A school’s website is its public face to the world. It’s where parents and students go to check for news and events, where prospective students go for information, and where educators go to find resources. So, what makes a great school website?
First and foremost, school websites — whether they’re college websites, elementary schools, or some other educational institution — should be easy to use. Navigation should be intuitive, and users should be able to find what they’re looking for with ease.
Second, they should be informative. They should provide up-to-date information on school events, news, and announcements.
Finally, school websites should be engaging. With so much competition for attention online, a great school website will make use of multimedia content and creative design to stand out from the crowd.
By following these simple guidelines, you can create a school website design that’s user-friendly, informative, and engaging.
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Showcase of College and School Websites
When you’re designing a website, it’s important to keep your eye on the latest and greatest designs out there. After all, the world of web design is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s important to stay current. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a list of 25 school websites that are sure to inspire your next web design project.
From college websites and trade schools to art schools and even an ocean school (yes, you read that right), these school websites feature some of the best designs out there. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new color palette or layout inspiration, this collection of school websites will leave you with plenty of ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.
The Washington Market School is an early learning center in Lower Manhattan. The website is primarily designed for the prospective parents of children who would attend the school, with admissions information, their philosophy, and a description of a child’s typical day. A colorful palette and childlike illustrations of toys and a New York skyline are used to give the website the appropriate look and feel. A banner at the top of the site makes it easy for parents to find important news at a glance.
UChicago’s website opens with a short promotional video showcasing some of its achievements. The site’s navigation is extremely straightforward and easy to use. Potential students and current students will have no trouble finding what they need here. With its “We call Chicago home” section, this website does a good job of demonstrating what the school community life is all about. Upcoming events are also very easy to locate on this site.
The first thing you might see when you visit NoSciHigh’s website is a popup box letting you know registration is open. Popups are extremely effective for getting important news out to your site’s visitors. Aside from that, the site uses an image slider that showcases upcoming calendar events and school info. Navigation is easily found via a drop-down menu at the top of the page.
This beautifully-designed site features full-page images and a large navigation menu. As you hover over the name in the navigation, the background image changes. The site is loaded with information, but it’s very organized and easy to navigate. A mega menu can be accessed in the top right corner of the site to find anything from contact information to news to info for current students.
The New School is one university in New York City that houses seven different schools for design, liberal arts, performing arts, and more. Navigation is simple, with quick links easily found across the top of the home page. Current students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff can easily find exactly what they need. Those interested in attending or learning more about New School can watch video interviews and explore the site to learn all about school culture, campus, and community.
The William & Mary website opens with a clean layout that displays a large introductory video loop showcasing the school culture and tradition — historic buildings, students in a classroom, doing research, and cheering at a game. W&M is the 2nd oldest higher learning institution country, since 1693. And you immediately get the impression of history and tradition from the design of the website. A dark green and gold color scheme keeps with both the school colors and the site’s classic look and feel. Navigation is neatly tucked away and easy to access via the corner drop-down menu.
CIS is an independent school providing education to ex-pats in Russia and Uzbekistan. The site features a clean layout, easy to navigate via the menu in the top-left corner. The key feature is the image slider on the home page that calls out the school’s latest news and upcoming events with high-quality photography and large headlines. Prospective parents and students can easily find info about campuses and curricula by scrolling the home page. Current students and parents can find current news and school calendar via navigation.
A memorable and bold purple color scheme is the first thing you’ll notice when visiting NYU’s website. As you scroll down the page, the next thing you’ll see is links to featured articles and blog posts, giving visitors insight into the school community, campus resources, and school programs. Cool hover effects and animated images make the site a little more visually interesting to browse. The site also includes links to several of NYU’s social media feeds, which is right on target for college-aged students. NYU’s website would get an A+ for user experience.
We all know this prestigious school, but what is it about Yale’s website design that made it on our list? For one, they’ve added a great no-nonsense drop-down navigation menu with direct links for current students, faculty, staff, and alumni to find exactly what they need. That leaves the rest of the site to market the school to prospective students, publish the latest news and announcements, and for the calendar of events.
The key design feature that stands out on this site is the attention-grabbing header that features a huge text headline and loop video background images. This design immediately pulls you in to find out more. It also has a sticky navigation bar, which is such a small — but oh so helpful — favorite feature when it comes to the user experience. The orange color choice tells you everything is bigger, bolder, and brighter in Texas.
You’d expect a website for a design school to feature beautiful imagery and bright colors, and SCAD’s site does not disappoint. And there’s a bonus — when you refresh the page, a new background image appears. Navigation is simple enough via the bar at the top of the page, but the most important links are also called out with quick links just above the fold.
