The things to look out for when creating a good school website
A school website is the digital face of any educational institution. It is a vital platform through which parents, students, and other stakeholders can access valuable information about the school. Therefore, it is crucial that a school website provides a positive user experience and appeals to its target audience. In this article, we will look at some key elements that make a good school website.
1. User-Friendly Navigation
A good school website should provide clear navigation to users. Visitors should be able to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. Schools must ensure that their website has structure, with intuitive menus and an organised layout. An effective search bar can help visitors find the exact information they need with minimal hassle. When things are frustrating to find or use, visitors are more likely to just leave the site so it’s really important that you make things easy for them.
2. Mobile-Friendly Design
In today's world, a substantial percentage of internet users access websites on their mobile devices. Therefore, a school website must be optimized for mobile devices. This means that the website should be responsive, i.e., it should adjust its layout automatically to fit any screen size. Thus, users do not need to zoom in/out or scroll left/right to navigate through the website's content. Consideration into the elements available to a mobile user and how things work is integral to a good website.
3. Up-to-Date Information
A good school website must have up-to-date information that is relevant and useful to visitors. This includes information about admissions, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and faculty members. The website should also have a section dedicated to news and events, which keeps visitors informed about the school's latest developments.
4. Visual Appeal
A school website should be visually appealing and engaging to its visitors. The website's aesthetic should reflect the school's brand identity. The use of high-quality images and videos can help to create an emotional connection with visitors and provide a realistic view of the school environment. And just because it’s online it doesn’t mean it should be without personality. Intrigue and interest can encourage visitors to take the next steps in the admissions process.
5. Contact Information
Sounds obvious but the school website must provide contact information that is easy to find and prominently displayed! This includes the school's address, phone number, and email address. Additionally, the website should have a “Contact Us” section or form to allow visitors to submit inquiries or requests.
6. Multilingual Option
A good school website should cater to the needs of international students or students who speak other languages. This means that the website should have a multilingual option that allows visitors to access the website's content in their preferred language.
7. Social Media Integration
Social media integration is a vital component of any school website. It allows visitors to connect with the school through different social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This is particularly essential for younger audiences who rely heavily on social media platforms for information and communication.
8. Accessibility and Inclusivity
A school website should be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. It must meet the basic accessibility standards, such as providing alternative text for images, using appropriate colour contrast, and ensuring that the website is compatible with screen readers. Additionally, a good school website should also reflect the school's inclusivity and diversity values.
A good school website should provide visitors with a positive user experience and meet their informational needs. Importantly it should be unique to the school and the content that is wanting to be shown. Each school will have unique needs, so it is imperative that the menu structure content and user experience is unique and built specifically for the schools’ requirements. Don’t try and push a square peg into a round hole with an off the shelf template! A well-designed school website can help schools to attract prospective parents, engage with the community, and present a professional image to the world. It is crucial for schools to take the time and effort to design and maintain an effective website that represents their brand and values.
At Mercer Design we have over 25 years’ experience in the design for education sector, designing and building beautiful, functional websites for schools all across the UK and beyond.
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