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Content Still King for Prospectives

June 10th, 2009 by Bob Crisler

The college recruitment consultancy Noel-Levitz has just released a research report, “Scrolling Toward Enrollment: Web Site Content and the E-Expectations of College-Bound Seniors,” that provides ample data points that might help your position in continuing to shift the attention (and resources) of the university to the importance of quality online communications within the recruiting process.

The report, to those involved in the day-to-day work of creating and publishing content on a university website, is probably not all that surprising. But there’s a big difference between opinion and facts in our discussions with those who control budgets and therefore the mix of media carrying our messages to prospective students. Facts, in audience research terms, require adequate sample sizes (1000 in this study) and sound methodology, such that one can say with confidence that a given result would be repeated if the study were repeated. I’ll highlight a few of those facts in the paragraphs to follow, and what they might mean for the continuing development of the UNL website.

First, as the title of the paper suggests, the idea that users don’t read long-form text online, repeated so often that it’s attained a Gospel status, is debunked, at least for this audience. Please, read on. :)
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College Navigation — as of June 2009

June 9th, 2009 by rsimonsen

Here’s a pdf document showing the basic building blocks that colleges are currently using for their primary navigation bold links.

There are basically five areas that make up most of the primary navigation color coded as follows:

Red text – About the College/General Information
Green text – Students
Blue text – Faculty and Staff
Purple text – Departmental Info/Centers and Programs
Orange text – Alumni

The departments are listed first in alphabetical order showing their main navigation links color coded from the above list. Then the main areas (About, Students, etc.) are presented showing all the various sublinks that are found among all the colleges to show an all encompassing list of what everyone currently has down to the sublink navigation level.

Finally, at the very bottom of the document are a few miscellaneous primary navigation items that are unique to one or two colleges each.

Hopefully, by analyzing this information colleges and perhaps departments can use it to make decisions to help create more consistency with colleagues across campus. The goal being to create intuitive navigation structures that users are able to grasp quickly when moving between various colleges and departments within the UNL web environment.