The University of Lagos has embarked on upgrading the institution’s website, this is a welcome development, however we wish to express our dissatisfaction on what has been termed “a lazy developer’s handwork which has become a contempt to UNILAG image and needs to be corrected as soon as possible”.
In this report, the Head: I.T. Team of The Press Club – Adedayo Moshood, reveals the incongruity of the new website – how the developer used a free version of a WordPress theme instead of building a unique website and many ways the previous website which was supposed to be improved upon is better than the new one. Since the website of the institution is a contact to the world, we hope that this incongruity will be corrected, and a befitting website will be developed for our dear University.
When I got the information about the upgrade of the Official Website of the University of Lagos, I was eager to check the website expecting to see something out of the usual. On getting to the website hosted at http://new.unilag.edu.ng, my eagerness was met with extreme disappointment.
A cursory look at the website shows that the website is not custom made for the University but one of the generic WordPress themes around was used. It was also observed that the developer used a plugin to disable action such as “right click”, “copy”, “highlight”, etc.
An in-depth review of the new website reveals that the developer used a free version of a WordPress Theme named “Avada – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme v.3.9.2” downloaded from “http://www.jartheme.com/wordpress/themeforest/42-avada”. A theme whose Regular License can be obtained for the sum of $60 from ThemeFusion, the original author of the theme. A school as UNILAG should develop a custom and unique website of her own which will be a model to others not downloading a template that can be used by many.
OLD WEBSITE VS NEW WEBSITE
Although there are different angles to compare the two websites but in other to keep this concise and not too technical, I would base my comparison on just the Homepage and the Load Speed and Time of the two websites.
The previous website is much more user friendly than the new one except that the previous website is not optimized for mobile while the new one is. Take for instance, on my 1366×768 screen, which according to StatCounter is the most popular screen resolution on the web, the above-the-fold content of the previous website homepage includes the primary and most important sections of the website unlike the new website whose above-the-fold content includes the navigation and the banner only.
Without having to scroll down on the previous website, you can access The Banner; which hosts graphics of recent happenings on campus, The News & Announcements Section; which contains headlines of recent news and events as well as announcements, and the Sections which houses the Primary Quick Links such as; Prospective Students, Staff Login, Students Login and E-Learning System.
The homepage of the new website on the other hand, houses the banner; which hosts graphics of recent happenings on campus, followed by a section housing a set of secondary links followed by the Recent News Section; which contains headlines of recent news and events.
According to http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/unilag.edu.ng, the two most clicked links on UNILAG Website within the last one month are studentportal.unilag.edu.ng, which stands at 31.52% and mail.unilag.edu.ng, which stands at 31.27%.
LOAD SPEED AND TIME
Looking at this statistics https://gtmetrix.com/compare/AK0Hf9xi/UUjIfEi1 from GTMetrix, the Total Page size of the new Website is 4.77MB compared to the former website which is 1.13 MB. This means that on my 15MB data bonus from Etisalat for recharging N200 this week, I am able to visit just three (3) pages of the new website before I run out of Data, compared to the previous website which I can visit thirteen (13) pages on same data, ceteri paribus.
According to same statistics, the new website takes about 25.3 seconds to fully load while the previous takes just about 6.6 seconds to fully load.
It is a welcome development that the university is trying to upgrade her website to new website standards and also optimize it for mobile, the University, been the University of First Choice and The Nation’s Pride, which stands as the 134th most visited site in Nigeria, should:-
- Not settle for a Generic WordPress Theme which is quite demeaning to what we stand for. The previous website did not only attract awards to itself, it also attracted awards to the University. We should not jeopardize the benefits and pride a good website offers by settling for less.
- Do a thorough work on both the front end and the back end development of the website. The CITS should step up her game to make sure what happened to schools like UNILORIN and FUTA where their website was hacked is not given a chance here.
- Conduct a research to ascertain the most used sections of the website to determine what should remain on the Homepage and what should go.