How do you see academia benefiting from UX? Do you perceive any changes in near future? Why?
Many academic websites are extremely cumbersome, with lean budgets for design, and a high ratio of users. It is important that users are able to efficiently find and use applications for educational purposes, registration, activities (sports, clubs, band, career fairs), and to further promote the institution as a leader in their field.
Any company or organization with an online presence may have that online presence be their first impression to potential backers, future students, other institutions, grant foundations and leading organizations.
If a user has issues signing up for classes or registering because of poor UX, other resources may be wasted trying to help that student locate registration or the student may not believe in the quality of a program. For example, if a web design company promotes their services on a 2-3 page table website that is not responsive and has broken code that only works well on the IE7 browser, how confident would you be in giving them your business? This is an extreme example, but the same can be said for a site that is not user friendly or accessibility friendly. Think of how much more Harvard Review or Carnegie Mellon’s published articles and podcasts are promoted and easy to find than colleges like DMACC or the University of Phoenix. Is this because they are IVY League schools or because the school is also better at promoting important materials, simplifying usability, and optimizing content?
UX, with the right implementation, will give academia a better foot forward for education, branding, partnerships, accessibility, and search engine optimization.