Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Analyzing the Future - Part 1

Selecting 18 newly redesigned college home pages to analyze for trends in design, navigation, structure, content and technologies.

Today, we finally got 'official' word that the redesign of the Chico State home page is a priority project. That means that within three years we'll have a new home page!

Well-placed sarcasm aside, it's a good time to begin taking a fresh look at what other colleges and universities are doing with their redesigns. Not that we will necessarily want to copy them, but in order to be able to say (with authority), "these are the trends", "this is a common practice", "70% of the sites reviewed are taking this approach".

As some wise person said, "When decisions are based on opinions, he who yells loudest wins." And the point here - as it has been from day one of this blog - is to elevate the discussion above opinions to actual facts based on research (sloppy, biased and subjective research, yes, but still research).

Methodology

I went to the eduStyle.net site and selected redesigned sites to review based on the following criteria:
  1. Site must have been redesigned within the past year
  2. Site must have at least three positive votes ("My style") as of 12/12/07
  3. Site must have more positive votes than negative votes as of 12/12/07
  4. Site must be college or university main home page
I used these criteria because I wanted relatively new home pages that have received a positive response from the eduStyle community. While it's true that many of those people are designers (as opposed to information architects, etc.), I feel that overall, it's a legitimate barometer... and it has the added benefit of removing my personal biases from the selection process.

I ended up with 18 sites that met my criteria:
Over the next week or so, I'll be looking at these home pages from structural, organizational, navigational, design, content, and technological perspectives, looking for trends, best practices, and things that we can out right steal for the new Chico State home page.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Portland, Biola, Tennessee, and St. Thomas are my top picks from that group.