Here’s a cool article I just read this morning. I tried to post a reply there, but it wouldn’t let me, so I’ll just post my views over here. I’m just starting a total re-do at a local college website and this article along with the comments have really provided some food for thought.
I totally disagree with the commenter that recommends taking the conversation to www.edustyle.net – they’re part of the problem promulgating boring/poor designs. What’s needed are independent views like this one.
Almost all of the other sites look exactly the same; far too many links & sections coupled with poor organization. Just exchange your logo and school colors, mix up the slide show a bit, and 90% of the sites fit that description. Please, let’s do away with the “wall-o-links” look!
The sites that get my vote for worst offenders were: U Kansas and their seemingly sister-site (design wise) U Michigan, U Nevada/Reno, and Gonzaga U. Although these guys actually seem to have tried to step away from the typical “wall-o-links” design, they failed either in their awkward menu systems, or super-annoying widgets (like the talking pop-outs at Gonzaga).
Don’t get me wrong, 90% or more of the sites listed in the article and its comment section are also very boring or outright bad design. Out of the 56 I visited and took the time to write some notes on, only eleven got a “good” or “above average” rating. And only the four listed above got a “Very good” or higher grade.