What college students want from websites

“Teenagers prefer websites that have dynamic and engaging interactive activities, such as quizzes and games….

However, “college students are much more goal-oriented. They like interactivity only when it serves a purpose and supports their current tasks. At the college level, users make a separation between play and work and don’t require websites to entertain them at all times. Instead, students consider websites as tools. A good site is one that helps them quickly accomplish their goals….

Students often judge sites on how they look. But they usually prefer sites that look clean and simple rather than flashy and busy. One user said that websites should ‘stick to simplicity in design, but not be old-fashioned. Clear menus, not too many flashy or moving things because it can be quite confusing.’…

“Students don’t like to learn new user interface styles. They prefer websites that employ well-known interaction patterns. If a site doesn’t work in the expected manner, most students lose patience and leave rather than try to decode a difficult design….

“Students associate Facebook and similar sites with private discussions, not with corporate marketing. When students want to learn about a company, university, government agency, or non-profit organization they turn to search engines to find that organization’s official website. They don’t look for the organization’s Facebook page…”

The Beta Principle: Skip Perfection & Launch Early (The 99 Percent) /via @bentforkz

“sometimes it’s best to launch a product before it’s perfect. I call this acting without conviction. You may be uncertain – and some things may remain unfinished – but you’ve got to push it out. The reasons are both practical and psychological. … On a practical level, you can only get feedback and real user data when the product is released …”

Scrolling and Attention (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

“Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold. … Information foraging theory says that people decide whether to continue along a path (including scrolling path down a page) based on the current content’s information scent. In other words, users will scroll below the fold only if the information above it makes them believe the rest of the page will be valuable.”

With student help, L.L. Bean tries younger look – The Boston Globe

“The Signature collection will be a huge test for L.L. Bean, after nearly a century in business, as it goes head to head with J.Crew, Ralph Lauren’s Rugby line, and other specialty retailers catering to the khaki chic audience. Many merchants struggle with new lines or brand extensions when they get away from their heritage or attempt to court younger consumers, according to retail analysts. But the unexpected campus crusade for chinos, along with the quick sellout this winter of a limited release of items.”

Short-Term Memory and Web Usability (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

“The human brain today is the same as the human brain 10,000 years ago. … Many of the skills needed to use computers highly useful [to the cavemen].. Such skills include remembering obscure codes from one screen to the next and interpreting highly abbreviated form-field labels. It’s no surprise that people are no good at these skills, since they weren’t important for survival in the ancestral environment.”

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