Better Web Design and Functionality Lead to Better Enrollment
A campus web site may be the first impression a potential student has about a school. If the site looks sloppy, out of date or is difficult to use, then potential students will not stick around. Pleasing layouts, easy to find-scannable information with a minimum of clutter and text is more appealing. Reading on a web site is NOT the same as reading a book or pamphlet. Especially potential students. They want to find headings with relevant topics and move on. This is reflected on the bounce rate of web analytics or metrics.
A site-wide audit of my college’s web pages has revealed the importance of an accurate title tag. Not only is this good for the audience and search engines, but it also helps quickly identify pages for the developer. I am taking the time to update all pages with generic descriptions.
I concluded my Hypermedia Theory & Design course in December 2013. This means I am fully prepared to face upcoming changes to college web sites. I now have a firm grasp of hypermedia theory, best practices for design, layout, search engine optimization and accessibility for the web.
The two major projects in the course gave me practical experience for applying theory and best practices for the web. I learned, though not 100% of the time, what is good for best practices for design, layout, and SEO is also good for accessibility. My project demonstrated the areas where these sometimes clash and compromises have to be made.
A campus wide site redesign is coming. Expected launch date is August 2014. This will be the most major overhaul to date. We have been told every URL is going to change. Not only this, but the look, layout, function, back-end CMS, programs used to build pages, and workflow is going to change. This will be the most radical overhaul since the university website began. The positives of this project is that most are eager for change.