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 use the home pages from Google and Apple’s developer conferences as an example. My bias is toward a balance between marketing and usability, but the bias gives more initial credence to usability than to marketing. Why? Because you can market the hell out of a…

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 the drama and politics that culminated in this particular design. One aspect of this hidden world is what I’d like to discuss today- the tension between the marketing and usability camps. While I’d like to think that both can (should) co-exist to support one another, its…

Marketing ≠ Visitor Experience

I support the centralization of web operations in higher ed. Decentralized website management poses too many problems which centralization can alleviate. But gaining support for it poses problems within a system historically based on a decentralized system. One of those hurdles is the perception that a centralized approach kills the ability to market a school effectively. I say that’s nonsense.

Review: The eduStyle Guide to Usable Higher-Ed Homepage Design

Over Twitter, Cody Foss requested reviewers for a book about higher ed homepage design titled The eduStyle Guide to Usable Higher-Ed Homepage Design by Stewart Foss, Cody Foss and Andy Foss. I’m all over those kinds of requests and wrote back. Mere minutes later, I had downloaded the PDF and added the review to my long list of to-dos. I didn’t think I’d get to it sooner, but alas, the clouds parted, the gods looked down with smiles and I decimated my to-do list in order to get to it. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

4 Steps to Determine the Optimal Page Width for New Sites

A recent problem has prompted me to write about the best way to determine a new site’s width. It may seem like an easy decision to make (it certainly can be), but a few moments of thought may make you reconsider your first choice. There are four steps: Research Information architecture consideration Visual design consideration Final determination

The Case for Centralization

I recently wrote about the perils of decentralizing web operations. In this post, I’ll discuss the advantages of doing just the opposite — centralizing. But before I get into it, let me provide context to the discussion. I have no issue whatsoever with decentralization in terms of content. What I do have an issue with is decentralizing the management of other aspects of the web effort — strategy, IA, design and code. Decentralizing those aspects result in the pitfalls I outlined in my earlier post. Now there’s always an exception to the rule, but those should be few and far between…

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