4 Higher Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2016

As 2016 unravels, higher ed tech trends will evolve with the seasons. In 2015, the news was filled with cyber security breaches and identity-compromising mistakes in the corporate world, and the security advancements that protect retailers and financiers will also benefit colleges and universities who take advantage of the technology.

Other tech trends will involve user experiences, web design evolution, and additional changes to the industry. Here are 4 higher education tech trends we think will be big in 2016.

1. Big Data Will Become Critical to Enhancing Security

Schools are already leveraging big data to analyze enrollment statistics, predict student behavior, and manage applications. In 2016, Jeff Goldman of eSecurity Planet predicts that big data will continue to gain prominence in the industry and that schools can, in fact, use it to improve their security.

According to Goldman, many businesses (and universities) are already collecting the data, but they will learn to use it for security monitoring and predictive analysis purposes. The copious amounts of data that schools collect from their own websites might prove instrumental in keeping security threats at bay.

2. Micro Experiences Will Help Universities Target Specific Students

Writing for IT World, software engineer Matthew Mombrea predicts that micro sites will become far more prevalent from 2016 to 2017. A micro site is a small subset of an overall website (often limited to one page) that serves as a complete experience unto itself. Mombrea also foresees the evolution of micro experiences — interactions with a website that evolve as the user participates.

Micro experiences will not only impact just school website design, but they might also extend to mobile applications and other mediums. The idea is to funnel traffic toward a specific point or purpose and to make each interaction unique.

Tool: University Admissions Funnel & Marketing Calculator

3. Marketing Automation Will Become More Sophisticated

As 2016 unfolds, look for software and web design engineers to find new ways to automate the marketing process on school websites. Automated marketing frees up valuable time for your team to focus on tasks that a machine can’t handle.

This is extremely important in the context of relationship marketing. Schools must make increasingly personal connections with prospective students, which means taking more time to learn user behavior and analyze predictive data. Automating as much of this process as possible will allow your school’s website to work harder for your college or university.

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4. Website Design Will Incorporate Fewer Pages

Amanda Tower of Converge predicts that website design will lean more toward scrolling instead of clicking in 2016. Removing navigation buttons and allowing students to scroll through your website without impediment could reduce bounce rates and increase engagement.

This largely stems from the rise in mobile device usage. Students who research schools on their smartphones don’t have time to click 50 buttons before they find the page they need. If they can simply scroll, they’ll be more likely to stick with the content — and they might see something they like, but didn’t expect.

It’s almost impossible to know exactly what 2016 holds in store for higher ed tech. However, following the trends can help you keep your school on the cutting edge of tech.