University websites: The so-so, the bad, and the egregious

Melonie Fullick, University Affairs, Jul 07, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It's a pretty easy way to write a story: ask the Twitterverse a question, and then write about the responses. Of course you have to have a Twitterverse to make this work (my network of some 8500 followers is probably too small) and your qquestion has to touch a nerve. And this question touched a nerve: "why are university websites often terrible?" The article lists a number of common deficiencies (such as bad menus) and the oft-observed fact that "site structure reflects what the institution thinks is important, not what site users actually want to know." As well, there is a "conflation of promotional and informational material and approaches." But does this really get to the question of why they are so bad? Not really. Image: XKCD.

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