Major Links on the Homepage

Hi everyone, and welcome back if you’ve been away.

Thanks for your comments so far about the current web site. Over the past two weeks the design team has been discussing informational models for the new homepage, a site-wide navigation bar, and secondary pages. Right now we’re asking for your feedback on a few specific questions.

First up is a proposed list of major links for the homepage. Please take a look at the following list, as a starting point. We’d love to hear what you think—especially from the point of view of a prospective student—about whether this covers a relevant range of links to page destinations within the main Wesleyan site.

Specific questions

  • would the list help you as a prospective student wanting to know more about Wesleyan?
  • are there any other categories you’d like to see included? (primary bullets)
  • are there any other detail items you’d like to see? (secondary bullets)
  • what could we remove from the list?

Major links list

  • About
    • Why Wesleyan?
    • Virtual Tour
    • Middletown Area
    • Notable Alumni
    • Visiting Wesleyan
  • Academics
    • Departments/Majors
    • Courses
    • Libraries
    • Grad
    • GLSP
  • Admission
    • Tuition
    • Financial Aid
    • Meet the Staff
    • Ask a Student
    • Dates and Deadlines
  • Campus Life
    • Orientation
    • Athletics
    • Residential Life
    • Events/Calendar
    • Dining
  • Community
    • Students
    • Parents
    • Alumni
    • Faculty
    • Staff
  • Offices & Services
    • Administration
    • Office of the President
    • Registrar
    • Student Affairs
    • Technology

(Please note: some of these pages don’t have a current equivalent and would have to be created as part of the redesign process; the list is just part of the content that will be included on the new homepage, albeit a very important part; and each of the primary bullets will be links to a full range of options, where the secondary bullets are the most popular of those.)

We will follow up soon with a similar post about the site-wide navigation bar, which will contain other links, but for now we would like to focus on the main page links.

Please share you thoughts, and thanks for your time.


15 thoughts on “Major Links on the Homepage”

  1. It might make sense to divide the Admissions page into an Undergraduate and Graduate section. Cornell does this pretty well.

    Also, it’s not entirely clear to me what’s under the “Community” section links. I think that they aggregate links from all the other sections, since things like Student Affairs and ResLife are relevant to students while the events calendar are relevant to both faculty and staff. If they are aggregate pages, then I think it might make sense to have them exist outside of the main navigation. Boston University ( does this — they have a student (, faculty, and staff section at the top right of their page. Clicking on them gives access to a relevant portal with links to events, email, and useful services. It seems that this is the kind of bridge between a portal page and ePortfolio (logging in is a pain) that would actually be useful. The WSA site was supposed to do this, but it seems that they changed direction.

  2. I was just peeking at this, so this is quick, but– “Orientation” seems like it could be cut from “campus life,” and you might want to rename the “community” header (maybe “campus communities”), since the current name doesn’t really communicate what it is you’re trying to describe, in my opinion. Also, it might be useful to include Office of Community Service/Office of International Studies/PSafe/Phys Plant/Transportation Services under “offices and services” — perhaps Dining Services should also be under this link (though “campus life” currently also has that listed). Yeah, there are a lot of offices– don’t know how you’d like to handle that, but I think that the homepage should help their pages be found– maybe there could just be a secondary page with links to each?

    In the about section, I think you should have the subtopic of “history,” with all the quirky historical facts that prefrosh appreciate so much.

    It would probably be useful to have a “Student Groups” link under “campus life”– though I guess maybe that would be too much of a direct link to the WSA website, unless you folks created a new page.

    Hope that was helpful!

  3. As Wesleyan doesn’t have any graduate schools, it seems like the current setup of the admissions page is sufficient. Unless any grad students have complaints?

  4. Sam — I’m not sure. I just feel that if I were a potential graduate student, it might be difficult to find the graduate admissions page. A simple link on the admissions page would probably be fine.

  5. This is sort of unrelated to this post, but I just wanted to say that the new pictures that appear on the Wesleyan homepage aren’t as visually interesting (or well-photographed) as they used to be. Some are also kind of ambiguous and don’t seem to have anything to do with Wesleyan (the people skiing?). Maybe there could be small captions, or links to explanations.

