University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I was just curious what other people's experience has been with using subdomains for different departments/schools instead of regular subfolders (which is what we currently use). For example:

www.yourschool.edu/department

vs.

department.yourschool.edu

From a usability perspective, is one or the other more natural to your site visitors?

From a technical perspective, has using a subdomain caused any problems with linking, cross-domain scripting, etc.?

Views: 353

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

My preference has always been department.yourschool.edu.
We do not allow subdomains to be used by our departments/colleges/units. Our main reason was because prior to a site redesign several years ago our departments all appeared to have a separate identity - some completely unrecognizable as part of Southeastern. We worked very hard to create a unified, consistent presence for our Web site and with the support of our administration decided that all Southeastern Web sites should be a subfolder under our main www.selu.edu url. From a web management perspective this makes it much easier to keep up with as well since we don't have to keep track of 20 to 30 different subdomains. We received a little resistance at first because we had to actually remove a few subdomains but overall everyone was supportive of the decision.
I have found telling someone go to: department.yourschool.edu they will type in www.department.yourschool.edu . Yes, you could setup forwarders I know. I find subfolders relieve this issue.
I work at the college level of a university and at my level, we mainly use subdomains. Subdomains seem to be more intuitive and easier for marketing. For example, printed materials look better with clean URLs.
We do a lot of 'short urls' or redirects for marketing purposes. Many of our offices and departments have redirects like www.selu.edu/housing, www.selu.edu/admissions, etc.

We do the same, w/o the www. (callutheran.edu/shortcut)

My university uses subfolders. For the longest time I thought we were just "behind the times,"but the points Amber L makes are very reasonable. Thank you for that point of view!
We do mostly subdomains for the larger depts and colleges, but then subfolders for the smaller depts in those colleges. It seems to show that one is a part of the larger.
ex. engineeringcollege.school.edu/civil
That is how I prefer it, but honestly we have some that do both. If they want a subdomain we'll do it.
My understanding is that, if used correctly, subdomains may improve your search results or provide for "friendlier urls" or identities for marketing purposes. However, content management (e.g., potential duplication) and server administration (e.g., domain upkeep) is probably going to be more challenging

IMHO, I think subfolders are easier all the way around. More intuitive from an technical perspective. From a usability perspective. I think all but the most casual site visitors are attuned to using a slash to get around.

Eventually, it all depends on strategy and resources, no?
We use subfolders for sites housed on the main server and subdomains for those house on other servers. I actually blogged about this recently at http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2008/10/04/subdomain.html as people kept asking me why they couldn't have a subdomain and I had to keep explaining that it wouldn't really give them an advantage.
While I appreciate what you are saying, Heidi, about subdomains having little impact on marketing,
I'll have to confess that I'm not in agreement. It does have an impact on perception, and marketing
is very much about perception. I have been involved with many, many startup things where we picked
a name just so it worked as a URL. There is a bit of a "vanity license plate" effect, where even if you think
it doesn't matter, it matters to the person that has it, too. That said, one could ask who really needs to have a "front door" site within a university "enterprise" for which a domain name gets used. The larger the university, the more sense it makes, that's also an observation I would make.

I would only go to the 3 level, the service.school.edu, that's the limit of where it makes sense. I have
seen folks try to go for more levels, typically in governmental sites (or edu in the UK), and after 3 it
just feels totally bureaucratic.

At my school, we do hand out these 3rd level names upon request. If there is some issue with
the appropriateness of the names or we think some name should be reserved, then a discussion
ensues.
Dirk,
I think I get your point. The people at Case who request subdomains certainly do have the perception that it helps, but from an enduser point what I've read seems to indicate it doesn't make much difference. It may also be easier to manage on a smaller site like WCU. For Case with 347,000 pages indexed on Google (not counting internal pages) limiting subdomains to sites housed on other servers helps us from both an administrative and navigational standpoint.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Congrats go out to Harper College on their 2014 ACUP awards for their print and online catalog! Well-deserved!"
4 hours ago
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Wondering why you should pick a CMS designed exclusively for higher ed? Find out in today's blog post! "
7 hours ago
Michael Carpenter replied to Michael Carpenter's discussion Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation 2014
"The discussion we've had around it so far concerns communications prior to as well as once the "business relationship" with the student has ceased, such as Recruitment and Alumni Relations activities. Since these activities occur in…"
7 hours ago
Dan Bashaw replied to Michael Carpenter's discussion Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation 2014
"Hi Michael -- Do you have any links to recent articles, posts, or PSE policy documents that put CASL in the PSE context? I find that when I discuss CASL with various departments, a common first reaction is that it 'doesn't mean us'.…"
12 hours ago
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"The OmniUpdate family just got bigger! We welcome San Diego Community College District to the OU Campus CMS user community!"
yesterday
Michael Carpenter posted a discussion

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation 2014

How have Canadian post-secondary schools dealt with complying to CRTC's anti-spam legislation that is coming into effect this July? Are all out-going bulk messages managed centrally?Are all your list-servs centralized?What services are you using?Any social media implications, such as promoted posts through Facebook?Thanks.See More
yesterday
Profile IconMichael Carpenter and Carl-Martin Nelson joined University Web Developers
Monday
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Wondering how to create your own CMS gadget? Check out today's blog post! "
Apr 17
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Another new customer! We welcome Clark College to the OmniUpdate family and OU Campus CMS user community!"
Apr 16
Profile IconAndy Long, Melba Acevedo and George Fullerton joined University Web Developers
Apr 15
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"We warmly welcome Dillard University to the OmniUpdate family! We're excited to have them aboard the OU Campus CMS user train!"
Apr 14
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"We welcome Reynolds Community College to the OU Campus CMS user community! We're excited to have them in the OmniUpdate family!"
Apr 11
Brian Richardson is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 10
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"New post up on the blog! Tips from Higher Education Marketing's CEO Philippe Taza on Tackling Higher Ed Digital Marketing Challenges. Give it a read and comment on your top challenges!"
Apr 9
John Jackson commented on Debbie's blog post New ICANN TLDs
"We've identified the domains we want to follow, such as .education (released at the end of March), .college, .university, and .sucks (I'm serious on the last one). The last three listed are still in the evaluation phase.  Just today…"
Apr 9
Brett Sizemore posted a discussion

Interactive Designer

APPLY AT: https://jobs.pepperdine.eduThe Interactive Designer supports Pepperdine's integrated marketing communications efforts aimed at strengthening the brand, elevating national reputation, improving recruitment, and building engagement through creative design across media including web, mobile, broadcast, print, and events.DUTIES: Directly support the creative communications needs of the University through the development and execution of integrated…See More
Apr 8
Brett Sizemore is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 8
Heather Godwin joined Rik Williams's group
Thumbnail

Maps and Mapping

For the discussion of the Mapping of University campuses and facilities from static images to groovy Google mashups.
Apr 7
Profile IconMatt Dana and Heather Godwin joined University Web Developers
Apr 7
Matt Lauer is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 3

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2014   Created by Mark Greenfield.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service