Before embarking on any design or research activities in our work to upgrade the homepage, we asked each member of our design team to write down their answer to the following question from their own perspective:
"What is the purpose of our homepage?"
We did this as an exercise to gauge a couple things:
- At this moment in time, do people have a shared understanding of what our homepage is for?
- Will that change as we move through the design process?
Here's what they wrote:
- To make it easy for people to find the information about the U of S that they need
- The largest external facing comms tool of the university where people come to get info and news
- Lay out mission statement / what university is good at in a fashion that will attract prospective students
- To inform, guide, enlighten and entertain
- It's the front door to our university. As such, it should be welcoming and engaging for people approaching it
- Provide information in a logical, efficient manner -- and attractive
- As a source of information for the general population, staff, faculty and students
- To be the online "landing point" for anyone needing info about the U of S
- Engage and direct (connect)
- The purpose of the university web page is: To make us look cool
- Marketing tool for all university stakeholders. As such, website should be interactive, participatory, provide appropriate information. It's the U of S window to the world and vice versa.
- To direct stakeholders (highest priority: students and prospective students) to the information/action they are looking for
- Showcase the university to prospective students and provide an easy point to apply/enroll
- The purpose of the usask.ca website is to direct our stakeholders to the information they need or want to know
- To provide basic info and direct people to more specific info
There are no right or wrong answers here. While many answers are similar, no two are identical. That's to be expected: As a university we have never communicated a shared purpose for our homepage.
Will we arrive at a shared purpose during this project? Is that even possible? Does it matter?