Web ecology: Information needs of different user groups in the context of a community college website

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Abstract

College websites play an increasingly important role in the lives of students, faculty, and parents providing them with necessary information and communication opportunities. A number of researchers have studied the effectiveness of college websites, however, most of these studies focused on the needs of students. There is a research gap in understanding the information needs of multiple audiences of college websites.

This paper presents the preliminary findings of the study on information needs of multiple user groups of a community college website: traditional students, non-traditional students, employees, parents, and prospective students. The preliminary analysis of data shows that in general, community college website users need course-related information, information about the college, financial information, contact information, admission and career-related information pertaining to the college. On the other hand, each group of users has distinct information needs that should be taken into account in the architecture, design, and content of community college websites to make them more effective.

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