Ten guidelines for university websites from the Nielsen Norman Group

University Websites: Top 10 Design Guidelines by Katie Sherwin on NNG

University Websites: Top 10 Design Guidelines by Katie Sherwin on NN/g

Last week (Sunday 19 January) the Nielsen Norman Group published an incredibly helpful article offering ten design guidelines for university websites: University Websites: Top 10 Design Guidelines.

Their summary:

Effective university websites can increase conversions, strengthen institutional credibility and brand, improve user satisfaction, and save time and money.

The web team are currently writing a business case and strategy detailing how we propose to take the University website forward over the next few years, particularly as access to the web using mobile devices is predicted by some to overtake desktop/laptop use this year.

Our focus will be on three activities:

  1. Standardise
  2. Simplify
  3. Consolidate

Publication of his article has come at just the right time for us, and is a good companion to this oft-referenced cartoon on xkcd: university website.

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Which browsers do you support?

Five web browsers

Chrome, IE, Opera, Safari and Firefox

I’m currently working on a document of guidelines for our web team and web developers. Something that I’ve been asked to include is to indicate which browsers we support.

Digging around, for example, Yahoo! have their fine Graded Browser Support page which lists specific version numbers of various browsers. Google Apps, on the other hand, supports

“the current and previous major releases of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version is released, [they] begin supporting that version and stop supporting the third most recent version.”

What do you folks do? Do you have browser support guidelines, either written down or not? Where do you draw the line (do you still support IE7, for example)? What are your criteria for what you support and don’t support?

And what about mobile devices?

I’d love to read your thoughts about this.