University Web Developers

University Web Developers

For higher education websites, do you find it more important for the website to be attractive, or be simple and usable?

Is there a way to get both simplicity for users of all ages with an overall look that is also attractive to multiple age groups but still eye catching to prospective students?

Views: 74

Replies to This Discussion

I think it is vital to have both, however if you have limited resources (time or money) then I would focus on usability first and foremost. After all, the basic purpose of a website is to deliver information that your target audience is looking for. I have seen it many times, a website looks really cool but then when you go to use it and start to look for a specific topic it becomes cumbersome. After a while you just quit looking. Don't get me wrong, it is very important to have a sharp looking site too but first and foremost the user is coming to your site to find information on a specific topic and if you can't provide that information they will just go somewhere else to find it, even if the site appears to be eye catching.

As far as incorporating both attractive and usable check out http://www.edustyle.net for inspiration.
I also agree with dmazon. What I've found is that in higher education, a lot of the "higher-uppers" really don't care about the design so much as long as it looks clean and understandable. I drives me nuts with the "above-the-fold" perception everyone has, to squeeze as much information on the top portion, when you can create a lot of elegant, sophisticated websites with the use of negative space. Importantly, figure what what is the purpose of the site, what you need to communicate that purpose, then create a design that fits that purpose. Design is a communication tool :P (That sounded text-booky). I should start a discussion about the "above-the-fold" perception. Curious to see what people's thought on that is.
I think they are both very important regardless of time line and budget. Your web expirence should be rich, fun and easy to use. I can't really see a design not appealing to the multiple audiences, its more in your information architecture and page content that mandates that. One major step in making sure that your site speaks to everyone, is the main navigation. Try taking out items that place people in baskets in your main navigation. There are plenty of resources that could go in main navigation that don't necessarily make people make a choice in where they want to go. Still have audience based navigation but not in he main navigation.

Here is an excellent example of a trendy design with navigation that does not put people in baskets.
http://www.wccnet.edu/
One of the things that I have learned these past six months regarding design, is that it needs to be well balanced: good design and good navigation. Usability is key for people to find things, but design is important too because for the culture that we are in today, first impressions are key. If the user does not like what they see, the thought in their mind is that if the institution does not take the time to spend wisely on it's outward appearance, what kind of sloppyness is going to be on the inside.

We just started the process of redesigning our Website. It is an 8 month process timeline that goes through everything from the design to navigation, to who are audiences are and how we are going to taylor the content/text to them individually, to the photography that we will be using, to the back-end architecture of our CMS to how content gets created and approved, focus groups... all the way to how we will push our brand through every page and interact seamlessly with new social media outlets that we are starting to utilize.

Design and Usability should be bonded at the waist. You really can't have a successful Website if these are not equal in quality and/or developed wisely.

steve thurston • webmaster
marketing department
digital media communications adjunct
valley forge christian college • phoenixville, pa
610.917.1476 • vfcc.edu

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Cody Bryant is now a member of University Web Developers
20 hours ago
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Rachael Frank from Gravity Switch to learn how to organize your content and messaging for a website redesign. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Thursday
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Capitalize on content by creating an editorial calendar for your college or university website. Here’s how: http://bit.ly/2WCauaY"
May 9
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"A soft launch of your website redesign is well worth the extra time. Find out why. http://bit.ly/2LfeigX"
May 2
Linda Faciana posted a blog post

Webcast - Website Redesign | The importance of using content inventories

Join us for our next webcast with Laura Lehman from Eastern Mennonite University to learn how to effectively use Google Sheets during a website redesign and migration! http://bit.ly/2zhdcItSee More
May 1
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"What are characteristics of the best CMS for colleges and universities? Read our guide to find out: http://bit.ly/2Vt519j"
Apr 24
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Caroline Roberts from iFactory who will be providing tips on how to improve your SEO by finding and wisely using the keywords and phrases that matter most! http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Apr 18
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"If your college website is not reaching your audience, but still meets most technical and accessibility requirements, there are a number of ways to fine-tune its performance. http://bit.ly/2KO08U8"
Apr 18
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Before you click the launch button on your newly redesigned website, it pays to doublecheck the details: http://bit.ly/2D9v5vr"
Apr 11
Laurie Trow replied to Jessie Groll's discussion Thoughts on "part-time work from home" for a web developer?
"I do work from home a few days a week. Depending where you're located, this would definitely be a perk. I've found plenty of higher ed jobs, but it's not often where working from home is an option. I find this odd since the higher ed…"
Apr 4
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Take a look at these award-winning higher ed digital marketing campaigns to see what’s working for them – and what you can implement to make your school’s digital marketing campaign one of the best. http://bit.ly/2JlzLiq"
Apr 3
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Do you have a plan in place to ensure your redesigned website is a success? Read our new white paper for the steps needed to successfully launch your website so that it is effective, informative, and gets noticed. http://bit.ly/2HZt73Z"
Mar 29
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"The better you pay attention to these small SEO details, the higher your website will rank in searches. http://bit.ly/2I6Yo1C"
Mar 28
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Brian Johnson from Tacoma Community College for tips on how to effectively communicate the website redesign process and move to a new CMS. Win over those key players and get your project started on the right…"
Mar 27
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Angela Cavaliere from Montgomery County Community College who will discuss how to successfully navigate a website redesign in higher ed. Learn how to get buy-in from stakeholders, organize your team, and…"
Mar 20
Linda Faciana joined Lynn Zawie's group
Thumbnail

OmniUpdate

Share your experiences using OmniUpdate CMS
Mar 20
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"We asked several OUTC19 presenters how the information they plan to share will help you do your job quicker and more effectively. Here’s what they had to say: "
Mar 15
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Overbooked calendars make it hard to catch scheduled webcasts, so we put together a list of top webcasts that you can watch anytime: "
Mar 12
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Understanding these recruitment trends can help you better shape your marketing campaigns for the new year: "
Mar 8
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Want a pain-free website launch? Join us for our next webcast with Phil Pelanne from NewCity who will share good ideas, bad ideas, and tales from the trenches, plus his nearly 100-item QA and launch checklist! "
Mar 6

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

© 2019   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service