So, you've decided to embark on a new website project for your school and ahead of the design brief meeting you might be putting together an inspiration list of how you want your new site? With 14 years' experience in designing and developing websites for the education sector, we know there are certain elements that can affect user experience and with your main objective to entice prospective parents and to aid communication with current parents - we've put together some do's and don'ts help you get the most out of your website:
1. Make sure that your menu is not too cluttered.
A menu should be easy to use and let parents easily find the information they are looking for in one or two clicks. There's nothing worse than a menu that is confusing and hard to navigate around. When thinking about your site map, put yourself in a prospective parents shoes - where is best for each page to sit?
2. Make sure you have an about us page.
Choosing a school for your child is a big decision and parents will do a lot of research to ensure that they get the right information on a school. However, it often comes down to a 'gut feeling' which is led by the character and ethos of the school so creating an About Us page, allows parents to get to know you and make an emotional connection.
3. Make sure your contact details are clear.
A school website should aid communication between yourselves and parents so it is really important that your school contact details are clear and easy to find on your website. We'd always recommend having the contact details on the footer of every page, as well as on a separate contact page so parents can get in touch with the school quickly and easily.
4. Use big bold images.
Your school website needs to look appealing to prospective parents and big, bold images of children learning and enjoying their experience at school will provide a window in to life at school and will help parents get an insight. A professional website with lots of beautiful, friendly images will stand out to parents.
5. Make your website mobile friendly.
This comes as standard with our websites, but if you're looking at other providers - make sure a responsive website is part of the package! With most people using their phones to browse the internet as they are often the closest device to hand, you need to make sure that your school website looks great on mobile devices. If a parent struggles to use your website because it is harder to use on a phone than the other school down the road (who have optimised their website for phones), they will already have a preconceived conception that the other school is more forward thinking!
Here are some things to avoid:
1. Bad quality photos.
Make sure that all your images are of good quality. Although it may be cheaper to use the photos Mrs Smith took on sports day, bad images can be costly to your schools brand as they instantly lower the quality, look and feel of your website. Good school photography is definitely a worthwhile investment.
2. Unreadable text
You may have seen a font that looks really friendly, that you want to use throughout your website but just make sure that it's easy to read and it stands out on background images or colours - you need to make it as easy as possible for parents to get the information they require!
3. Navigation menus that are too complicated to use.
It can be difficult to get a perfect balance between UX and Design - you want your website to look sleek and modern but you also need to make sure it is easy to use. Avoid navigation menus that are too complicated to use, even though they look nice! Links and buttons need to be big enough to click on small devices and spaced away from each other to avoid the user clicking on the wrong link by accident.
4. Spelling and grammar errors.
Your school website requires a lot of information so make sure that you read through your content and double check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors - a school website is a place where there should definitely not be any spelling or grammar mistakes.
At FSE Design, we will guide you through the design process and ensure that all of the points above are covered and ticked off! However, if you would like any advice on school website design, please call the team today on 01933 303520.