Web-based careers information
The web is proving an ideal medium for the delivery of careers information, instantly updatable at relatively little cost and enabling all sorts of interactive content to attract young people. However there are pitfalls:
- Updating: Some careers websites are at the cutting edge of technology and set up at significant cost. The temptation is therefore to see them as a ‘job done’, despite the fact that there may be changes to the qualification system or other developments that put them out of date very quickly. It is therefore important that designers are asked to set up systems which enable amendments to be made, preferably by people without specialist technical knowledge.
- Accessibility: for users with disabilities, ie hearing problems (if uploading podcasts) or visual impairment.
- Language usage: bearing in mind that for many users, English will be their second language.
- Age appropriateness: Many professional qualifying bodies have sites attuned to the age of their entrants, often postgraduate. However, school age students may visit the site at a crucial time in their decision making and it is well worth developing a page aimed at this age group, assuming no prior knowledge of qualifying routes or jargon. Any major development such as a new qualifying route to a profession should be clearly described, not just a link to ‘changes’ which may very easily be missed by the user.
- Design: Short, easily printed pages are preferable. All text should ideally be on view on screen without need to scroll down. Links can lead to further information. While images can liven up a page, a printable version without images is useful to speed up print queues and save costs in schools and libraries.
- Links: Where possible make links to specific pages within a website but in that case the link will need to be monitored (which ideally should be routine anyway). Long URLs are not to be recommended as they change frequently.
- Circularity: Websites often use links to other sites in preference to providing duplicate information. This is perfectly valid but take care when sending users to an external link that the other site doesn’t just send them straight back to your site without actually providing the information!