Third Wave Digital Seeks Student Opinions, Completes survey on Prospective Students Tastes and Preferences

Posted on Jul 11, 2014

Macon, Ga – July 11, 2014 In a never-ending quest to provide the most cutting edge and effective websites  to their clients, Third Wave embarked on a comprehensive survey of current  Higher Education students to better understand their target demographic.  The tastes and preferences of today’s youth is ever-changing, and taking the time to step back and listen is essential to creating higher EDU website designs that not only appeal to students entering college but entice them to apply.

One of the most important goals of the survey was to test the theory of “mobile first”; we found that 69 percent of students still access the internet using desktop or laptop computers while searching for prospective colleges and universities.  In further pursuit of hard data to back up our findings, we did an audit of the analytics for one year of eight college websites. We were pleasantly surprised to see that our survey findings were validated. An average of 70 percent of users still access university websites from desktop computers, we saw percentages as high as 82 percent and as low as 60. The numbers for mobile are rising, but have still yet to eclipse the freight train that is the comfort and ease of use of a keyboard.

Third Wave’s clients have always known the value of higher education admissions websites as marketing tools, and 76 percent of the students surveyed agreed that that a university’s website influenced their decision to attend.  We tend to believe that today’s students favor bells and whistles over function, our survey found that assumption to be false. The students surveyed tended to choose clean and simple college and university website designs over ones with features that were less familiar to them like video backgrounds and long scrolls. To that end, 86 percent choose ease of navigation and intuitive information architecture of high importance.

Every higher education web developer knows that content is king, but what content rules supreme for college students? Upon questioning, the students surveyed had distinct opinions about the variety of subjects displayed. Students want the imagery and media to present a well-rounded picture of life at that university with images of classroom experiences, dorm life, service opportunities and athletics.   Third Wave was pleased to see that these preferences were in line with the paradigm that we have always followed. Students overwhelmingly voiced the importance of virtual student tours, profile and opinions of current students, as well as descriptions of academic programs offered.

Social Media is a large part of the lives of all college students, it’s how they share experiences, connect with people they meet, and stay in touch with friends.  However the social media landscape is a varied and blossoming terrain, one can see how it may difficult for higher education institutions to know which outlets will be most effective to use to connect with students. Out of the student’s surveyed an outstanding 86 percent chose Facebook as the social media outlet that was most effective when making a decision to attend a university. Falling behind with only 17 percent was YouTube. 

Third Wave President, Bart Campione expounded on the importance of reaching out to our target market, “Adding qualitative data to Third Wave’s methodology of web design for Higher Education Institutions is yet another step we have taken in order to provide our clients with the highest quality services when it comes to designing, developing and supporting an effective web presence for any college or university. This intensive study will give us insight into the mind of the college bound student and will allow us to use that knowledge to create unique communications solutions for those engaged in marketing to this coveted target audience.”

About Third Wave Digital
Third Wave Digital is a comprehensive web design firm specializing in online communications solutions for higher education institutions. We provide innovative website design & development, content management system development & support and complete web hosting services customized to fit your college or university's website redesign goals.

Third Wave Digital is headquartered in Macon, Georgia with satellite offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Orlando, Florida. For more information about Third Wave, call 888-578-7865, click ,, or e-mail to find out how our services can increase your college or university enrollment and engage students.

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