Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Build a Better College Website

How to Build a Better College Website Webinar

Presented by Zac Henderson, VisionPoint Marketing

Thursday, February 6, 2014 1:00 PM EST

This webinar was geared toward higher education Web professionals, which is obviously why I thought it would be worth spending an hour on, but I think a shorter version of this webinar should be required viewing for anyone with any stake in a college's Web presence.

The webinar did an excellent job of encapsulating the process of re-thinking, redesigning, and rebuilding a college Website. The process is much more complex and time consuming than most people realize, and this brief overview helped to express that complexity and provide a rationale for why and how design decisions are made.

The content was broken down into three main topics:

Defining Goals

Understanding who you are, where you are, and where you want to be. Develop an understanding of who your audience is and why they visit your site.

Information Architecture

Developing a user-centric content flow is difficult and frequently hard to sell to executives, but an intuitive, plain-language approach to content and navigation is critical to the success of a site.

Technology Decisions

Choosing the appropriate CMS from hundreds of options is a daunting task, especially with the complexity of modern data structures and the desire for normalized data and intrconnected tools.

Visual Design

This one is simple, design for your audience, not your fifty-something administrators. This means exhibiting authenticity and understanding the Web is no longer bound to the desktop.

Web Governance

Policy and procedure is getting more important as Websites grow and evolve. More users are contributing more content to more pages on your site, and someone has to keep it under control. This is explained nicely with the 5 Rs... Roles, Responsibilities, Relationships, Rules, and Review.

Overall, this was a fantastic webinar. The information was excellent, timely, and very well explained. The presenter did a great job of pacing the content to fit within the time constraints, and still took time for some questions. Audio and video quality was very good, though the sound was a little thin the first few minutes. This small issue did nothing to detract from the overall quality of the webinar.

The slides from the webinar are available for review at

Here are a couple of questions to consider about the topics covered in the webinar.

How important is it for a college to implement a Web design that works consistently on both desktop and mobile devices?

Do you think formal policies and procedures for Web content is important for a college? Why?

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