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ConnyConny Liegl, Senior Designer at California Polytechnic State University, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2019 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Conny 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?

One of the worst things universities seemingly like to hold on to is their archival mentality.
It’s almost like we’re afraid to let go. Instead of deleting outdated or poor quality content on the current site, we like to keep it around. Website navigations are often cluttered and pages are bloated, because administrators are rather “adding on” content than replacing it. With old and new content blending together, it is hard to communicate the right information to your users and stay on brand. Brand consistency is essential, and I would love to see universities carry out their brand online with a clean, relatable design.

The best design trend in higher ed I’d like to explore more is personalizing web content based on audience type and a user’s location. We could cater specifically to a student studying in the library for example, and display custom, relevant information on their device. These tailored experiences could engage users in new ways, and help streamline web content.

2019 Higher Ed Websites Conference

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

University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame is truly built for mobile devices. The homepage translates beautifully on a desktop but shows its real strengths on mobile. It’s clean, simple, straight-forward and easy to navigate.

Cornell Tech, Cornell University
Cornell Tech’s main page offers users a very attractive, seamless design that is easy to navigate despite the wealth of information. I appreciate the well-structured, intuitive main navigation.

Imperial College London
The Imperial College London makes great use of whitespace. The homepage communicates a lot of information, but all content pieces are color-tagged and categorized for easy processing without sensory overload.

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

I love the free color contrast checker from WebAIM
Upon entering a preferred foreground and background color in hexadecimal format, this web tool will check the WCAG 2 contrast ratio and give recommendations based on level AA and AAA. I use it for both web and graphic design to make sure my color choices are accessible for all users.
There is also a separate contrast checker specific to your website link colors.

Don’t forget to evaluate the overall accessibility of your pages afterward with WAVE

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.

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