New Report from Eduserv on UK Higher Education Website Management

Over on my future web blog I’ve just posted on a new report from the UK, on the management of websites in Higher Education.

I’ll probably be adding more of the web management stuff there in the future and, when I can find a suitable person, giving over this blog so it can function purely as an admissions blog.

Lund University – New Web Development Project

Lund University has launched a new 3 year project with the aim of developing our presence on the web. The project will focus on improving our website (which is composed of 2 main domains, and at least 500 subdomains) in terms of how we publish, the online functions we offer and the management of content. I’ll be writing the project plan over the next few months and will be formally leading the project from September 2009.

This is an awesome opportunity for the university; over the last few years it’s become clear that the service our websites give to our users is not of the quality they expect and that change, and improvement, is definitely needed. We also need to address our presence on the web, beyond our ‘official’ websites and start engaging our target groups in a better way.

I’ve started a new blog: www.lu.se/futureweb (this is broken right now, working on fixing it 26th June) which contains information about the project. I must be clear, it it not an admissions blog although any input regarding the state of our current website, and features we could develop would be gratefully received.

I’ll still be maintaining this blog for the near future but will hopefully find another member of staff to start contributing application and admissions content.

Users Have Higher Expectations of Web Sites than Designers – New Report

“Designers underestimate the thresholds for an effective site and should give greater consideration to overall effectiveness, thereby reducing the chance of failure for a user to find the information they seek”. This is one of the conclusions of a new report from the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement which conducted a survey of almost 3000 respondents which included non-profit organizations, web designers and the general public.

The survey also showed that:

- Easy access to complete information is key to visitor enjoyment

- Visitors want information fast

- Visitors want a broad range of topics

- Designers are overly optimistic about visitors’ ability to maintain orientation

I love this kind of report, it just adds to the growing body of work which provides us good data from large scale surveys of what users want from a website. Like stone versus scissors, facts beat opinions every time.

One of the results from this survey which I find astounding is that only 60% of designers believe that up to date information is important (compared to 80% of users). What are they thinking? That the users are just visiting a site to look at the pretty pictures?