School Tools Designs: Kapiolani Community College Webpage

November 25, 2014

Allison Turgeon
22 October 2014
FD2
Word Count: 1046

School Tools Designs is a web page design company that develops and improves existing higher education websites to effectively meet the needs of their intended demographic. Kapiolani Community College attracts both international and local interest. While KCC appeals to traditional students, the flexible setting and wide range of courses also draw non-traditional students who seek such courses to supplement their work experience or are returning to school to augment their credentials or even switching careers. The college’s website should be tailored to the needs of this diverse population since they will utilize this site. The KCC website is a tool for both current and prospective students to effectively learn about the opportunities and resources available at the institution. [THESIS]School Tools Designs proposes several strategies to make KCC’s website a more personalized and worthwhile experience for all its users.[THESIS]

After examining the Kapiolani Community College webpage, School Tools Designs has determined a few issues with the existing format. While the site is aesthetically pleasing, it fails to incorporate one of the most important groups of people at the institution — the students. There is no clear link in the navigation bar for current students, thus ignoring a large portion of the school’s community. To correct this issue, School Tools Designs suggests reorganizing the toolbar to include a “current students” dropdown link. When users hover over the link, additional links appear, including the bookstore, a campus/academic calendar, the SOS workshops, and academic advising. KCC does an excellent job of providing students with various resources, including workshops to learn technical skills required for success. Current students need a more effective way to access these resources.

KCC’s current webpage design has an updated feel, complete with widgets similar to those found on a mobile device. This is an effective strategy, targeting the up-and-coming, tech-savvy population. Better integrating these widgets would further enhance the webpage. Moving these widgets to the side so that they are higher up on the page allows users to see them as soon as the page loads without having to scroll down. Design Your Way, a website devoted to webpage design techniques, notes that “People usually don’t scroll.” The article further explains that “People don’t have this much patience and are not that aware of technology and how websites look and work.” Maintaining the location of the current drop down menu but creating a space on the side for these widgets allows for alignment and uniformity, and a more organized overall look. As an added convenience for current students, this section could also include widgets for the system’s MyUH portal, Laulima (course management system), and Gmail service.

The current layout of the website also does not provide a link for prospective students, instead dispersing this information in other areas. Prospective students are imperative for the college enrollment, funding, and budgeting. International and out-of-state students are also an important group that generates revenue for the institution. Creating a clear, easy-to-use link for them is necessary especially because English might not be the user’s first language. Within the prospective students link, there could be additional links to resources including statistics about the school, tuition, admissions procedures, and student life. This section also would include additional links for non-traditional and international students along with resources that pertain directly to their demographic. Their educational experience will be different from that of a recent high school graduate or a local student. Their admission process might vary as well, and this should be reflected here.

Overall, School Tools Designs proposes that KCC implements a drop down menu, resource links and widgets, and images on a page that does not require its users to scroll down too far. Repetition is also key in this website’s design. Current KCC student, Kelsey Hardee, said scrolling through webpages for information can be difficult, “Especially because you have to scroll through the whole page to get any information and then find out that it will be mailed to you…. It’s not really convenient.” Another KCC student, Jerry Nourrie, places value on visual appeal but notes that it is not the only important aspect of a website. When evaluating another college’s website, he explained, “Overall I think their visuals are excellent, but the rest of the website could use some work.”

Since KCC is a community college, it needs to consider the population that will be using the webpage. Admissions requirements are not extensive or as competitive as a four-year university and the abilities and caliber of students might vary significantly. Some prospective students may lack experience with technology or have limited English language proficiency. Pages that require constant scrolling, while visually appealing to some, detract from the main message and purpose. According to its mission statement, the college “provides open access, and promotes students’ progress, learning and success with low tuition and high quality instructional programs, student development and support services, and selective areas of excellence and emphasis.” In the interest of promoting success, our company believes that the site should be simple and easy to navigate.

KCC provides access to opportunities for those seeking higher education, and, in order to continue to provide those opportunities, School Tools Designs recommends implementing the webpage changes proposed. According to Business News Daily assistant editor, Nicole Fallon, “It takes just 2.6 seconds from the time a page loads for a person’s eyes to focus on a specific element on it.” She quotes assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T, Hong Sheng, who explains, “As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user’s first impressions of a website can determine whether he or she forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization.” We hope that Kapiolani Community College will consider our plan to further enhance and improve their webpage so that it can make a lasting, positive impression on visitors.

Works Cited

Fallon, Nicole. “The 7 Most Important Elements on Your Business Website.” BusinessNewsDaily.com. 27 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2014 [http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2046-web-design-data.html].

Hardee, Kelsey. Online posting. 21 Oct. 2014. Laulima Discussion. 23 Oct. 2014 [https://laulima.hawaii.edu].

Nourrie, Jerry. Online posting. 21 Oct. 2014. Laulima Discussion. 23 Oct. 2014 [https://laulima.hawaii.edu].

“Why Usability Is the Most Important Aspect of Designing a Site.” N.d. Design Your Way. Web. 23 Oct. 2014 [http://www.designyourway.net/drb/why-usability-is-the-most-important-aspect-of-designing-a-site/].

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