Letter to the Editor: Northeastern’s websites need makeovers

I like to keep things simple. That’s why I like Macs ‘- they’re cleanly designed and remarkably intuitive; nothing superfluous. And I like to keep the things on my Mac simple too. My bookmarks in Safari are limited to only the most necessary websites, and my homepage is Google ‘- a blank white page with the search engine’s name and a text field. Couldn’t be simpler.
It’s too bad every website isn’t designed so cleanly. Take, for instance, Northeastern’s homepage. To begin, everything on the page is left-justified. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a graphic designer, but I know that when websites are centered, they look better. The human eye values symmetry ‘- just ask Galileo Galilei. There’s also too much red on the site. A whole two rectangles’ worth, which is about two rectangles too many. I realize it’s a school color, but it’s abrasive, and it makes reading text unpleasant. Also, the generic file photos of the city and students circa 1996 are getting tired. It can’t cost that much to hire a photographer for one day for some edgier photos, I think.
Aesthetics aside, the organization of the site is abhorrent. There are at least 236 steps to finding a major’s site, and almost the entire homepage is geared toward prospective students. Yes, I realize that’s its purpose, but I’d appreciate a little more consideration for current students. Perhaps a more easily navigable list of department homepages and a registrar site that does”t look like a thicket of text could be in order. Also, why can’t I find that charming little sustainability@Northeastern website anymore?
Overall, the site is sufficient, yes, but something more thoughtful would be, well, just a little more thoughtful. Now, if you loyal Huntington News readers are saying to yourselves, ‘The News’ website isn’t any better,’ then I would say you are correct. The News’ website is, in my opinion, worse. But it must also be noted that the Huntington News has a much smaller budget and far less resources than Northeastern, so for now, College Publisher’s ersatz platform for a newspaper website is the best we’re going to do. We’re fully aware it needs some serious work.
To continue, I hate logging on to myNEU. First, that site crashes more than Lindsay Lohan on cocaine, and the design is some reject template from 1989. Abstract red brushstrokes? Enough already. And exactly who decided it would be a good idea to include six tabs, each with more information than the human brain can handle at once? And let’s face it, we could do without a lot of that information; I can’t say I’ve ever clicked on the Community or InfoChannels tabs and I’ve gotten along here just fine. And while I realize Northeastern didn’t design the site ‘- it’s a mysterious-sounding Luminis Platform ‘- it would be nice if someone up there in Administrator Land pointed out at the next staff meeting that the site sucks, and maybe it’s time to try something new.
If there is some underpaid webmaster currently chipping away at the homepage, then my apologies. You have quite an undertaking. If not, then at least there are a few good branches on an otherwise sad-looking tree:’ The School of Journalism’s new site is looking good, except for that slide show of generic photos that have nothing to do with journalism. The news@Northeastern site is also well done. As for the rest of it, well, I’m sure it won’t stay that way forever.

‘- Eric Allen is a middler journalism major and a member of The News staff.

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