Victoria University has in persons 19000, higher education students and more than 30000 Tafe students. Victoria University is one of Australia well known university with its multiple campuses in Melbourne, Australia. For a university like Victoria, unless it meets the needs of the intended users it will not meet the needs of the organization providing the website. University web site development should be user-centred, evaluating the evolving designs against user requirements. The overall design of the website should and must take into account of established guidelines for web writing style, navigation and page design.
In this competitive environment where Universities are competing to gain bigger market share, their websites play a major role in their success, According to Tarafdar and Zhang, 2005, www (World Wide Web) is a medium that allows user arbitrary connections in an open environment. 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. Most of the university websites are difficult to understand, difficult in navigation, customer disorientation, and lack of interaction and reliability, where as in case of Victoria University website, it has successfully avoid such issues. Usability of the website has been defined as a ‘‘the measure of the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with a product or
system – whether a Web site, a software application, mobile technology, or any user operated device’’ (Anonymous, 2006).
For Victoria University students, getting help with their University assignments is really very important. in order to be able to improve more, it should spend minimum of 15% of its development budget on usability.
Victoria University home page and all the other main pages are not only marked separately but they all are properly tagged with similar key words that might be used by any user in order to search their relevant terms.
According to the original list developed in 1990 consisted of nine usability features as follows (Nielsen and Mack, 1994):
(1) Simple and natural dialog.
(2) Speak the user’s language.
(3) Minimize the users memory load.
(4) Be consistent.
(5) Provide feedback.
(6) Provide clearly marked exits.
(7) Provide shot cuts.
(8) Good error messages.
(9) Prevent errors.
Assignment Studio offers its assistance to University Students studying in Victoria University. VU have used very simple and straight forward 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, Victoria University should and must focus on its ‘total customer experience’ that is ‘the sum total of the interactions that a customer has with a company’s products, people and process’ (Roth 1999)
Another very important aspect of any website to consider in the process of its evaluation, according to Nielsen
(2003a, b) states that it is more important for design to meet the needs of the customer rather than be attractive and fun. 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 suggests that
User’s who will take paths totally different from what designers expect – such as completely skipping the home page, is one common example. The overall design of website which is simple, efficient, user centered and up to somewhat flexible will help the customers achieve intended goals Tarafdar, M. and Zhang, J. (2005).
Things to keep in mind in Page Design
- The home page should and must establish the site identity and must give a clear overview of the content.
- The important information should fit on one screen, as some users will not bother to scroll the home page.
- It is also very important to minimize the overall download time as most users don’t have fast connections and at the same time they don’t want to spend more time in downloading.
- Graphics add interest but are slow to load and can impede navigation, for this purpose should use light language.
- Use the minimum number of colours to reduce the size of graphics.
- Use the ALT tag to describe graphics, as many users do not wait for graphics to load.
- Make text easy to read and use
- Avoid the use of flashing or animation, as they are now almost obsolete but such functionality can be achieved through CSS of HTML5.
- Where possible use tables instead of frames
- Frames can interfere with printing and other bookmarking.
- Support different browser environments, as users prefer different browsers.
Accessibility of the Website for University Student to Do My Assignment
According to McKinney et al. (2002) state that a web site will be abandoned if the consumer has difficulty searching or retrieving their needed information, even if the web site provides the information necessary to complete the intended task for its users. In the process of making the website easy to navigate, Victoria University should and must keep following things in mind:
- The website should and must meet user expectations.
- It should be able to show users where they are and where they can go from that page.
- Use a consistent page layout, which is missing at the moment.
- The easiest to navigate information pages have a high density of self‐explanatory text links, which is very important in order to make sure that the visitor will spend more time on the website.
- Minimise the number of clicks needed to reach final content: the more clicks the more users will leave early.
- Provide links on each page to the local contents and home and should have links of other useful sources like contact us, feedback etc.
- Provide a simple interface to the search engineand check that it gives easily understood results
- Include navigational buttons at both the top and bottom of the page – thatwill eventually minimises the need for scrolling.
- Use URLs which are meaningful and exclusively lower case this helps people who have to type them in, this will save more time.
- Avoid dead ends plan that any page could be the first page for users reaching the site from a search engine.Serco ExperienceLab | Usability issues in website design
- Avoid concise menus: explain what each link contains so that users can find the right link first time.
- Provide a site map or overview – this helps users understand the scope of the site and it is usually considered as one of the most important aspect of the website.
- Any changes to the default link colours and style make it more difficult for users to find the links.
- Give sizes of files that can be downloaded.
The user’s impression of the web site’s usability impacts the user’s impression of the products available at the site.
Importance of Customer relationship management for University Students
In one of recent academic and practitioner studies suggest that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provides improved business opportunity, regardless of the nature they operate 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 personalization of website content, it can increase user satisfaction with an interactive website.
Overall service quality
For Victoria University the refocusing of web technology onto the client’s needs and perspective is very much reflected in the business literature. The overall value and quality of the website is not only to win customers but also their long term loyalty which is of more importance. The service quality of the website directly relates to its ability to increase business. According to Roth, 1999 in order to increase the efficiency of the website universities are being urged to focus on their “total customer experience’, that is the ‘the sum total of the interactions that a customer has with a company’s products, people and processes’.
- Anonymous (2006), ‘‘Step-by-step usability guide’’, available at: www.usability.gov (accessed 3 October 2006).
- Nielsen, J. (2003a), ‘‘Usability 101: introduction to usability’’, Useit.com, available at: www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html (accessed 1 November 2006).
- 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, 2007 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