Where Higher Ed Sites Need To Go

The single most important thing higher ed websites can do is change the fundamental organizing principle away from the org chart (content organized via department) and toward people. This means organizing content via degree programs which represents the fundamental connection point between student and school. User tests show that students have consistent informational needs when […]

Tension Between Marketing and Usability: Part 2

In my previous post about the push and pull between marketing a site and making it usable, I try to make the case that the DU site leans too heavily toward marketing when all available data suggests usability is more important. However, on second glance, I believe I need to clarify my stance and I’ll […]

Tension Between Marketing and Usability: Part 1

Nick Denardis of EDU Checkup critiqued the University of Denver’s redesign and gave it a 94%. Pretty good. He liked the strong visual impact of the homepage, that content was geared toward addressing student needs and that the underlying code was done with SEO and accessibility in mind. What Nick didn’t know, couldn’t know, was […]

Use link titles as a check on your architecture decisions

Recently at work, there was a discussion about link titles, their utility, when to use them, when not to and so forth. Link titles are those attributes you insert into a link tag that helps set expectations for users of where a link will take them. Conceptually, they’re easy to understand and rationalize. The hard […]

There’s A Happy Medium Between Centralization & Decentralization

One of my main points of advice for higher ed websites is the idea that operationally,¬†a decentralized management approach to the web does not work well. The opposite–centralization–does. But that doesn’t mean some aspects to a decentralized approach can’t or shouldn’t be employed. It just shouldn’t be the foundation for how to manage the global […]