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CIienl: Dean MichaeI Shaughnessy

Iro|ecl: Increase usabiIily and organi-


zalion of lhe W&} Summer rogram
vebsile, vilh a Iong-lerm goaI of
imroving uon currenl regislralion
rales.
Dear Dean Shaughnessy,
Conlained in lhe foIIoving ages is
research I have found lhal vouId assisl in
making lhe W&} Summer sile more user-
friendIy. Afler lhe research, I rovide
examIes of vhal olher schooIs do veII
and exIain some of lhe fealures lhal make
lhem effeclive. My hoe is lhal afler you
read lhe documenl il viII insire you lo
examine lhe sile more cIoseIy and enabIe
you lo make any changes you deem aro-
riale lo crealing a beller user exerience.
esl,
Andy McKenna
!"# %" &'()' *+,-./
Uscrs apprccIatc qua!Ity and crcdIbI!Ity.
1
If a age rovides users vilh high-quaIily conlenl, lhey are viIIing lo comromise lhe conlenl vilh adver-
lisemenls and lhe design of lhe sile. This is lhe reason vhy nol-lhal-veII-designed veb-siles vilh high-
quaIily conlenl gain a Iol of lraffic over years. Conlenl is more imorlanl lhan lhe design vhich suorls
il.
Uscrs dnn't rcad, thcy scan.
AnaIyzing a veb-age, users search for some fixed oinls or anchors vhich vouId guide lhem lhrough lhe
conlenl of lhe age.
E,e ||ac||| s|0d|es co|d0c|ed o, !a|oo ^|e|se| s|ow ||a| 0se|s |ead co||e|| ||a|
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oae, |ex| || mo.es dow| a |||||e s|a|||| /|om ||e |e/| aa||.
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Wcb uscrs arc ImpatIcnt and InsIst
nn Instant gratIIIcatInn.
Very simIe rinciIe: If a veb-sile isn'l
abIe lo meel users' execlalions, lhen
designer faiIed lo gel his |ob done ro-
erIy and lhe comany Ioses money. The
higher is lhe cognilive Ioad and lhe Iess
inluilive is lhe navigalion, lhe more
viIIing are users lo Ieave lhe veb-sile
and search for aIlernalives.
Uscrs dnn't makc nptIma! chnIccs
Isers don'l search for lhe quickesl vay
lo find lhe informalion lhey're Iooking
for. Neilher do lhey scan veb-age in a
Iinear fashion, going sequenliaIIy from
one sile seclion lo anolher one. Inslead
users salisfice, lhey choose lhe firsl rea-
sonabIe olion. As soon as lhey find a
Iink lhal seems Iike il mighl Iead lo lhe
goaI, lhere is a very good chance lhal il
viII be immedialeIy cIicked. limizing
is hard, and il lakes a Iong lime. Salisfic-
ing is more efficienl.
So|| o|c|0|es s|ow. seq0e|||a| |ead|| /|ow does|'| wo|| || ||e Heo. |||| sc|ee|-
s|o| o| ||e |mae a| ||e oo||om desc||oes ||e sca|oa|| o/ a |.e| oae.
%
Uscrs In!!nw thcIr IntuItInn.
In mosl cases users muddIe lhrough
inslead of reading lhe informalion a
designer has rovided. According lo
Sleve Krug, lhe basic reason for lhal is
lhal users don'l care. If ve find some-
lhing lhal vorks, ve slick lo il. Il doesn'l
maller lo us if ve undersland hov
lhings vork, as Iong as ve can use lhem.
If your audience is going lo acl Iike
you're designing biIIboards, lhen design
greal biIIboards.
Uscrs want tn havc cnntrn!.
Isers vanl lo be abIe lo conlroI lheir
brovser and reIy on lhe consislenl dala
resenlalion lhroughoul lhe sile. L.g.
lhey don'l vanl nev vindovs oing
u unexecledIy and lhey vanl lo be
abIe lo gel back vilh a ack-bullon lo
lhe sile lhey've been before: lherefore il's
a good raclice lo never oen Iinks in
nev brovser vindovs.
&
Mnrc nrganIzcd than mnst !nca!
cnmpctItInn
2
Comared lo siles Iike Iill and Duquesne,
W&}'s Summer sile acluaIIy makes il
easier lo find aroriale informalion.
Nol in lerms of slreamIined Iinks, bul in
lerms of being generaIIy accessibIe and
easy lo navigale.
LInks arc mnst!y uscIu!
The Iinks in lhe side bar are aroriale
and Iead lo lhings lhal are usefuI. The
nevs box couId be lveaked, bul lhal may
change as conlenl is added.
CnnsIstcnt wIth nvcra!! sItc dcsIgn
This is somelhing lhal CMI and Iill
don'l do arlicuIarIy veII. Their Summer
schooI siles are IileraIIy differenl sile, and
don'l feeI officiaI. The W&} sile is inle-
graled veII enough vilh lhe overaII
design lo Iook officiaI and be consislenl
vilh lhe user exerience.
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L(1 O. !OI. 41$88&%F N+)G. L6O. L(%1+D. I4O. 4-=
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'
5Imp!IIy
veraII, lhe biggesl lhing lhe sile couId do
beller is lo acluaIIy do Iess. Il's lrying lo
be loo many lhings inslead of |usl assisling
lhe user in vhal lhey vanl lo do. ne of
lhe besl lhings lhal arl siles
3
do reaIIy veII
is lo kee lhe simIe and aIIov lhe users lo
conlroI lheir exerience more easiIy.
