Something that’s been on my mind lately is the idea of higher education web sites inability to adapt their web content to their audiences. Anyone can write slick marketing copy or develop videos and other hooks to drag people in. That’s not what I’m talking about here.
We’re talking specifically about the specific nomenclature of campus specific entities and the way that we can make web sites far more accessible to end users from a wide range of constituent groups have access to college web sites to find the information they are looking for.
Sometimes, it could be a matter of legacy issues that prevent you from being able to truly shine on the web. Other times, it could be a bottleneck of regulations or “walls of ivy” (red tape is for government, walls of ivy, for educational bureaucracy) that prevent change from moving forward.
A web strategy will not weed out these problems by itself, but it can give colleges and universities an opportunity to assess what is working and what isn’t on their campuses. Depending on the scope and inclusiveness of the study, it can give stakeholders of all stripes an opportunity to understand 1) what the web site intends to do and give their input on 2) what they would like it to do for them.
A cohesive web strategy can empower those in charge of managing web sites and content with the ability to move forward with an actual plan and it can inform the way college and university web sites are build and adapted over the years.
Transferring your institutional quirks and problems over layers of decades onto a rapidly evolving platform is bad business and should be avoided at all costs. Or it may truly cost you down the road.