Your Home Page: Main Entrance to the Virtual Campus

Several colleagues and I were chatting about the goals of a campus web redesign when one tossed in a thought-provoking question: what purpose should a home page serve?

If you accept that your web presence is your virtual campus, then the university or campus home page is its main entrance. You want to make an excellent first impression on visitors to draw them in, but you need to do it without hindering traffic. More importantly to the visitors, the main entrance must guide them up the drive easily toward their destinations.

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What Is a Virtual Campus?

One of the reasons I’ve put off starting this blog for years is that nobody’s coined a term yet for what I want to write about. Google “virtual campus” and the top results will be either a university’s online course offerings or its campus tour.

That’s not at all what I mean. For me, “virtual campus” is a way of thinking about a university’s web presence: approaching it not as collection of documents and web apps but as a collection of virtual buildings, rooms and property managed in a manner comparable to the best practices of physical plant operations.

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