5ma!!cr InIn b!urbs - avnId wa!!s
The sile has a vaII of lexl in lhe informa-
lion seclion. Given lhe vay eoIe scan,
lhey may never find informalion lhey
need, so lhings need lo be done lo searale
lhe informalion and lhe coy in a IogicaI
vay.
LInk tn WcbAdvIsnr and Cata!ng
The sile currenlIy doesn'l Iink lo WebAdvi-
sor or lhe CalaIog, bolh of vhich vouId be
very usefuII and lhal even Iill does on
lheir sile.
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Intcgratc wIth Iu!! sItc
The Summer age needs lo be arl of lhe
sile. I senl a Iol of lime |usl lrying lo find
lhe Summer sile from W&}'s main age,
and had lo googIe il lo find lhe sile.
Kccp c!Icks dnwn
IeoIe laIk aboul lhe number of cIicks a
Iol. Some beIieve il's vilaI and some
beIieve il doesn'l malller as Iong as lhe
design is good. I refer lhe idea lhal users
are imalienl and irralionaI, as lhe Smash-
ing ArlicIe vriler says. The sile reaIIy
shouId be olimized lo assisl users quickIy
and efficienlIy, and il can sliII be relly
al lhe same lime.
The D-SchooI is an exlreme case, vhere
lhey IileraIIy have a regislralion Iink in
your face. ul olher schooIs Iike The Irall
Inslilule and RISD use Iinks lhal foIIov a
IogicaI allern lhal eoIe viII hoefuIIy
foIIov. Ior me lhal vas effeclive, and il
vas generaIIy lhe same allern on olher
siles.
(
|I rccnmmcnd znnmIng In Inr Inr
thcsc ncxt Icw]
5tanInrd D.5chnn!
4
The D.SchooI is one of my favoriles and is
erfecl for lhe idea of keeing lhings
simIe. The design is nice, very visuaI,
bul al lhe same lime il is olimized and
direcl so lhe user can find vhal lhey need
quickIy.
Thc Parsnns 5chnn!
5
This sile aIso vorks veII because il kees
lhings moslIy simIe. The muIli-coIumn
design can be consusing for users since
many are nol used lo lhal formal, bul lhe
Iefl hand side dedicales a Iol of sace lo
lhe navigalion and finding lhe Summer
rogram is very simIe and foIIovs a
IogicaI allern.
An added bonus is lhe enormous Iink lo
lhe course calaIog and lhe Iinks lo regis-
lralion being in lhe same area.
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Ca!Arts
6
CaIArls effecliveIy romoles lhe Summer
schooI ilseIf on ils home age. W&} kind
of does lhis, bul lhe robIem is lhe ul lhe
seIf-rovided ad LLW lhe foId of lhe
age (vhere lhe age ends on a comuler
screen). If you vanl eoIe lo cIick on
somelhing, il needs lo be in lhe naviga-
lion bar on lhe Iefl hand side or above lhe
foId.
nce lhe user gels lo lhe Summer age,
everylhing is organized and, more imor-
lanlIy, searaled by headers IogicaIIy vilh
muIliIe fonl veighls lo heI lhe user
scan lhe informalion.
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*
Rnchcstcr InstItutc nI Tcchnn!ngy
7
RIT's design is reaIIy bIand and some-
limes a ain lo use, bul lhe one lhing lhal
il does reaIIy veII is use lhe bread-
crumb lechnique. The breadcrumb lech-
nique is vhere lhe design incororales lhe
sles laken lo reach lhe age lhe user is
currenlIy on. This is eseciaIIy effeclive
on ages Iike RIT's, vhere il viII lake
more lhan lvo cIicks lo gel anyvhere.
Ior examIe, vhen you Iook al lhe finaI
course descrilion al lhe bollom on RIT's
regislralion calaIog, lhere is a breadcrumb
fealure al lhe beginning lhal viII aIIov
lhem lo gel anyvhere eIse lhey mighl
need lo go vilhin lhal arlicuIar disci-
Iine.
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Rhndc Is!and 5chnn! nI DcsIgn
8
RISD vas one of lhe schooIs I iniliaIIy
hoed vouId be erfecl for lhis resenla-
lion and il ended u being lrue. AII lhe
Iinks foIIov a IogicaI order, lhe informa-
lion bIurbs are olimized for scannings,
and once a user gels lo lhe Summer sile il
is veII-organized vilh headers and lhe
navigalion is aroriale and usefuI.
My favorile lhing mighl be hov lhe lexl is
searaled. Nol onIy is il an easy read on
my screen, lhe veighls of lhe lexl aIIov a
user vho is scanning for informalion lo
quickIy find vhal lhey need or, if lhey
don'l knov, lo idenlify il |usl in lhe same
amounl of lime. As vilh lhe D-SchooI,
Iarsons, and CaIArls, lhe cIicks are kel
lo a minimum.
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Pratt InstItutc
9
The Irall Inslilule mighl be my favorile
for IogicaI navigalion. The Summer ro-
gram is Iisled under lhe Academics lab
and once lhe user is lhere il's very smoolh
saiIing. Like RISD, lhey make effeclive
use of differenl fonl veighls lo heI orga-
nize. They aIso uliIize lhe breadcrumb
lechnique on lhe Iefl-side navigalion and
use lheir designaled sace on lhe righl lo
Iel users connecl on sociaI media, sched-
uIe visils, and regisler.
So once again, lhe sile is organized effec-
liveIy, lhe imorlanl informalion is
divided arorialeIy, and Iinks are bolh
visibIe and usefuI.
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