The Elusive Moodle!

Had to share this funny usability story. Google released the top searches by city today

First on the list for Raleigh, NC was “moodle ncsu.” Topping the list for Charlotte, NC was “moodle nccu.”

Moodle is the recently adopted open source courseware system we (NCSU: North Carolina State University) use. When I use Moodle to interact with my classes, I need to go to http://moodle.wolfware.ncsu.edu/

This link is impossible to remember, as it fits none of the conventions used by other university systems. I always expect it to be:

  • www.moodle.ncsu.edu (nope)
  • www.ncsu.edu/moodle/ (nope)

For example, the library is www.lib.ncsu.edu. The student center is www.ncsu.edu/student_center/.

I laughed when I saw the search results because I personally search for “moodle ncsu” at least once a week! Obviously even frequent users cannot internalize the way it is linked. I suspect that if there were a redirect from www.moodle.ncsu.edu to http://moodle.wolfware.ncsu.edu/ this would no longer be the top google search in Raleigh, NC. I bet the same is true for NCCU in Charlotte.

4 thoughts on “The Elusive Moodle!”

  1. Beyond just the memory issue, I think maybe more important is the speed of completing the task. 15 keystrokes and a mouse click vs 25 keystrokes. I’ve seen a friend type “amazon” into google and click the first link rather than type the extra .com.

    I wonder if the search rate is also higher because students are using public computers in labs, without bookmarked URLs.

  2. Just wanted to note I found this entry by googling “moodle ncsu” — and I find it interesting how many city searches are topped by terms associated with universities.

  3. Too funny! And yes, it does seem to indicate a lot of internet use by people at universities… Or maybe being at a university just makes for more homogeneous searches, so they bubble up to the top of these lists.

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