Chapter 4. The University of Florida's


A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

 --Douglas Adams

The University of Florida (UF) is among the world's most academically diverse public universities with fields of study across 16 colleges. UF, which traces its roots to the East Florida Seminary established in 1853, has a long history of established programs in international education, research, and service, with extension offices in all 67 Florida counties.

UF's student body has over 50,000 students and is the second largest university in the U.S. The University of Florida's Web presence has somewhat mirrored the trends you would see when looking at the Web as a whole. Shifts in the foci of Web developers (and the developers of the browsers in which they are viewed) can be seen in microcosm through the UF Web site.

In this chapter, you'll explore some of the decisions UF made with regard to its Web presence and take a look at the techniques used to carry them out.

Looking Back at UF's First Web Site

UF posted a home page in 1995 that was typical of sites of the time. Well-built pages were generally structural in nature and light on aesthetics. The 1995 page, in fact, was rather utilitarian with links to much of the same information one would find on the current UF site (see Figure 4-1).

Figure 4.1. The University of Florida home page launched in 1995.

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