Improving Task Completion at Academic Program Sites at The University of Sheffield…
At The University of Sheffield website changes are in progress to improve top task completion in an often neglected area: academic program sites. That’s important to not only faculty and current students, but to potential students as well who want to review academic programs of special interest.
The goal of the website team is clear:
“The navigation menu is one of the major changes to the site. Instead of a cluttered, left-hand navigation bar, we have designed a central local navigation menu at the top of the page.
“Nestled in the menu are the five main categories to CBE. Once expanded they reveal grouped user journeys, clearly carving out the path for their top tasks.”
You’ll find more about the ongoing project at “First academic program website goes live.” By April’s end English and Law departments should also be converted to the new format. Recommendation: read this short review of what’s taking place before you visit the site from the link below.
How well did Sheffield do? You’ll have a chance to give feedback on a pop-up survey when you visit.
Content reduction note… from 120 pages to 50 pages
Safe to say that most higher education websites have far too much content. Many people get paid for adding content. Very few get paid for reducing content. Admirably, content reduction is also a goal of this project. In the case of this department site, 120 pages on the old site were reduced to 50 pages in the new edition. Reducing clutter also helps top task completion. Visitor experience improves. People are happier.
On Mobile… a “slow” 2.9 seconds to download
Google in March made major changes to the “Test My Site” tool. Among other points, speed is now rated using a 4G standard rather than the 3G level that Google told us until March 70 percent of people are still using to access mobile sites. Comparison with past Link of the Week mobile speed reports isn’t valid. Speed expectations are higher now than in the 3G world.
Under the new system, University of Sheffield Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering was rated as “slow” at 2.9 seconds to download. Ask Google to send you the detailed report available for ideas on how to increase your own site speed.
A new point… Google now gives you the ability to add up to 9 URLs from competitor sites for comparative speed ratings. Do that. If the result shows that your site is slower than your key competitors that might give you new internal leverage to increase attention and resources to the need for a faster website.
Follow the Link of the Week…
See how one university is striving to improve navigation and top task completion on academic program sites when you visit the University of Sheffield Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Top Tasks Website Content Group on LinkedIn
Join 700+ people on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn.