Designing university websites
This study from Nielsen Norman Group assesses higher education websites in four countries including the UK. This is very relevant to us, and I would encourage anyone involved in the University website to have a read of this.
Why should universities care about usability? Aren’t students smart and computer savvy? Well, even though you want high-IQ applicants, prospective undergraduate students haven’t received the benefits of a college education yet and often have fairly poor research skills. While they know how to use computers, they are not always great at advanced strategies like query reformulation and they are often perplexed by insider language filled with terms and concepts that they haven’t encountered yet.
In any case, it’s an empirical fact derived from observing many prospective students using many university sites that these users are often frustrated or thwarted by the frequent usability problems on university sites.