Thank you for participating in our web redesign survey. We received over 1,000 responses! Thanks also for providing thoughtful comments and suggestions through our webform and blog. This information has guided us through the design process.
The survey provided important insights about behaviors, expectations, and desires for the new Wesleyan website with input from each of our main audiences. We ran two versions: one for prospective students and their parents (which we’ll call “prospectives”), another for the Wesleyan community including current students, faculty, staff and alumni (which we’ll call “community;” sometimes we will distinguish “alumni” as a separate group owing to their large numbers).
Below is a summary of our findings. Visit the redesign site for in-depth commentary and data about the prospective community, campus community, and alumni.
Simplicity. Participants from every audience expressed a strong desire for a simple navigation, requesting that the menu system be clear, easy, intuitive, user-friendly, well-organized, and straightforward. Many participants noted that navigation is the “most important element to redesign.” There was a strong preference among all participants for sublinks to be revealed on-click or hover.
Survey results indicated that prospectives are more likely to use navigation menus on the website, while members of the community are more likely to be looking for specific information and use the search box. Prospectives and community members identified similar, though not identical priorities. Differences were in the range of what we expected given people’s varying familiarity with the site. [read more about Navigation]
Photos! It was clear through both the survey questions and comments from prospectives and the community that photos are important, and that integrating them into the homepage is essential. Most prospectives and community participants prefer photo slideshows. Requests for interesting, excellent, and large photos were consistent. Some had additional suggestions that the visual content include student artwork, 360-degree photos, historic images, and construction/renovation projects specifically. [read more about Photography]
Dignified and usable. There was a strong request for a clean, simple, uncluttered and visually appealing site among survey participants. Along with requests for a site that was classy, dignified and elegant, people hoped for something that was also welcoming and friendly. [read more about Design]
A “Wesleyan” energy. Prospective students talked about the role of a college website as a first and lasting impression of the university. The community echoed this sentiment by expressing a desire for the site’s design to be unique and to reflect the spirit and character of Wesleyan. Both groups of participants noted important role of the website in not only distinguishing Wes from other liberal arts colleges, but also in reflecting the creative energy and spirit that defines us. [read more about Spirit]
In addition to these main themes, the following topics were also highlighted in the comments: