Opinion: Education Institute Website

By - Posted under: Opinion on March 26, 2013 education

Welcome to our Opinion section where we express our opinion on various topics ranging from industries, design, branding, content and SEO. Today we would like to discuss about the Education Institute website in Malaysia. The view expressed here in this article is strictly personal without any ill intention to harm anyone. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Ever since the evolution of the Internet, the amount of information available to us is staggering and it has shaped how we search for information. Many years ago, the mean of research we do was going to the library to look for journals, periodicals, publications, and books. Nowadays, whatever information we want, we can have it at our fingertip, accessing the information via our laptops, tablets, or even smartphones.

In recent months, one of my little cousin was trying to search for a good college to attend, so how did she go around it? She went online and Google of course. Because I am involved in the website design and development industry, so I was tasked to help her to research for colleges and universities in Malaysia. After spending months on browsing, I am utterly disappointed with the quality of the education institute websites in Malaysia.

Overall, I can summarize my overall impression on most of the education institute websites in Malaysia to the following points:

  • Design – Most of these website are still incorporating design language from the 90′s and most of the design are corporate look.
  • Navigation – I can’t tell you how many times I was lost in trying to find the relevant information. A lot of these websites do not have a clear navigation and content structure.
  • Redundancy – Only some of the website has the tuition fee published, and almost all of them have it in PDF format. Why can’t we have it on the same page and instead forced to open new pages all the time?
  • Show me the money! – Pardon the “Jerry Maguire” quote. I can’t find the tuition fee on most of these websites, or the information is hidden deep inside some fourth-level pages! Most of these websites encourage me to call, write in, or go to the campus to find out. Why can’t I have the information at my fingertip?

(To give you a better idea, I have prepared a list of the university / college websites that I had browsed through at the bottom of this post. I believe this is not the complete list of all the universities / colleges available in Malaysia. If I have missed out on any, please feel free to drop a line on the comment to let me know.)


Tips & Guide

We want to provide information on how to make your website more user-friendly, beautiful, and can capture your audience to convert them to your customers (in this case, students). If you are coming from education institute and are looking for tips on how to make your education institute website looks better, you have come to the right place!

Know Your Target

Do you know who comes to your website? Do you know your target market? Is your website design language targeting these demographic?

According to our informal and unofficial statistic, most of the people who will visit education institute websites are students who are looking to further their studies. These young students are the one who will do their research online about each and every education institution available to them and do their comparison, after which they will showcase their research to their parents.

Unfortunately, Malaysia education institute website normally has a corporate look which will not be appealing to the young. If you have already have a website, you can get your students to rate your website so you will understand what the young think of your website.

Simplicity

I can’t tell you how many times I go to a site which I have never seen before, and literally cannot find the information I am looking for.

Include a simple, intuitive navigation bar so your visitors can get around your site easily and find the information they need quickly.

What’s it like to Board?

Do you have a lot of students from overseas or out-of-state? These young people have never lived away from home and they would want to know what boarding school life is really like. So, post several student essays on that aspect of school life. Disclose the school area and about the facilities, such as public transportation, accommodation availability and activities. Prospective parents will like that feature too. Show lots of photos of dorm rooms, dining halls, bath rooms and so on.

Where Do Your Graduates Go?

It’s a question parents zero in on and important to the students. Tell them. It helps them and consultants determine the best fit for a child. A page with a list of the colleges and universities to which your most recent graduates matriculated is always a powerful marketing tool.

What Does It Cost?

If your cost is $10,000 per semester, why hide that fact? Set out the cost of attending your school in detail so that prospective clients know in advance what kind of a commitment they are getting into. If you have financial aid, promote it and encourage parents to apply for the financial aid. You should have a page to explain how that works in plain language.

Promotions

Do you have early-bird discount? Do you have certain discount under certain circumstances? If you do, flaunt it and promote it, so that can prompt the parents and students to enroll as early as possible to get these special discounts.

Sports

Lay out your athletics program clearly. Show the various levels of proficiency. Highlight the coaching and achievements.

Photo galleries of the various teams in action will tell your story over and over again.

