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AaronAaron Coleman, Senior Web Developer at University of Nebraska–Lincoln, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2019 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Aaron 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 overuse of moving background video is the worst. There was a time when this trend felt like the future, but that time has passed. There’s still a case for subtle motion here and there (after all, this isn’t print), but background video for the sake of background video just feels distracting.

The best web trend in higher ed is BIG text. University sites can often feel a bit rote, and while there’s definitely a place for all the fine print and legalese, I’m a big fan of sites that aren’t afraid to punch up the type a bit. Sure, keep things semantic, but guide me where you want me to go, and don’t be afraid to punch it up a bit.

2019 Higher Ed Websites Conference

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

Bucknell University
Huge fields of color and great, immersive photography help this site stand out. Some cool features like customizable content on the front page and a “visited pages” tab.

The University of Chicago
Perfect example of a site that wows without trying anything over-the-top.
Nice, subtle interactions throughout, super sharp and readable with high contrast text everywhere. Of course it passes W3C without a hitch. Their news site is a standout as well.

UT News
Super clean publication site with great use of whitespace that really makes the imagery pop. Understated but effective typography, minimal design and easy to read.

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

I’m not always the most up-to-date on tools, but this little online app has saved us more than enough megabytes to recommend. A pass through this compressor will usually save me between 30-50% on file size with no visual difference in quality, and sometimes even bump clear up to 80%.

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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