If I could choose which University links were always at the top I would select and title them:
"UNL Home, UNL Admissions, Visit UNL, UNL News, Huskers and UNL Alumni."
Using these titles would clarify to the user where they will go if they click those links. This would also allow departments/colleges to not have redundant titles in the department/college website navigation.
Departments will undoubtedly run into an issue with naming, in this case the main UNL site would hold the trump card -- departments will need to change the verbage of their interior link title. This is where the WebDev Group will come in handy. A solution and content suggestion can be made through the group so that the verbage is consistent across all departments. I know my department will run into this issue, and I am putting together the process to change our verbage.
I don't think there is a better titled link for Faculty/Staff than Faculty/Staff. If we use the link 'Faculty/Staff in the UNL top nav and also in the individual department nav, we're going to be creating confusion for the website user. For example, if they're in Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering and they want to view Faculty and Staff, they'll most likely click the first Faculty/Staff link they see which will take them to the main UNL site. That would not be the correct link and will cause confusion and irritation.
There has been mention of having these main UNL links disappear and reappear with a click. I think we already have that option... click the logo and the UNL main page appears with all those nav links. I'm just thinking that if the site is going to require a click to view that navigation anyways, why don't' they just go to the main UNL site?
The brand of the University is the sum of all the publications, television shows, radio shows, websites, signage etc. All of these items come together to created the perceived brand in the mind of the consumer. We luckily have a very strong brand that we simply need to reenforce through the website. As long as we have intuitive navigation and provide all the content the potential viewer might need, we will be reenforcing the brand. If we have a confusing or hard to use navigation system, we're not helping anyone or the brand.
I understand that opinion on a site is formed after .2 seconds. ...Opinion on the appearance of the site. Users fortunately stay longer than .2 seconds on the website, therefore making content, functionality and ease of navigation become more important than appearance after .2 secs. People visit the site for information, the easier it is to direct them to the information the better experience the user has. Make things difficult or confusing to find, and it reflects negatively in the user experience.
The purpose of the site template is to unify the University's web presence. The only way to do that, is to step into the shoes of an outsider (in this case, a future undergrad recruit -- our primary audience), who expects to see the University as a whole. Once we start looking at the template from an individual department's perspective, we have strayed away from our initial purpose.
I hope for the sake of all individual departments and colleges, we do focus on how the template affects them. I think this is a very important part of our purpose and if we ignore individual departments or colleges, they'll be forced to change the templates or create new templates as needed to fulfill their individual requirements. I want a template that can be adapted for any University site and not just for the main UNL site.
Currently only 4 of the 10 UNL colleges use the current template. http://www.unl.edu/unlpub/depts/
I believe it's important to understand why those colleges felt it was more important to do their own thing, rather than to create their sites within the current UNL website template. Is the current template too hard to develop within? Did it not meet the college's needs, or did they just not care about/understand the benefit of staying within the University brand? I'm interested in understanding why these departments didn't follow the templates so that we can avoid that problem in the future.