I am curious to know if anyone has conducted research to explore issues
around the use of Common Look and Feel (CLF) design templates in the
In particular, I am wondering if any work has been done to consider the
effect a CLF has on the user’s perception of how an organization’s
departments/units are inter-related, and to what extent their perception
of the connectedness on the web translates to their understanding of how
the departments/units are actually connected in terms of organizational
infrastructure in reality.
As an example, several large universities are adopting policies
requiring all university-affiliated websites to adopt particular CLF
elements (e.g. a common header and navigation scheme). Many of these
websites, however, are from departments and units that for all intents
and purposes function independently from one another – the only
commonality in reality being their presence under the larger
infrastructure of the university. The result can be that two (in reality
many more) sites share a “look and feel”, but are in fact completely
separate entities when it comes to the organization of their actual
I suspect that some users may be confused by the use of CLF and be led
to the false perception that because two sites look and feel the same,
they must be operated by the same people and hence represent a single
entity – when in reality it is more likely that the two
departments/units are in fact completely independent of one another with
the exception of sharing the “common look and feel” of their websites.
Any thoughts? Are there any online references/resources that touch on
Thanks in advance.
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