[Class]Website ComparisonIntroduction The viewpoint of a potential student of management studies is broad indeed but it is such a viewpoint which could frequently be presented to universities. Essentially, such a student could be searching for a variety of information including fees, prospects of accommodation or even understanding what s/he could gain from attending the university. A comparison of the websites of three universities i. e. Brunel University, Royal Holloway and the University of Reading is made to show what positives and negatives could be gathered from the websites considering the notions of information architecture, information organisation and interaction design.
The ComparisonConsidering the elements of information architecture, the organisation and categorisation of information seems to be the most important element. In this regard, Brunel clearly stands out from the other two since the webpage at Royal Holloway does not have direct links which can take a person through the website to a page which gives relevant information on the subject of management at the undergraduate level. Reading’s website is a close second to Brunel simply because Brunel provides a method to jump directly to the undergraduate course name based on the first letter of the program a person is interested in while Reading’s website makes the individual go through a list to scroll to the right degree a perspective student of management would want. The presentation of the information is quite logical with clearly defined labels that are easy to follow.
This is true for all three websites since even from the home page, it is easy to see certain links which take the user directly to other pages which contain relevant information. However, the labelling system on Royal Holloway might take some getting used to since it was not easy to find relevant information from the home page.
The site also lacked internal consistency since the drop down menus which come up on the homepage; do not reveal themselves as the user goes deeper into the website. This might be a navigational problem for someone who expects the submenus to come up when they do not. When it comes to searching for information, Reading’s website provides a search box on the homepage itself which can be a useful approach.
The other two websites require the user to click on a link which takes them to a separate search page A simple search test on the website reveals interesting details as Brunel’s website clearly shows the Google logo and reveals itself to be using Google's search tools to index and search across its pages. While such an approach can be cost effective, it might be better for the university to index its own pages and focus search terms towards relevant pages. However, even with Google's search, the third link on the page takes the user directly towards the Business and Management BSc degree while the first link gives a list of postgraduate courses.
Perhaps if the university uses its own search tool, the results might be different and more focused.