What 170 HigherEd Website Home Page Images Reveal

image of set of screen shots of Canadian higher education websites

What a Picture!

One feature our higher education digital ecosystem discovery and monitoring service provides is capturing and saving web page screenshots. As we scan websites and web estates, we can snap web page images in desktop, tablet and mobile formats. Whether you are a web developer, designer, content strategist or UX specialist, the resulting galleries speed design, layout and user experience checking.

Desktop View vs. Mobile View

For this post we’ve grabbed 170 Canadian higher education home page screenshots. Each image was captured using Google Chrome at standard desktop screen dimensions of 1920x1080 - showing 'above the fold' content. In practice it is likely these pages will be more frequently viewed on mobile devices. In a future post we’ll look at cases in which responsive design implementations could be tweaked to optimize mobile friendliness.

Tagging the Images

We’ve assigned each image a tag describing its most prominent visual feature, including headlines or taglines:

  • buildings – an on-campus building
  • choices – no single focus but visitors can click links to execute defined tasks
  • individual – student, faculty or alumni profile
  • news – breaking or recent news
  • ranking – ranking or other institutional statistics
  • research – an example of current research
  • statement – a headline, mission or similar institutional statement
  • students – two or more students
  • work – a focus on career or work possibilities

Winnowing complex messaging and designs into a few categories will lack subtlety. However, we’ve selected the categories judiciously, because, in a subsequent post we’ll be repeating this exercise for UK university and college websites and later merging the two groups to highlight similarities and differences. For that exercise to have value we need the categories to be simple and to work for both: the canada tag will become relevant in due course.

In a few cases agreeing on a single tag was too difficult, so those images have more than one. In some cases the home pages use embedded video. Currently, we only take snapshots, so our captured image will not convey the same visual impact as the full video.

Does the CMS Matter? You Decide …

For interest we’ve added in the content management system (CMS) rendering the page layout and content. We've picked out the top six CMSs and grouped the remainder as, OTHER: all CMS tags are in upper case. AEM is Adobe Experience Manager.

Clicking on the tags below re-orders the gallery images to reveal various home page design and content strategy approaches.

 

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Don’t have accurate and current information on all the websites you own? Not able to monitor and check each website’s content quality and risk status? Let’s talk about how we can help.