A certain alma mater of mine just launched a new website, and it immediately reminded me of this quote (for all the wrong reasons). You’ll remember Steve Krug as the author of the previously-blogged book Don’t Make Me Think. From Rocket Surgery Made Easy, his followup book about user testing, in the section discussing one of the most common problems he sees on websites, Krug writes:
When I look at most Home pages—overcrowded, no focus, in my face—I feel a little bit like the boy in The Sixth Sense, except that instead of “I see dead people,” the thought going through my head is “I see stakeholders.”
Rocket Surgery Made Easy, p124
If anything, this problem is more common than average for higher education websites, and it’s not uncommon on nonprofit websites either. Balancing the needs of the public, your clients/customers/users/members, donors, board, and staff is really hard. But that should never be an excuse to not make hard decisions about prioritizing content.
Focus! Your home page will be better for it.