User:Andy Maloney/Notebook/Lab Notebook of Andy Maloney/2009/09/23/Websites to emulate

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Final request

Steve Koch 11:51, 25 September 2009 (EDT): I think I am going to recommend some emergency fixes (such as not linking to a PDF) and then medium-term redesign to a better format. I think I will recommend copying UNM optical sciences and engineering, because (a) I think it will be an easier sale to committee, (b) possibly whoever wrote it is still around, and (c) there's some reason to believe prospective students will look at both programs and the consistency will help. I do think I like Houston's site better, but it lacks advantages above. If you're still paying attention, can you please do the following (before 11 am, say):

Steve says

Steve Koch 10:37, 25 September 2009 (EDT): Thanks, peeps! I'm going to look over this this morning and then prepare something to send the committee. This is a huge help, plus the faculty will weight it more heavily coming from the students' perspectives.

Other notes

  • Linking to a PDF is AWFUL
  • P&A Website still has two versions--even w/ links (not just via Google)
  • Links on the left are better for "related" navigation. Top and bottom are typically for "going away."
  • We NEED a top-level page for "graduate programs" that has necessary links (see U. Houston or MIT page, Actually, I think I like Houston better.)


List the websites here that we like.

  • UT Austin
  • Rice
    • SJK: Very nice looking homepage, but has the same annoying nested drop-down menus. Here's the graduate program page. Besides looking nicer (white background), I'd say their page isn't much more helpful than our grad page.
  • University of Houston
    • SJK: After finally realizing that all these schools are strangely in TX, I lowered my expectations for UH. However, I think their site is much better than UT and Rice. The link to their graduate programs is titled, "Graduate Programs." When you click on it, you go immediately to this page: Graduate programs. Then it's a very clear link on the left to get to: Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy.
  • UNM Optics program Yep, better than the physics one.
  • UW Madison Physics
  • MIT Physics
    • Anthony Salvagno:I like this one a lot because it is nice and very simple (the main page). There are 4 main link (in the square) and then 3 other important links but not as important just outside it.
    • SJK: I agree that this site is well-organized. However, when comparing with Houston, I think Houston is much easier to see the information. The MIT site is a little too cute and too wordy with too many links. E.g., the colored square thing makes sense, but you need to learn how to use it.

Things that every webpage (like this) should have

  • Easy navigation
    • links either contained in a sidebar or on top of the web page
    • drop down menus that make sense
      • SJK: I think drop-down menus are just a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Visually pleasing and simple
    • simple colors that don't distract
    • fonts sized appropriately and with nice fonts
  • Main part could contain:
    • news items
    • application links

Things we dislike about UNM's site

  • Way too overwhelming.
  • It's structured horribly. Nothing on the page catches the eye to be drawn to the most important things about the department such as the academics or the subfields.
  • The colors are disgusting and the back drop shouldn't be a picture of a mountain, it should be white or a light color with a gradation. Preferably white.
  • Confusing drop down menus. Shouldn't programs really say "degree programs"? And academic information should be in the page for the graduate program/undergraduate program, not linked to in the "programs" button.
  • The menus really are poorly organized.
  • Font is too small.
  • The research interests of faculty page is retarded. I like the idea of the page but they should have a link to professor's lab website or something. You can't go anywhere from this page. Also finding research topics at UNM is hard to do. I know i had a hard time finding it when i was a perspective student.
    • Anthony Salvagno:I agree. I remember not being able to find anything. It is way better now then back in the day, but it is still no great shakes.
  • Not easy to find important information. possibly a link for perspective students, link for graduate student requirements. I guess it is a good idea to brainstorm the most important things. and then make a link directly there from the front page.