Nobody, not even web professionals, can look at a web site for 30 seconds and tell if it’s good. They can tell immediately if they think it’s attractive, and people with an experienced eye can pick out obvious problem areas. To assess a web site’s quality, we have to start by separating the content and function from the presentation.
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.
Anyone following higher education on LinkedIn these days reads a lot on of the value of a degree and the future of the universities. A deceptively simple question lurks under the conversations: is a university a business?
Yes, it is. YES. IT IS.
Not once in more than a decade of involvement in every aspect of university web sites have I heard a decision-maker ask the most important question of all: “Is this good for our visitors?” This doesn’t surprise me one iota. What astonishes me is that some government watchdog group isn’t all over this yet.