Australia is full of top class universities and Victoria University is one of the major and biggest universities of Melbourne. In Victoria University, nineteen thousand students are currently enrolled in the higher education discipline and almost thirty thousand are Tafe category students so the total number of students is almost 49000. Victoria University is very renowned university because it has numerous campuses in Melbourne. It is providing practical knowledge in the field of website development, in this respect it is meeting organization as well as intended user’s requirements.
It is important for a developer to make sure that website is user-centered and carry the capability of evolving those designs which are as per user’s requirements. All the main functions of web site development and designing such as writing style, navigation, and page design should be adhered to the set guidelines made by developer.
In this competitive environment where Universities are competing to gain bigger market shares, their websites play a major role in their success, According to Tarafdar and Zhang, 2005, World Wide Web is a great source through which one can connect with customers very openly and without any sort of restrictions or limitations. The overall usability of Victoria University is very simple and easy; customer can navigate through the required criteria easily and in less time as compare to the time spent on other websites. Some websites are not successfully marketing their disciplines, studies, faculty and many more things because users face difficulty in understanding and navigating pages, moreover customers get confusion and lack contact and trustworthiness, where as in case of Victoria University website, it has successfully avoid such issues. The concept of website development is all about providing ease and online facility to users, when users find any product or system easy to use then one can easily interpret that quality of website, software application, mobile technology and other types of electronic device is fine (Anonymous, 2006).
In order to improve Victoria university website, it should spend minimum of 15% of its development budget on User’s ease and facility. Victoria University home page and all other main pages are not only marked separately but they all are also properly tagged with similar keywords that can be used by any user for the purpose of searching their relevant terms.
Victoria University has used very simple and direct language in the development of its website, however at the same time it is also very important to make sure that the language it has used is common with all the browsers or at least something in common.
In order to be able to increase its effectiveness in terms of its usability, it is very important for a university like Victoria that it must commit to its ‘total customer experience’, it means it should improve the customer coordination features that a user has with any product, people and proves of the company (Roth 1999).
Another very important aspect of any website to consider in the process of its evaluation, according to Nielsen (2003a, b), website design should be as per the customer’s needs and requirements and there is no need at all to waste time on attractiveness and funny quotes. The overall design of Victoria website is very much impressive and eye catching; it has the tendency to make visitors navigate through different banners and posters enabling them as links to other pages. Nielsen proposes that if users will go against designer’s expectation like no home page, this is one of the examples of design failure. In short, simple, reliable, quicker, user focus and flexible design will help customers to achieve desired goals Tarafdar, M. and Zhang, J. (2005).
Some important points need consideration while designing page and these points are mentioned as follows:
- The home page must ascertain identity of location and essential to provide an obvious summary of the content.
- It is better to set important information on a page size screen because some users are not habitual to scroll down the webpage.
- Another major issue is the downloading time; it should be as much minimized as it can be to capture the attention of users. It is important to minimize downloading because many users avoid spending more time on downloading due to their low internet downloading speed.
- It is the reality that Graphics create interest but these are heavy and are comparatively slow to load and always hinder navigation, for avoiding this issue it is better to use light language.
- Size of graphics can be decreased by using less number of colors.
- It is useful to for the website developer to use tabs like ALT because users do not wait for graphics to load.
- Make text easy to read and use
- It is advisable to avoid animation and flash features as they are now almost obsolete but such functionality can be achieved through CSS of HTML5.
- In the website development, tables are more useful than frames.
- Another disadvantage of frames is that they interact with printing and other bookmarking tabs.
- It is important for developer to use different browser environment because users prefer different browsers.
It is important to ensure that accessibility should be of very high quality. According to McKinney et al. (2002), if the website is not designed in a way in which consumers face difficult to find required information rather than availability of information on the same website for a desired task, it will be rated as a low quality website or have no use for users. In the process of making the website, Victoria University should and must keep following things in mind:
- The website should and must meet user expectations.
- The website should be designed in a way in which users can see where they are right now and how to find the desired page.
- It is important to use a constant page layout instead of missing it right now.
- When it will be easy to navigate web pages with the availability of automatic keywords and text links then there is high probability that user will spend more time on the same website.
- The density of clicks should be minimized to reach at the required pages; in this regard user will spend more time on any website.
- The website should consist of links such as home, contact us and feedback links on each page to ensure the quality of net surfing and website.
- Those websites are called great quality websites where you provide easy and clear interface to search engine so that it can give easily understood results.
- Navigation buttons should be available on the top and bottom of each web page screen so that the use of scroll will be minimized or zero such as Gmail inbox screen page.
- URLs are also very important, avoid meaningless, upper case URLs because these will not be useful in typing and will take more time.
- It is not practical to grant concise explanation but one should explain about each link that what it contains so that users can get the right link in one go.
- It will be good to give a location map because by reviewing the site map, users will be able to understand scope of the website and it is usually considered as one of the most important aspects of the website.
- Avoid changing default colors and styles because in this way, it will be difficult for users to find the right link.
- Provide size to downloadable files for user information.
The user’s feeling about website impacts the user’s notion of the products accessible at the site.
One of the best academic and practitioner study evident that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offers better business opportunity regardless of the nature they function in Pearson. J, Pearson. A, 2007. For universities like Victoria, CRM is of prime importance specially when there is a growing acceptance and adoption of CRM in business. With the help of website content personalization, one can increase user satisfaction with an interactive website.
In case of Victoria University, the redesigning of web technology according to the customer’s needs has been reflected in the business literature greatly. The subjective target and quality of any website is not only to win customers but also their long-term loyalty because it is more important. The customer service quality of the website helps company to directly increase its business. According to Roth, 1999 in order to increase the efficiency of the website universities should be urged to concentrate on their “total quality management.
- Anonymous (2006), ‘‘Step-by-step usability guide’’, viewed on 22nd April 2012 <available at: www.usability.gov>
- Nielsen, J. (2003), ‘‘Usability 101: introduction to usability’’, viewed on 19th April, 2012 <www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html>
- J, 1999, ‘Becoming Web Enabled’, in American Printer vol 224(1) p.8
- J, Pearson. A, 2007, ‘Determining the importance of key criteria in web usability’, Management Research News Vol. 30 No. 11, pp. 816-828
- Tarafdar, M. and Zhang, J. (2005), ‘‘Analyzing the influence of web site design parameters on web site usability’’, Information Resources Management Journal, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 62-80