University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I've been saying all week that I'll post this "when the site is ready." But nothing is ever ready on the web, and the cleanup on the long tail of our site will continue for a while, so I'll just ask:

Would you mind sharing thoughts, critiques, etc. of our relaunched site:

http://www.jhu.edu

The only background I'll give you (because site visitors never get any pep talk either) is that we're trying to radically simplify our presentation from the usual clutter of a site that tried to be all things to all people, to a site tightly focused on 1. telling the story of JHU to the visitor who knows little of the breadth of the university (i.e. it's more than just our excellent School of Medicine) and 2. making it drop-dead easy for people to find what they're looking for, no matter whether they come in through the home page, or 4 levels deep from a search-result.

A bit of a site guide here, as well: http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/featured/about_the_new_jhuedu/

Thanks.

Tim Windsor

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Hi Tim,

A few comments:

1. Making the large image so big that it pushes your news content below the fold is an interesting design decision. I realize you're placing the emphasis on "telling the story," which I think is right on, but aren't a lot of your visitors going to be looking for information like news and events? I just ask because this is a departure from what most other sites are doing, and I'm curious if you've seen/done any research that led you this direction.

2. When a site visitor is moving their mouse from the top navigation down to the page content, I think they may accidentally trigger your top menu dropdown menus, which could be a little distracting if they're just trying to read page content. You could work around this by putting a very slight delay between hovering on the top menu and having the menu actually drop down. Something like HoverIntent will take care of this (http://cherne.net/brian/resources/jquery.hoverIntent.html), or I'm sure there are other ways to take care of it with JS. We've used it on our site (http://www.oc.edu/), and it seems to help quite a bit with people getting "tangled" in our menus.

By the way, if you're really looking for some scathing critiques, you should resubmit to eduStyle (http://www.edustyle.net).

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