Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Page Elements - Installment 3

Every year I take a look at a number of newly designed university home pages and break down their component elements. Last year's analysis is in this post.

This year, I took 15 university or college home pages that had been redesigned within the past year (as posted on and had received more positive than negative votes.

Most Common Page Elements

The most notable changes here are the continued climb of events/calendars, and the decline of top banners.

Element Sites 2006 Sites 2007 Sites 2008
Photos 100% 100% 100%
Primary Navigation 100% 100% 100%
Search Box 100% 94% 100%
News 85% 83% 93%
Events 30% 67% 87%
Secondary Navigation 70% 78% 73%
Feature/Spotlight 55% 78% 73%
Top Banner 90% 78% 60%
Quick Links 45% 22% 33%

Page Element Placement

Once again, no huge changes. Some of the overlays look a bit different since I was using a bigger monitor this year to capture the screenshots. Other than that, a few trends, but no major shifts.
  • Logos and brands continue to congregate more toward the upper lefthand corner
  • Primary navigation is pretty consistently below the brand, either vertically or horizontally
  • News is trending a bit more toward the center, and events a bit more further to the right
2006 is on the left, 2007 in the middle, and 2008 on the right.

Top Banner

Search Box

Primary Navigation

Secondary Navigation

Main Photo

Other Photos

Feature Item



Quick Links


Kyle James said...

Really interesting post. What is most noticable to me is how similar every site is when you look at the data this way. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Higher Education web is full of followers and very little creative innovation.

Probably one of the reasons I want to redesign our homepage into something wildly different and unique. Will that ever happen... probably not.

Doug Clark said...

Great study. Really like the trending. It'd be interesting to know how many of these schools planned a CMS install at the same time as the redesign and if CMS in general has impacted design/layout choices.

Heather Teague said...

This is great timing! We are currently working on a proposal for a Website re-design for a school. The home page has grown to be “out of control” without a proper hierarchy of elements. Sound familiar?

gmena said...

Nice work and presentation.