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It seems that universities are on a different planet when it comes to keeping up with Web site design and development. I've been doing research for a client project and what a shock! Microsite, upon microsite - it takes a GPS system to navigate through them.


Whether your kids are reaching that point of no return - college - or you're just browsing to find resources, many of the university Web sites I've visited in the past few weeks leave much to be desired.
For one thing, the larger the institution, the more behemoth the site is in size and offerings. That makes it challenging for them to provide all the information succinctly and simply. One thing is evidently clear. Many are designing their sites according to internal infrastructures rather than from an external customer focus.
Some "get it" and list their target segments on the home page. But, from there, it's easy to get lost. On some sites, almost every department has its own microsite, so even if there's overlap of information, you may have to visit several sites to find what you require.
In addition, the microsites look like different designers/developers worked on them. It often appears that the macro brand identity of the university itself is forgotten. Colors change; looks change; font styles, photos - consistent templates change from from one to another.
Help. This is branding pergatory!
Check some of the worst I've seen. Don't be shy to browse sidebar links.
http://www.stanford.edu/
http://www.berkeley.edu/
http://www.washington.edu/
And just so you can compare, here are a couple of reasonably good ones:
www.sc.edu
http://www.yorku.ca/web/ (This one's my undergrad alma mater. What a creative site. Check it out.)
So, now what do you think? College students are the most technologically advanced generation of Millennials, so what's up with the maze of university Web sites?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel