After alumni and the efforts of the admissions office, the Williams website is perhaps our best marketing tool in attracting intelligent, talented, and motivated students to join our community in the Purple Valley. Unfortunately a considerable subset of these students most likely haven’t heard of Williams –  we only have so many alumni – far fewer than, say, Harvard – and our admissions officers can only visit so many high schools. For these students the Williams website becomes a powerful tool of discovery – it’s the first impression we give to show off what makes the College so special. How does it do? Part 1 of x.

Let’s start with www.williams.edu, the home page:

Screenshot (58)_LI

 

1) For me the best parts of my time at Williams were the close relationships I had with professors, the research I did with them, the small and fascinating classes, tutorials, and the small sized community from which I’ve made many meaningful friendships. These are nowhere to be found on our home page (why?), and the biggest posts – attracting the most clicks – do not even allude to them. The closest one that comes to this is the post on Winter Study, under the unfortunate header “From the Archives”. What prospective student would go to the “Archives” when seeing what Williams is about today?

2) Stunningly, not a single professor is featured or even mentioned on the home page.

3) The boxed links on the lower right hand corner – meant to standout against the white background to attract attention – only cover “Admissions & Aid”, “Campaign for Williams”, “Varsity Sports”, and “Arts at Williams”. Naturally all are important, but where is “Academics”? Ctrl+F and typing “academics” yields 0 results. I would have to click “Menu” in the upper right hand corner – which has too many links – to find it.

4) I don’t know if this is just me, but it seems odd that under “Innovation” is a photo of a typewriter featuring a month were Williams students used one. Is this really the best example of innovation at Williams? What about our upcoming Science Center? Or groundbreaking research by professors and students?

5) The news that a Williams senior won the Watson Fellowship is relegated to the bottom of the landing page – why? Don’t we want to boast this?

6) The Featured Events section, also relegated to the bottom right, leaves much to be desired in terms of diversity of what’s actually featured. The three right now all lean politically, but in the events.williams.edu page, there are math talks by students, sports games, and new acquisitions by the Sawyer and Schow libraries. Why don’t we feature these too? For that matter, who decides what events to feature…?

7) The most interesting part of the home page is at the bottom, only seen after scrolling down, under the banner “Williams Life” (for that matter, why is the font of these banners so small?). There are so many stunning photos highlighting Williams – professors working with students, our dining staff, the beautiful location – but all, for some reason, are without any caption and link to nothing else of relevance in the website. A prospective student might get excited at seeing a professor and a student working in a lab, but upon clicking it would find a dead end – no caption, no link as to what they might be doing. Are they just posing for the camera? Also and oddly enough, the photo featuring our new President has no name attached to it. What would a prospective student make of that, and our home page in general?

What do readers think of our website?

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email