Karine Joly No Comments

Jason BuzzellJason Buzzell, Director of Digital Communications at University of Nebraska at Omaha, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2019 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Jason tells us about the worst and best web trends in higher ed, a great tool and shares a top 3 of favorite higher ed websites.

1) What are the worst and best design trends used on higher ed websites?

The worst design trend I’ve seen on higher ed websites is the tiled design with images and text with filters for majors and programs. From an esthetic side it looks very nice but from a user-perspective it can be hard to scan, search and find the program or keywords you need. This goes for a lot of filtered lists. Just give me a tabular setup or at least a way to toggle between the two depending on how I like to search or scan. The other problematic trend is the big hero image or traditional image spot with kind of a dizzying video background. I think it’s ending, but I’m not so sure.

The best trend in higher ed websites is a focus back on the fundamentals and simplification of the navigation and bubbling up program content with a focus on prospective students on homepages. This wasn’t always the case several years ago, especially at public universities. I am seeing a huge shift of a majority of homepage content dedicated to recruitment-focused content instead of the typical news and events.

2019 Higher Ed Websites Conference

2) What are your top 3 favorite higher ed websites?

My top 3 have always been ones like Thompson Rivers University and NAIT for their consistent top navigation and consistency of templates across the domain.
Indiana University System has done well with their design framework spanning to other institutions in the system like IUPUI.

And of course, I have a soft spot for higher ed websits with a strong analytical framework like BCIT, University of Alberta and Messiah College.

3) What’s your favorite tool for web work?

I’m very interested in third party site search tools like Coveo and Funnelback.

Coupling things like SiteImprove or DubBot for accessibility and quality assurance with your web analytics data from Google Analytics/Tag Manager is the ultimate trifecta. That way you can tailor content, metadata and feeds together with analytics and user experience top tasks all together for the complete blended experience – regardless.

A conference focusing on higher ed WEBSITES?

The 2019 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference is a must-attend event for higher ed web professionals and teams looking for inspiration, ideas and best practices to kick off their summer projects.

Read below what a few of your higher ed colleagues who attended the 1st edition of the Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference say about the experience.

Tags: , ,