3 Important Considerations About Interactive Maps From The E-Expecations 2011 Study

Nearly half of all students who visit a university’s website will explore an interactive map. More importantly, 30 percent of students and 40 percent of parents who view the map said the maps improved their feelings about a school. And not one student reported feeling worse about a school after exploring a map.

This important finding from the recent 2011 E-Expectations Report sponsored by Noel-Levitz and the National Research Center for College and University Admissions advises universities to add interactive maps as a quick, visual way to give visitors a feel for a university campus. These maps should engage students in the campus, be user friendly and incorporate high quality video.

A Virtual Tour

Out of the students who used a school’s interactive map, 54 percent used the map to explore a campus and get a feel for what the campus looks like and can offer. This finding suggests interactive campus maps should highlight key features of the university that students would find interesting. Students also use the map to figure out the layout of the campus and how to get around.

With so many students and parents reporting a positive experience with interactive maps, it makes sense to continue to improve this feature and increase the numbers of students accessing the maps.

Test the Map

Okay, so prospective students want interactive maps. Upload and done. But, it’s not enough to place a map onto a website and then walk away, figuring the content will do just fine on its own. One out of five students surveyed said they had removed a school from consideration because of a bad web experience. That number may seem small, but 20 percent represents a significant number of students walking away from a school for something as simple as a bad online experience. The report suggests giving a site a test drive for usability before any major redevelopment or at least once a year.

The Future is Video

Video has become an important component of the online experience and prospective students and parents regularly watch videos of colleges. More than half of students surveyed said they had watched videos on a college website, and 27 percent had visited a school’s YouTube or other video site to access video content. Students mostly watched videos about student life with parents watching more content about academic programs.

Adding video to an interactive map can achieve several goals of the report at once. Video meets the needs of students using maps to explore campus features, can dramatically improve a student’s online experience with a school, and provides students with online content they expect to see and want to access.

Prospective students will visit a college website. That’s a given. Schools must make the online experience as enjoyable and easy as possible for prospective students from this digital generation. Adding interactive maps, ensuring usability and adding engaging videos can go a long way toward driving up the number of students reporting positively on a website experience and helping a student decide to attend a school.

You can download your own copy of the 2011 E-Expectations Report here.

free interactive map kit New Report: 58% of Students Value a Virtual Tour On A College WebsiteDownload our Interactive Campus Map Kit and learn exactly how nuCloud can help your recruitment efforts. We are here to help.

 

Photo credit: King Cloud by Akakumo

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