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October 28, 2007

George Mason University - Website Design

Simple, fast website design gets alumni where they need to go easier and quicker.  In the twelve years that I've worked with alumni professionals, I've seen their website designs go through a series of phases.  The first phase was the "Mona Lisa" design phase.  Everyone wanted their website design to be incredible looking with amazing graphics, great lettering, etc.  Unfortunately, these great-looking websites weren't always very functional, because as they were being built, the focus was on the looks, and not on how well alumni would actually be able to use the website.

Over time, we encouraged the industry to go toward more of a portal design, one that replicated a newspaper like USA Today.  The reason?  With lots of photos, short stories, engaging tools, and techniques to capture alumni participation via talkback and rating systems, overall participation is higher, as is the interest of your alumni.  After all, you want to give your alumni the tools they need, but you also want them to be able to find that information easily - without a lot of fuss. 

More and more alumni websites are using this simple, fast design.  In fact, recently I came across the George Mason University alumni website.  They've designed their front page to be a master index of what an alum can do while at the site.  They have an easy index along the side of the front page, so alumni can quickly pick out what they're looking for, click on it, and find it in mere seconds.  It's simple, eye catching, functional, and is filled with news, content, and other areas of interest for their alumni.

If you are looking for ideas on how to get alumni where they want without thinking too heavily about it, it's a terrific technique to consider

Posted by Don Philabaum on October 28, 2007 at 07:09 PM | Permalink


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