Thursday, August 5, 2010

University Websites

There is a lot of discussion going on about this cartoon. I find that university websites vary a lot in usability. Usually I am looking for either a page about a specific faculty member and what they research and teach and a list of their publications and maybe a CV. Other times I want an overview of a department or research centre. But a lot of websites are only geared to either selling the university to prospective undergrads - and according to this doing a poor job of that and/or providing a bunch of HR information to faculty and staff. The better sites allow navigation both via a "user menu" - future students, current students, faculty etc.- and via an "organizational structure menu" - according to academic and non-academic departments, centres etc. Sometimes I have to resort to Google because even the search function on the university's website doesn't get me what I want.

ANU's website is one of the best sites in my opinion. In the middle of the page is the user menu. At bottom left there is an organizational structure menu and at the top are a bunch of index and search tools. On the other hand it's not that pretty. But this article says function is better than aesthetics.

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