While working with Morehouse, we’re currently taking on the endeavor to completely revamp the Morehouse.edu web-presence. The entire front-end user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design along with our IT configuration on the back-end. We have been asking for your input here ( http://morehouse.wufoo.com/forms/morehouse-website-survey/ ) to become a part of the assessment.
The process for creating a seamless user-experience for users that visit an educational website is not an easy process. Some of the immediate necessities that come to mind at first when thinking about what the flow of information would be:
- current student info
- access to class schedules, financial aid, etc
- perspective student info
- majors & minors info, department & faculty contact info, etc..
- campus map and so forth…
are true, however most people don’t realize, or immediately think how organic college websites are. There’s always an event, speaker, party, game, or something going on every-week that is vying for attention on the main page. In addition to this, faculty and staff members are persistently requesting segmented blocks of space for their distinctive program and/or information; Alumni members recognition, and the ‘vision’ for the intuition all while still trying to stay aesthetically engaging AND effortless to navigate. Right.
As a member of the Web-team in the Office of Communications, this issue (UX & UI ) is one of the areas of expertise I champion. With regards to the UX/UI process, it can become a monster of process & paperwork that can hurt the original time frame for projects by easily injecting scope creep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scope_creep) if not utilized correctly; however by invoking the lean-UX approach, it’s core principles can make sure to keep the re-development process about results instead of pretty-paper work.
Concept → Prototype → Team approval → External tests → Launch & learn → Start again
Highly engaged websites (like the web presence of an education institution) should constantly being reiterated and perfected. Although there is never one correct answer and we can’t possibly please everyone at once, we can control the flow of information by creating an intelligible and optimized interface that will help each visitor quickly navigate toward their destination. This process takes careful consideration. We have already begun analyzing other educational websites (in addition to non-academic websites) to assess some of the pros and cons of their current web presence.
Even so, we are still very much playing with new ideas and innovative ways to engage with you all. As a new motto (created by Add Seymour) ‘Innovate, Create and Motivate’, Morehouse as a whole is making it a campus wide commitment by considering different and more creative ways to disseminate information and pushing ‘status-quo’ for an educational website.
All in all, I’m excited and eagerly looking forward to the future. Again, I do ask that if you haven’t already please take a moment and fill out our survey ( http://morehouse.wufoo.com/forms/morehouse-website-survey/ ) and give some of your thoughts on how to help make your user experience online easier.