rearranged and magnified for reading easily or people using handheld devices can browse the Website as easily as those using a workstation. Likewise, Web standardsalso produce better search results and maintain visual consistency throughout the site.
Usability ensures the “ease to navigation” of a Web site. It includes numerous issuessuch as file sizes, the layout of search utility and sitemap (Nielsen & Tahir, 2002).Smaller file sizes make the pages load faster. Most Web users navigate a Web sitethrough search tools or a sitemap rather than scanning the content on the homepage.Therefore the search utility and sitemap are essential audience tools.
Information architecture is the hierarchical structure of the Web site, i.e. topic-basedor audience-based, primary navigation and utility navigation methods (Nichani,2006)
Consistency is the basis of a positive user experience. In the university context,it is difficult to get all its departments, schools and faculties to agree on a commonlayout. Hence information architecture helps provide a common guideline and allowsuniversity sub-sites to determine their own content without influencing the user experience.
Universities in the study
In the world of international business and Web sites, English is the dominant language. Moreuniversities in English-speaking countries tend to be sought after by international students. Itis hard to find an international student who does not recognise the high-profiled names likeHarvard, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge or Oxford. Moreover, Asia-Pacific, the fastest growingeconomic region with countries such as Japan, China and Singapore, has proved its effectiveeducational strategy in economic development. So it should be included. Consequentlyselected institutions in this paper are the leading institutions from those countries because of the strong belief that these leading institutions should perform better in terms of their Webstrategies.In addition leading business schools were investigated because they generally outperformedother schools in the same university. Sometimes their reputation was even more popular thantheir parent university. Of the 31 institutions sampled, 21 are universities and 10 are businessschools. The disciplines and location of those institutions are presented in table 1.
Table 1: Institutions in this study