What colleges should consider when connecting with students online

Jakob Nielsen, principal of the research firm Nielsen Norman Group, commenting on his group’s report, which says organizations misunderstand how students use the Web:

“While it’s no surprise that organizations targeting college students try to reach them on the Web, they’re mistaken if they think the best path is through social networking sites. Sites like Facebook are simply not the first place that college students think to visit to get information about organizations.”

Some main points it raises:

  • Students like technology, but are not technical. They don’t want to work too hard to figure out how to do something.
  • Students are unimpressed by fancy design. They appreciate multimedia on certain sites like YouTube, but they don’t want it at all times on all sites.
  • Students immediately flee a Web site when confronted with a page full of dense text, not even bothering to read the first sentence.

Read the full story here. (Though the actual report costs $128, but you can get the executive summary here.)