An interesting university web presence

Lorcan 1 min read

iSoton is an interesting web presence from the University of Southampton. I wonder how well it is being received and used.
There are six panels. One displays a (short) list of university podcasts; another displays standard virtual tour stuff.
The other four are more interesting. One displays the University’s wikipedia entry. One displays photos from Flickr (I am not sure how they are being selected: is it more than the ‘university of southampton’ tag?). One displays videos from Youtube (again, I am not sure if these are any videos which show up on a ‘university of southampton’ search or if some other selection criteria apply).
And finally, one displays a tag cloud which links through to underlying pages of links to University of Southampton pages. So, for example, the jobs tag links through to a page of links about University policies, amenities and so on that might be of interest to somebody looking for a job. In this case, there is more active management of the collection by the user ‘Southampton‘.
I liked what I assume to be the intent here (there are no links to explanatory material). Although, this seems like a sketch for what one might do, rather than the fully worked through presence. For example, why not display the full tag cloud which gives richer access to the Southampton pages? What would the best approach be to showcasing research and learning outputs?
The site is designed by Precedent, “specialists in strategic thinking, digital communications and brand communications”. A moment with Google revealed:

James Soutar, a senior branding and communications consultant at Precedent, said the web would be “the principal battlefield” in the competition for students. Information on consumer and social networking sites, such as Facebook, could become as influential as that on universities’ own websites, he added. [Times Higher Education – Post-92 websites fail on the basics]

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