers and operating systems, including those used on mobile devices.  

The continuing demand for greater visitor interactivity and the addition of novel features to maintain competitiveness has to be weighed against their compatibility with the most commonly used internet browsers.  At Net4orce, we continually monitor the visitor usage of browsers, operating systems, screen resolutions, etc.

For example, in Q1 of 2011, Windows XP was the dominant operating system and IE8 was the dominant browser.  By Q4 of 2012, these had been completely surpassed by Windows 7 and IE9 respectively.  

Tablets Are Here To Stay

There has also been rapid growth in the use of Apple’s iOS operating system and especially iPads during the same period.  By Q1 of 2013, 25% of the visitors to some of our customer websites were using iPads.  With so many suppliers entering the tablet market, it is most likely that over 50% of all website visitors by then end of 2013 will be using tablets of some form in preference to desktop PCs.

A new technology, known as responsive design, has emerged to meet the requirements of these devices.  This technology enables the same website to be presented is the most appropriate format for all device, from smart phones to widescreen HD monitors.  This technology is now an integral of all of our latest websites and online business systems, making them available to all visitors, regardless of the device being used to access them.

Impaired Vision & Colour Blindness

Accessibility is also an important consideration for visitors with impaired vision and colour blindness. All of our websites are fully compliant with the internationally recognised requirements laid down by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which states: -

“The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.”

To making the website available to these users, requires the inclusion of a means of increasing the font size, ensuring that all images are suitably tagged, and providing a text-only version.  All modern browsers also allow the user to increase the size of a web page by zooming in, which is also employed by visitors with limited vision, and especially amongst the elderly.  Each element of the web pages must be scalable in a uniform and consistent manner to make them available to this type of visitor. 

Cookie Compliance

Recent Government legislation with regard to the use of cookies has impacted the availability of websites in terms of their level of interaction with the customer.  This has forced all websites to carry a warning and to require the visitor’s consent before proceeding.  As usual with this type of legislation it is not preventing the less scrupulous use of cookies, against which it was targeted.  It has added an encumbrance to all websites that use cookies, which are essential to provide the visitor with a truely interactive experience.