Higher Ed websites… external vs. internal users

Earlier today I sent off the results of CCI (Customer Centric Index) surveys to DePaul University and Tyler Junior College.

A CCI survey asks website users to pick from 13 positive and 13 negative characteristics and tell us about the most positive and negative features of a website they’ve been using. CCI is part of the Customer Carewords program developed by Gerry McGovern.

Responses are grouped in 3 categories: Content, Information Architecture, and Social.

The more positive the results, the more the website is meeting the needs of the particular audience taking the survey. For the higher education sector, we’ve been doing tests with alumni, future students, current students, and faculty and staff. Not every school has surveyed every audience, but overall we’ve got a good response from people in each group.

CCI results point you in the right direction for effective use of website improvement resources.

CCI Results from 9 Colleges and Universities

Now that we’ve completed CCIs in Canada (University of Manitoba, University of Waterloo), the U.S. (DePaul University, East Stroudsburg University, Fordham University, Tyler Junior College, University of Missouri), Sweden (Lund University) and the U.K. (University of Hertfordshire), one element continues to stand out: there’s a large gap between the experience of external users vs. those of internal users.

We’ve had positive experience reports of up to 90 percent from alumni and future students in some of these surveys, with a low of about 70 percent. When future students become current students and need to use the web for regular business, experiences change. For current students, a 60 percent positive rating is about as good as it gets.

Faculty and staff, more often than not, are even less satisfied. Positive response can drop to under 50 perecent and it seldom goes above 60 percent.

Intranets are Rare in Higher Education

Why the disparity?

The most immediate thought that comes to mind is that few colleges and universities have built Intranet sites especially for the faculty and staff who need to use the website for business almost every day. The typical home page is still the best indicator of that: home pages are most often designed as the entry points for everyone who uses a website. And creating navigation from that page that best meets the needs of both internal and external audiences is no small challenge.

In the next week or two I’ll be writing about overall results from people in each of the 4 groups: alumni, future students, current students, and faculty/staff. We’ll take a closer look at what each group likes and doesn’t like about their experience at college and university sites. In every group, the mix is interesting.

Tune-up Your Website

Tune-up your website after a CCI survey. Contact me at bob@bobjohnsonsulting.com for details and price. Learn how your website compares.

Subscribe to “Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter” at my website. 

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