People looking for information on Eastern Michigan University turn to one thing first: www.emich.edu, the university website. And boy, do they get an eyeful of the some of the worst EMU has to offer.
Take a trip through EMU’s website and you’ll notice how nearly every section has a different layout and every department is doing their own thing.
“Perhaps the most important element of user-centered design is consistency,” said an EMU Web Standards Guide from 2010. The only thing consistent here is the inconsistency.
Navigate further and at some point you’ll be presented with inaccurate and outdated information because the website has gone untouched for months or years, and that’s assuming you get any information at all and not “The page you are looking for on emich.edu was not found.”
In 2011, I discovered and reported a security hole that allowed anyone to access a student’s identification number and PIN, information that could have allowed a nefarious (or just plain bored) individual to compromise student, staff and faculty privacy.
To my knowledge, no one was ever told that anyone could have had access to their personal information and life went on. But how was it even possible in the first place, in an age where personally identifying information is supposedly well guarded? It was possible because a university web page was improperly coded.
More and more, web presence is becoming a factor in deciding the reputation and credibility of an organization. Our web presence isn’t up to scratch. I call upon the EMU Division of Information Technology to set, implement and enforce consistency and modern web standards throughout the university.
Sure, our current website “works,” but we have the means, the technology and the skill to do better and we must do better. It’s simply what the world expects of us.
Justin S. Johnson, EMU student