  6. Just found my way here (email about Wesleyan on iTunes -> @wesleyan_u on twitter -> this blog post). Thought you might appreciate these two online tools. lets you do cardsorting via a web interface (ie, lets people sort your menu items into either pre-labeled groups or groups of their own creation) lets you do very quick user testing based on simple “where would you look for this type of information” questions and uses screen shots or mock ups. You end up with a heatmap showing where people clicked – super easy!

  7. I agree that Orientation should be cut from Campus Life. Maybe consider adding the link to the CFA (since Athletics are listed, why not include Arts?)
    Religious Life might should go under Campus Life too — it took me a while to find it as a prefrosh. The pages for the various religious organizations are really nice, so we should be eager to display them.

    And I also agree with Kristina’s post. If there is going to be a slideshow-setup of photos, they need to be good (relevant, crisp quality) photos.

    I also think the Senior Interviewers should be featured prominently, either under Admissions or About. Their friendly faces really swayed me as a prefrosh.

  8. I just found this Oberlin site and I thought it was interesting:
    It’s a tool “designed to make it easier to find particular pages on the website.”
    I’m not crazy about all of the animation, but I think it provides a good model for how to potentially organize the website.

  9. Hey Adrian I also would be careful of graphics you are using and make sure they are not distracting for the user. Simplify all link catagories> I think the redesign should incorporate a more simplier navigation. Anyway good ideas. so far.

  10. I really liked having the e-res links that were on the site like it was last week. I’d rather be able to use the library home page as an easy source for searching everything right there, rather than having to go through my eportfolio for certain things, which i don’t use often at all.

  11. Under Campus Life, I strongly disagree that Orientation should be eliminated. This link gets utilized heavily and not just in the summer.

    I’m not sure how long or short is the ideal for each section, but I would also suggest adding “Student Affairs” under Campus Life. That will help capture the many services from the Student Affairs division that support students while they are here, including the various health offices, Religious and Spiritual Life, the Class Deans, Disability Services, SJB, etc.

    And since the Events Calendar is intended for everyone on and off campus, that should probably be highlighted outside of the Campus Life section, the way it is currently.

  12. Since attracting new tuition-payers is arguably the most important job of the site, do you plan on doing any user testing with high school students and their parents?
    As for alumni concerns, is the subnav going to be visible or in a dropdown? I like how I can currently go to the homepage and find something that says “Alumni” without rooting around.
    Also, the set number of subnav links looks like you’re organizing navigation with an emphasis on form instead of function, which can be very nice to look at but almost always backfires for large sites.
    P.S. The minimalistic remains my all time favorite .edu.

  13. I like the MIT site too, but I like it *for* MIT.
    (Translation: Please don’t model the Wesleyan page after it. Wesleyan is about energy and passion and vibrancy and color and a minimalistic page just wouldn’t be right).

  14. I do not have any affiliation with Wesleyan University. I am a student at Mercy High School, which is nestled in the hills of Wesleyan. I am also a resident of the city of Middletown. Once in a while I check out what’s happening at Wesleyan. I agree with one of the other commenters that the photos are not as intriguing as they used to be (not all, some). I also think it would just be easier to divide the admissions menu into two: undergraduate and graduate (You want people to have the easiest time getting to the page they are wishing to view). ‘Orientation’ should be apart of the ‘campus life’ menu.

    Like the image Wesleyan is giving Middletown, keep up the ideas,

  15. As a prospective student I’ve found navigating the Wesleyan website can at times be difficult, or the information I’m specifically looking for not as readily accessible as desired.
    I generally look for three things:
    1. Campus/virtual tour
    2. Course listings/information regarding major requirements
    3. Internship/scholarship/fellowship opportunities. I finally found the later after doing a search.
    I wish the above website were more available and prominent. Wes offers a good deal of support and access to scholarships. I would not have known this however if I hadn’t done a bit of digging. Since the university has an impressive list to flaunt, it would helpful (and appealing!) to prospective and current students alike if the link and resources were presented in a more obvious way. It would also be great to include current recipients and their stories, showing the school’s obvious pride and support of its students. One of the most impressive features I’ve found while looking at schools, is in fact when they proudly tout their student’s success in such endeavours (scholarships/fellowships/internships/grants). Most colleges have entire sections of their webpage devoted to this aspect of education. Seeing as Wes has no lack of scholars, I think it would better serve the future website, the college, and the student body as a whole, if there was more recognition of such achievements. Showing the achievements, as well as the easy access to finding such resources will surely show prospective families the vibrant and scholarly community present at Wes.

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