Users Of Our Services (Suits You Sir!) [A2]


Websites in higher education have tended to be a “one size fits all” sort of affair – the same set of pages is expected to meet the needs of a disparate range of students, staff, and visitors. If we consider students alone, common sense tells us how the needs of a campus based research student may differ widely from those of a mature undergradute enrolled in a distance learning programme.

But how well do our websites cater for tailored information needs?

In this workshop we will first attempt to characterise some key groups amongst our web site visitors.

Next, we will take a look at some “typical” University websites and see how well or poorly they address the needs of our hypothetical visitors – a certain amount of role play will be necessary!

Finally we will look at some specific instances of good and bad practice derived from our explorations and explore means by which we might better tailor our websites to suit specific clients.

Ideally, we will get a mix of both content mangers and technical gurus in this session, as it is too often the case that the content providers are not aware of the technical possibilities, whilst the developers not always aware of the customer/information providers needs. This session will be very much a joint exploration rather than a demonstration of solutions, but between us we should be able to identify some useful ways forward in future developments.