The IGS home page features a large, full-screen image slider that cycles through three different images and headlines. Navigation is easily found via a menu in the top right corner. One great feature on this site is the video virtual tour of the school located just below the fold. The inviting, brightly-colored photo collection and a black, white, and gold color scheme give this website a clean, professional, yet young and vibrant aesthetic. Parents and students can know exactly what to expect from the school after exploring the site.
Trinity University’s website features a massive navigation menu where you can find anything and everything you want to know about the school. Plus a secondary menu with direct information for current students, alumni, parents, visitors, and athletics. But, it looks nice and tidy, all tucked away behind a drop-down menu in the corner of the page. Large, full color, full-page images in a grid-style layout combined with a rich color scheme immerse the visitor in the culture of the school and the city.
The most impressive feature of Ocean School’s website has got to be the gorgeous, animated, water-themed imagery on the home page. You truly feel like you’re submerged in the sea! This is an online school for students aged 11-16, a great site for families who homeschool, and for educators to add it to their curriculum. The graphics and animations are right on target for the demographic, although anyone who is interested can register and enjoy the “immersive experiences.”
MBU offers several academic and seminary degree programs. The site offers easy navigation through the sticky nav bar at the top of the site. They’ve also added some quick links with a row of icons just below the header photo. Take notice of the really well-done “MBU by the Numbers” graphic, which scrolls through some interesting statistics about the school and its graduates. The blue and gold color scheme matches the school colors and gives a strong sense of school pride.
MGGS is a private girls’ school for early learning to year 12. The most compelling design feature is that the site opens with a full-screen streaming video loop showing students engaged in various school activities. Another impressive feature is the video interviews with actual enrolled students. Additionally, existing students, parents, and staff can log in to the school’s secure portal via a link on the home page.
Liberal arts school, Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota has a well-designed website with a massive navigation menu. If you’re looking for parent education, class schedules, school events, first-year experiences, tuition information, athletics, or dining services…it’s all there and then some in the menu choices. However, the richest feature of all is when you scroll down the home page, you can select your interests, and the site will populate the page with posts according to the topics you select.
This is a beautifully designed, dynamic site. And we’d expect nothing less from a school for design. Paris American Academy teaches fashion design, interior design, fine arts, and creative writing. When you visit the website, you can hover over the discipline you’re interested in to learn more about that program. Navigation is easy via a sticky nav bar located at the top of the page. As you scroll down the page, you’ll notice smooth, engaging animations and effects.
The combination of bold headlines, striking photography, and a vibrant purple backdrop of school colors make the Lipscomb University website one of our top school website design examples. Scroll through the site and you’ll find clear navigation with easy access to info for prospective students, current students, or alumni. There’s a prominent link for anyone to request information about the university. Quotes from students sharing positive experiences about the school. And, if you have any questions while you’re on the site, there’s a handy instant chat feature.
The Winchester College website is all about showcasing the rich tradition and history of this school that was built over 600 years ago. Full page, high-resolution photography and looped video showing the school and its pupils, and lots of descriptive text about the school are right on brand. Navigation is tucked away but easily accessed via the menu in the top right corner of the site.
College websites have so much information to share, and have so many different people to reach — from prospective students, to current students, to staff — and Delaware Valley University’s site does a really good job of organizing the navigation to make it simple for each person to quickly find what they’re looking for. The site has a clean layout and compelling design features like an A-Z Directory and quick links for students, staff, alumni, and more. You’ll also find a virtual tour of the college and some attractive image collages showcasing the school and student life.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Washtenaw Community College website is the bold green and gold color palette. The attractive navigation menu is needs-based — a unique approach that uses words like learn, afford, and engage to link to the courses, financial aid, and campus life pages. A cover image with rotating photos calls out the latest news and upcoming events.
Right away, you get the impression that this school is unique. Not only with the description of the school that says it’s an independent school for free thinkers, but also with the design that’s unlike any of the others we’ve seen so far. As you scroll the site, you’re shown a student, Margot, with full-page image rotations showing her many different talents — a strong message about children being anything they want to be. Navigation is easy to find via the drop-down menu on the left corner of the page.
BSU’s website is designed with promotional videos of students and staff at the school as the main header. Navigation is simple and concise, with quick links for current students, parents, and alumni to find what they need. If you’re looking to join BSU but don’t know where to start, the site has done a great job of helping, by offering up separate links for first-year students, transfer students, continuing studies, and graduate students looking to earn another degree.
Final Thoughts on College and School Websites
Now you’ve seen successful websites from just about every type of educational institution. And, while they all look different, they all have a few things in common: easy navigation, well-organized content, and a clear presentation of the school and its benefits to the students who attend.
If you’re in need of some website design inspiration, look no further than this roundup of school and college websites. From private elementary schools to art schools and universities, these sites are packed with creative ideas that you can use for your own website. So be inspired! And get started on creating your own school websites that will leave potential students impressed.
For more design inspiration please see: