Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tailoring the online experience for everyone

Everyone is unique. At the recent Conference for Nonprofits sponsored by Blackbaud Inc., Christy Lowell, school solutions interest specialist at Blackbaud, illustrated how there can be a wide divergence of interest even among a group that would appear to have much in common.

Further, she demonstrated how a Web site can cater to each unique constituent. Using the example of a college, Lowell showed that:

  • Prospects/applicants (potential students) want:An eye-catching home page that will make them read further about the school; to see potential friends and activities; to read "day in the life' stories and blogs.
  • Applicant parents want:Virtual tours of the school; easy navigation to find information; one-stop shopping.
  • You want parents to see:An easy search for information; eventual application to the school; slick marketing; reduction in paperwork, new dollars coming in.
  • Current students want:A one-stop shop for information and an ability to crate their own community.
  • You want students to:Find information easily and quickly; view grades and assignments; use the school email system; come back to the site long after graduation.
  • Faculty want:Teacher pages; seamless sign-on to grade books; directories.
  • You want faculty to:Use the self-service tools to reduce administrative work; send emails to students; update teacher pages.
  • Alumni want:Reconnection; a sense of pride; a job board.
  • You want alumni to see:Information and images that make them want to re-engage with the school.

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