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August 26, 2010 / BrianOFlan

How to make a useful webpage

While working on our group’s public webpage, we were brainstorming what kind of content to put in it.  The professors had all kinds of ideas for diverse content and a complicated layout.  We obliged on penalty of academic death but wondered if we any of this content would interest potential visitors and users of the site.

xkcd summarized the problem of academic institution web sites:

University Website

The roll-over caption says,

People go to the website because they can’t wait for the next alumni magazine, right? What do you mean, you want a campus map? One of our students made one as a CS class project back in ’01! You can click to zoom and everything!

My dominant web design philosophy is simplicity. Allow people to search and drill down into all kinds of interesting details but don’t cloud their view with everything all at once.

As long as we nod appreciatively, I think a round-about discussion with the professors will trick them into consenting to a more simple structure for the site.

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