Every school needs a website…
A school might not be a business, but it still has ‘customers’ – the parents and the kids – so it still needs a website. And more than that, it needs a multi-functional website that can act as an information hub for teachers, parents and pupils, as well as showcasing the school’s facilities to potential attendees and acting as a link between the school and the community at large. In other words, your site has to appeal to a broad audience who’ll visit it for a variety of reasons. That’s no small ask, so here are our tips for school website success.
School website design – the fundamentals
The essential thing for your school website is that it fulfils the expectations of all your likely users. This means it needs to be visually clear and, even more importantly, it needs to work for each different function. Visitors need to be effectively guided to the information they’re seeking on the first page, while behind the scenes it needs to be easy for your staff to manage and update.
This means your home page design is critical, and keeping it clean and simple is the first thing you need to take on board. One reason why so many school websites don’t look that good is because too much is crammed onto the home page – multiple pictures, blocks of text, menus and navigation – and in the end it’s all too much. The temptation to do this is understandable, but you won’t be doing yourself any favours. Instead, use it as a springboard, with a range of quick, clear links to the most sought-after information. These might include:
- about the school
- the school calendar
- pupil portal
Add a sliding gallery of images to showcase what your school has to offer, and your homepage should be complete.
When it comes to design, simplicity is king, especially as people are as likely to be looking at your website on their smartphone as on their computer. For this reason, responsive design is crucial, so your users get the best experience no matter what device they’re using. You’ll also need to include accessibility measures to ensure that your information is available to all users, including those with visual impairments and other disabilities.
Usability means intuitive navigation – don’t overload your users with obscure links, but plan your levels of navigation and sub-navigation carefully, to guide them easily to where they want to go.
What you need to include
Your website will most likely become the main source of information about your school for pupils, parents, teachers, potential pupils and the wider community. This means there’ll be a lot of content on the site, much of which will need to be regularly updated. If you’re not quite sure what to include, check out the list below:
- the school calendar – it’s critical that this is kept up to date and easy to find
- contact information – details of who to contact in a variety of circumstances
- teacher and subject pages – an important information resource for students and their parents
- class pages and homework boards – these should require pupils to sign in through the student portal
- school news – keep this up to date with sports results and news of student projects and achievements
- parent resources – including syllabus information, public exam information, school rules and behavioural expectations
- alumni section – make it easy for ex pupils to stay in touch with your school
- admissions – information on the admissions procedure and deadlines
If you need advice on designing your school website, or would like Inside Creative to design and/or host your site, get in touch with us via the contact page on our website.