Yesterday, the redesign group met with a representative group of interested students to listen to their opinions about the current homepage, the Admission site, various departmental web pages and other parts of the Wesleyan website. While the group made several points that we have already been discussing amongst ourselves, they also offered some unanticipated perspectives. All came at it from the viewpoint of a prospective/future attendee of Wesleyan, citing their own college searches and experiences with our site and other universities’ websites.
One of the topics of conversation was the importance of reliable and relevant search results. There are a lot of processes already in the works to help in this regard, and ITS has been asking for input on the search tool. If you have an idea as to how the search could be improved, a feedback form is accessible from the search page, http://www.wesleyan.edu/search.
Other topics discussed were the types of dynamic news headlines and other content that prospective students care about by highlighting student/faculty collaborations, research opportunities, and alumni achievements in their fields. We discussed their thoughts on having video on the homepage, and the need to update some of the constituency-based pages that currently are lists of links. We talked about drop-down menus and other navigation schemes, the calendar, clutter vs. airiness, the impact of the beltway feature, user-generated content sharing, and the use of large images.
Finally, we looked at some other universities’ websites that had impressed some of those present during their college searches. All in all it was a very good meeting, with a lot of sharing of ideas and we appreciate the time those present dedicated during midterm week to help share their perspective on the current Wesleyan website.
If you are a student and could not attend the meeting, what are some of your thoughts on the current website? What sorts of features or types of content do you think are most important for Wesleyan to appeal to future students? What could we add or remove from the homepage or secondary pages?