Clubs

You are proud of the wide variety of clubs and activities which your school offers. List and explain them clearly. The depth and breadth of this side of your school’s life reveals much about the community.

Make It Load Fast!

Your readers want to point and click, not point and wait. Eliminating slow loading graphics or fancy flash pages makes your school’s site much more accessible and appealing. Spare them the school song as well. Make any audio an optional extra.

Responsive

Let me quote Wikipedia for the definition of Responsive Website.

Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

So is your website responsive? Is it smartphone friendly? Do people have to zoom, pan, and keep on scrolling to read a line of text?

Keep it fresh

Keep your site fresh and up to date. Nothing looks more stale than the sports scores from five semesters ago.


Awards

Now is the time to pick the winners of more significant education institute website.

Below is the list of the websites that we think worth mentioning. We have looked at the structure, the content of the websites, the navigation, the information available, and after a long time, we have came up with a list of winners.

(note: Apologies as we are not officially giving out any awards.)


INTI International Colleges & Universities

INTI International College & Universities website screenshot

INTI International College & Universities website screenshot

The Good:
- Clean design with good typography
- Online application is a bliss to use
- Good information on Scholarship and Financial Aid.
- Information on living on campus
- Detailed tuition fee information

The Bad:
- The tuition fee information is hidden and hard to find
- Some inconsistency in design. Some pages have alignment issues and certain section looks broken
- For the Accommodation under Live on Campus, there’s no pictures or picture gallery for the students or parents to know the living condition

view website


HELP University

HELP University website snapshot

HELP University website screenshot

The Good:
- Clean design
- Extra information on living in Kuala Lumpur
- Campus accommodation with pictures gallery

The Bad:
-Applications are all in PDF download
- No information on tuition fee.
- Most information require write in, call in, or visit to campus.

view website


International Islamic University Malaysia

International Islamic University Malaysia website screen shot

International Islamic University Malaysia website screen shot

The Good:
- Clean website design with easy to use navigation
- Online Registration Form
- Extra resources on living, studying, and activities at IIUM
- Tuition fee structure

The Bad:
- Design Inconsistency – Online Registration page design is different.
- The Financial Aid & Scholarship page has external links and not very informative.
- The tuition fee is hidden at the bottom of page and opens up external PDF file.
view website


UCSI University

UCSI University website screen shot

UCSI University website screen shot

The Good:
- Straight forward navigation
- Tuition fee is published
- Life at UCSI – providing information for international and out-of-state students
- Detail information on Scholarships & Financial Aids.

The Bad:
- Fee in PDF format
- Design is slightly dated and a bit too corporate like

view website


University Tun Abdul Razak

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak website screen shot

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak website screen shot

The Good:
- Easy navigation
- Online application form
- Online payment options
- Good information on Financial Aid & Scholarships
- Clean and youthful design (first half of landing page)

The Bad:
- Busy and messy look (bottom half of landing page)
- The online application form page design is inconsistent than overall design
- No tuition fee structure

view website


Best Education Institution Website – Mobile version:

20130328-070657.jpg

The Best College Website in Malaysia – Responsive Inti College Website

The usage of mobile browsing (inclusive of smartphones and tablet) has increased over the years, and mobile browsing traffic is pegged to surpass computer browsing by 2015. Surprisingly most of these education institute website has not incorporated responsive design. In fact, when I browse these education institute websites using my iPhone, what they do is doing a redirect to a mobile site (normally its m.domain.edu.my), which is not the optimum way of doing it.

After browsing through most of these education institute website on my iPhone, I found that the Inti International Universities & Colleges website is the most pleasant to view on the phone.

List of Colleges / Universities

Below is the list of university and colleges websites I have browsed through and tried to research. If I have missed out any, please feel free to leave a comment.

Remarks
Please note that the list of best education institution website is based on our scoring matrix. Kindly leave us a comment / message if you think we have missed out any education institution website that deserves a mention.


Need more information?

If you are running an education institute website and are looking for methods to improve your website, enhance the user experience and to revamp your website, please feel free to contact us.

Disclaimer:
Zymora Technologies has no association to any of the websites or education institution mentioned above. This post is strictly for expressing our opinions on the design, content structure, navigation and features of these websites.

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