Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

University Series: How a university’s website Information Architecture impacts user behaviour!

Written by Kapil Bhatia & Madhur Advani

In the digital landscape of cluttered and disorganised information, how can your university website break through all the noise?. How can you design pathways on your website, such that it adds value to the search of your prospective students?. The latest break-through insights from the Global Reviews Higher Learning Digital Sales Effectiveness programme answers this very question.

In Q4 2017, Global Reviews, as part of a longitudinal study, conducted research to understand the behaviour of 796 prospective students while they searched for a course on their desktop devices. The research evaluated the websites of 22 Australian universities to analyse industry best practices, and summarise corresponding recommendations based on the results of the study.

This blog post is part 2 of a blog post series on Higher Learning. If you haven’t already, you can read part 1 here

In this post we will uncover insights on how a website’s information architecture impacts user behaviour when they search for a course on a university website.

During the research study conducted, it was observed that most university websites display information in a definite pattern:

  • Of the 22 University websites evaluated in the study, 20 were found to have a Top-Level navigation presenting further navigation tabs.
  • Out of those 20 Universities, 14 have a mega menu in the Top-Level navigation for user interaction.
  • And of the 14 Universities, 8 list course categories in the mega menu.

The information displayed is consumed in a way that:

  • 55% of prospective students interacted with the top-level navigation of all 22 university websites when searching for course information.

University websites displaying course categories in the mega menu– Average success rate of 71%

Example – La Trobe University displays its course listing in its mega menu as seen below:

University websites with no course listing in their mega menu- Average success rate of 57%

Example – The University of Adelaide has no course listing in their mega menu

Websites with no mega menu- Average success rate of 64%

Example – Swinburne University has no mega menu on their website

Summary & Recommendations

Universities with course listings in the mega menu perform the best in terms of success rate and time taken to locate a course range.

  • The time to locate information on a university website plays a crucial role when students are actively considering to pursue a course.
  • Pay attention to labelling and to the way you display course information on your website in the top-level navigation.
  • Consider prioritising your top-level navigation to be the single point of entry to display course options.

Speak to one of our experts to see how the data we have can increase conversion rates, leads and traffic on your university website:

Darren Watson – Senior Commercial Director
T:         +61 3 9013 0531
M:        + 61 413 017 959
E:         darren.watson@globalreviews.com

Tony Carveth- Senior Commercial Director

T:         +61 3 9013 0531
M:        +61 438 081 496
E:         tony.carveth@globalreviews.com

 

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