The labyrinth of UVU’s Web site

The labyrinth of UVU’s Web site
Illustration by Jay Arcansalin/UVU Review
Illustration by Jay Arcansalin/UVU Review

If you’re like me, when you pull up the UVU Web site on your preferred browser, you are reminded of that ominous drawer in the kitchen full of broken pens, sticky notes, forgotten receipts, eraserless pencils, etc. Whatever you need is probably in there, but your chances of finding it are about the same as finding a pet monkey in your bedroom tonight.

If you count – and you don’t have to because I already did – there are over 45 links on the homepage itself. Although most of these may be useful, they are not logical in placement or structure. Finding what you’re looking for is like reading Where’s Waldo in the dark.

Web Resources Director Anne Arendt acknowledges, “We have a mentality that people need to be on the home page. What we really need is logical structure.”

The home page is so awkward becaue everyone with some type of authority or influence deems their department or organization so important they absolutely must be included on it. On the contrary, it just makes things really confusing for the rest of us.

The less-than-intuitive design can be very frustrating to students. However, contrary to popular belief, the purpose of the homepage isn’t necessarily student use. The Web Advisement Council (WAC), who is in charge of making most major plans and decisions for the site, has said, The UVU web mission is to promote the University and its mission, vision, and values, communicate with; engage key stakeholders; and enable the completion of University processes.” Nowhere in this mission statement are students referenced, although they might be considered stakeholders. Clearly, the WAC is not pandering to students.

According to Arendt, one of the main purposes of the homepage is marketing, and in this light the homepage makes more sense. It’s possible that university leaders are attempting to use their “skillz on the internets” to attract potential students and investors. I mean, the inane digital corkboard has to be there for a reason – perhaps to remind all of us of the dorm room we never had.

Now, before fingers of blame get pointed, let’s take a look in the mirror. The student body carries part of the blame for such a bewildering page. When the site redesign was released, a random survey was issued to every fiftieth visitor of the homepage.

Of the 735 people that actually took the survey, the vast majority of respondents rated the new design highly in appearance and (amazingly) usability. Prevalent comments from the survey flatly contradicted other results from said survey, stating that the site is “cluttered,” “busy” and “unprofessional.” What are the people in charge of the site supposed to do with such contradictory data? If you want an answer, I refer you to our current home page.

We need to simplify. Let’s make it easy for students as well as potential investors to find exactly what we have to offer. Most importantly, K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

5 Responses to "The labyrinth of UVU’s Web site"

  1. Brandon   October 13, 2009 at 8:43 am

    …and what’s up with UVLink’s use of unique, strange slang for every link they possibly can?
    Oh, you guys should slow down your featured stories slideshow on the main page and proofread your articles before posting.

    Reply
  2. a????????????????????????????????   October 14, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Use link checking software like some SEO companies use to check for obsolete URLs, dead links and bad redirects. Changing all of UVSC to UVU should have taken no more than three months, last year. For UVlink, the compatibility checker might as well not be there as it refuses compatible browsers with the correct settings, and has a seizure if the user has plug-ins/add-ons installed, popup blockers, adware blockers, different settings or a different version of java. Don’t rely on java for the CSSE job board, UVlink homepage, UVlink, UVlink e-mail, etc. Half the time it says access denied, service unavailable or unauthorized during normal behavior unless you click one out of the way link to open the link in a full window instead of a java window, so why use java as the default? Not only is Java icky, Java hates tabbed browsing. It’s so convenient to alt click on a bunch of links to…

    Reply
  3. a   October 14, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Java hates tabbed browsing. It’s so convenient to alt click on a bunch of links to read later, only to find remnants of somebody’s obscene java fetish. Find random quality assurance/beta testers and pay them in candy bars.

    Reply
  4. Anne Arendt   October 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    For the record, survey results in full are at http://www.uvu.edu/wrs/meetingsminutes/current/index.html so you can assess the data yourself and come to your own conclusions.

    Also for the record, here are the specifications Rare Method gave us for the home page (the company we hired to create it) http://resource.uvu.edu/RARE/assets/FNL%20WEB%20Home/FNL%20WEB%20Home/Site-specs.pdf

    Reply
  5. Clay   October 15, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I blame the webmaster.

    Reply

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