Colleges and universities are in the business of attracting new students, maintaining their current student population and faculty, recruiting talented faculty and support staff, and perhaps most importantly, fundraising to ensure their institution has the resources to provide their constituents with a first-rate education and experience. A key outlet to address all these parties is through a website. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities lack powerful websites (which is absurd considering their own faculty teach web design and online communication). Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the leading higher education websites today, and have highlighted their strengths in the caption boxes.
As a third semester student in a web design graduate program, you would think I’d have heard of customer-centered web design patterns by now. Actually, I haven’t, and it’s an extremely fascinating subject and the topic of an entire course I’m taking this fall semester. Basically, any webpage can be categorized into a design pattern (assuming it’s designed properly and for a purpose). For example, there are webpages that feature cross-selling patterns to news mosaic patterns, and everything in between. Essentially, each pattern addresses an issue. So for instance, if a company identifies that its problem is that clients are buying just one product, rather than many related ones, they can pinpoint, and then implement, the appropriate pattern. In this can, the pattern would be among “Pattern Group G”, entitled Cross-Selling and Up-Selling. These patterns are available in brief online and in-depth in the textbook, The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites, which I’m required to read for class. Although this topic is a bit complex, I think it would have been beneficial to have been introduced it a few semesters earlier. Indeed, being armed with a collection of customer-centered web design patterns that are tried and tested is useful to any designer, especially a novice web designer like me!
I looked at a few websites and noted that Kohl’s uses the Recommendation Community Pattern.
The Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Pattern is used by Williams-Sonoma.
Sephora’s homepage employs the Featured Products Pattern.