Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

User Preferences on University Websites: A Study

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

User Preferences on University Websites: A Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

The advent of the ICTs has supplemented the traditional system in providing the information especially academic institutions in a variety of ways. The Universities have created their own websites to up load the information related to various activities. It facilitates the users to access to the information easily within a short span of time, across globe much faster. Hence, the websites are believed to be the transporters of the information of a particular organization / institution. Consequently, the website will show its way to success of an organization. It enhances the users' expectation and also the reputation of the organization. There are various types of websites, like business websites, entertainment websites, etc. In that way, academic websites communicate the vision and the mission of an institution. The university websites are no longer considered as an electronic brochure, but it is the main platform for describing and communicating the university's activities and their potentiality. In order to develop an effective website, it is important to understand the users' view in regard to the use of the website. With many websites offering similar facilities, the user today has become more demanding in respect of the web access. Users prefer visiting those sites, which are easy to learn and operate and are aesthetically appealing. The usability of a website plays a significant role in determining the number of hits to a website. This paper analyses the preferences of users on University websites.

Review of Literature

Islam and Alam (2011) discussed that private universities in Bangladesh did not have much impact on the Web and were not known at the international level. They further suggest that the university websites should facilitate all users to access the academic and scientific resources as well as up-to-date information and news. Ramesh Babu, Jeyshankar and Nageswara Rao (2010) described that academic Web sites in a country are the most important Internet communication tools. They introduce universities, their related institutes and departments, their resources and services, faculty members, student alumnae and others. Nowadays, an important factor for the success of a university is its website and web accessibility and in particular its visibility on the Web. Therefore, it is important to evaluate their presence on the Web as it is to evaluate the educational and research performance of the universities. Jeyshankar and Ramesh Babu (2009) found that majority of universities have '.ac.in' as the domain name in their website Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). Nwagwu and Agarin (2008) found that web users in the university do not link through their university portals as most of the email addresses of the web users are not linked to the university websites. Vaughan and Thelwall (2005) stated that University websites are multifaceted communication devices, and are increasingly used for a wide variety of purposes, from attracting new students to providing online education. Kirakowski, J.; Claridge, N. & Whitehand, R. (1998) (6) and Kirakowski (2000) evaluated the user satisfaction with usability of five websites based on a questionnaire method. The authors developed a new questionnaire (named WAMMI) for the evaluation. The questionnaire showed that the evaluation of user satisfaction contributes to the successful development of websites. Pinto, et al. (2009) conducted a study on information provided by Spanish University websites on their assessment and quality processes. They analyse and evaluate the information provided by Spanish public universities on the web about their assessment and quality processes with the aim of detecting aspects for improvement and identifying best practices in universities that could act as a benchmark for the rest of the sector. Corry, et al. (1997) conducted a usability evaluation of an existing Midwestern University website. An analysis was conducted to restructure the information contained in the current Website; a prototype was developed and tested against the existing site. …

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