It occurred to me that while “responsive” is a new buzzword in web design, it really shouldn’t take anyone by surprise, as conceptually, we’ve been doing it for years. As you recall from Round 1, we drafted a basic foundation for the navigation menus:

Initial Navigation Scheme

Section Navigation

  • About Us
  • Academics
  • Admissions
  • Campus Life
  • News & Events

Audience Navigation

  • Future Students
    • High School
    • Adult
    • International
    • Online
  • Current Students
  • Employees
  • Parents
  • Community
    • Veterans
  • Alumni

Features (parts of sections that we want to pull forward)

  • Athletics
  • Arts Center
  • Library
  • Class Schedule
  • Programs

Actions

  • Apply
  • Visit
  • Register
  • Contact
  • Give

Tools

  • Search
  • Login
  • Social Media
  • Contact
  • Footer Info / Quicklinks

Again, this is just a draft used to build the first prototype. It may change and we have to remember that our concepts need to be as fluid as our layouts. The funny thing about responsive design is that while it’s a relatively “new” concept in the design itself, it isn’t new to the design process. We’ve always needed to be able to adapt our designs based on user feedback and input.  “Usability testing” is the most common form of responsive designing that we’ve been doing for years.

We need to get our egos out of the way, and listen to the users. Menus that make perfect sense to senior administration may not make any sense to the average person using the site. And that’s a big fail. Icons that we love as designers may confuse the user and cause frustration. And that’s a big fail.

So not only does the design need to be responsive to device type, the institution needs to be responsive to user input.  It’s something that we struggle with as a small school with limited resources. But it’s necessary if we’re going to succeed.

Usability Resources

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