Design | 12 min read
How to Design an Educational Website?
When we speak about educational websites, in most cases we mean websites for educational establishments. But today, education goes far beyond the boundaries of schools and universities. Online educational platforms are becoming more and more requested. From the point of design, educational websites are the ones of the most challenging types of websites to create.
In this article:
A well-designed educational website is an ideal way for establishments and platforms like Coursera, Udemy, edX to show advantages and attract prospective students.
Awesome educational websites are multifunctional: they host self-learning courses, provide information about syllabuses, contain learning resources and much more. But how to create an educational website that will succeed? What features are the must-haves? In this article, we’re covering all these questions — just keep reading.
The importance of educational websites
An educational website is a huge interactive platform to present various information for different types of people: future students, current students, teachers, parents, those who want to get a new profession, etc. All the sections have to be well-balanced and organized so users can easily find everything they need.
It’s a common thing that students and their parents look for more information about any educational organization. To make informed decisions, they need information about the management and infrastructure, as well as about the courses and services offered. This allows them to assure whether it is suitable for them and their children or not.
Types of educational websites
There are 2 main types of educational websites:
websites of educational establishments (schools, lyceums, colleges, universities);
The importance of websites for educational institutions is constantly increasing, as they become a decision support for future students in selecting their place of study. Such websites should be versatile and secure. As the website is a reflection of the professional image of the establishment, its clean design should encourage the visitor to stick around and explore more.
Websites of online course marketplaces are akin to the workspaces for students and teachers with personal accounts, where they get actionable information about their courses, classes, and content delivery. A distinguishing feature of this type is that the attention must be paid to the profile and the course browsing pages. Students pay attention to the course materials, they want to understand their contents and can see the duration.
The process of choosing the educational website is an exciting but time-consuming task for users. Hence, our task as designers is to assist users in search by including some specific design features to the educational website.
Must-have features for education website design
A good image is half the work. The design is not only about look, but also about feeling and the overall user experience. We want to introduce some main features that might help you with understanding the general tendencies of the educational websites. This way you’ll know what to pay attention to.
This includes the layout, colors, images, and fonts used to create educational websites. All these factors should be considered when building the website as they contribute towards creating an overall users’ impression.
Authentication page and profile
It is important to provide users with an authentication process (email/phone number + password combination). Students’ and teachers’ profiles should vary and contain different features. Whereas students need to have a list of active/completed courses, comprehensive information about certificates/points/credits, teachers need an info page about degree and the list of added courses.
A dashboard is a workspace both for students and teachers, where they track course progress and get feedback. Using a dashboard, students check the number of enrolled courses, number of available hours, etc. Teachers can check added courses, track ratings, traffic, and their earnings.
The most important and basic form of navigation on your site is the main menu found in the header. It should be simple with a limited number of options. Moreover, include clear calls-to-action to the website navigation, particularly to the pages such as Apply and See Programs/Courses.
A good website navigation is akin to guidance. Users don’t always know what they want to do next, so it is important to give them some options to go. If they find the website difficult to navigate, they might just leave it and search for another one that gives them what they are looking for.
The right message
Each educational website is created to convey the right message to its visitors. People want to be sure that the educational website is trust-worthy and fully meets their expectations. The website is very important when it comes to creating the best image and brand.
This is another very important feature that should not be ignored. The website should have a responsive design, so the teachers, parents and students can visit it on their gadgets at any convenient time.
The listed features are obligatory in designing the website if education is your area of expertise. Generally, they make an essential part of any website, regardless of the type of knowledge offered or the desired audience that you’re trying to reach.
How to make your educational website outstanding?
The design process is an art. In order to make an educational website a masterpiece, there are some important principles of outstanding design to consider.
Education website design should be moderate
Obviously, educational websites should contain catchy information, so users don’t actually need to scroll a half-empty page till forever. But it’s not necessary to use heavy fonts and add numerous buttons to the homepage. Opt for easy-to-read fonts on bold buttons. Present the catchy information in an unobtrusive way, so users can easily find what they want. Still, your website can be informative and useful, but moderate design helps you to provide better user experience and clean interface.
Mind the hierarchy of website information
The best university website design is the one that minds the hierarchy of website information. If the educational institution has structured information for its website and filtering system, then the educational process is likely to be the same: structured and well-planned. While creating an educational website, make sure that all the important sections are accessible from the homepage.
Use relevant and catchy content
Awesome educational websites are perfect platforms to host visual and audio content. Many people prefer visual materials over traditional texts. Upload useful guides, tutorials and lectures to interact with students. Moreover, you can use your site as a library, where you provide the students with course materials, reading lists, and even communicate with them through internal forums. Also, make attractive videos that tap into the social media sharing to get the message out.
The educational website has to be flexible
In other words, make your website agile. Trends change fast, so constant testing and optimization are necessary to figure out which information layout works better to keep the audience engaged. Also, it might be a good idea to feature materials on pages designed particularly for these materials.
The website should have a global access for student around the world
From the design point of view, it means that different factors are to be considered. For example, there should always be English/Spanish/Chinese/Arabic/Russian/French versions of a website in addition to a local language one. Multilingual website expands the number of foreign students and teachers, and provides access to the global education market.
Also, there should be two ways of presenting the website information — for local students and for international. It can give the website a competitive advantage in an international arena.
The listed features are necessary for design practice, and the examples of the best education website design (2 examples for each type of educational websites) are great proofs of it.
Examples of best designed educational websites
Best online educational platform design:
Udemy. The website has interactive design. Visitors can use a search function that is realized with the help of Elasticsearch technology and quickly matches with the users’ requests. Also, the navigation bar has categorised drop-down lists, as well as Log In and Sign In. The interactive design improves the Udemy browsing experience.
Coursera . Web and mobile interfaces have excellent legibility, and a large, multi-language character set. The website has a clean and simple UI, and well-structured content hierarchy.
Best school website designs:
Lausanne collegiate school. The navigation bar has organised drop-down lists. The call to actions like Inquire, Give, Contact us are also highlighted in the header section. The full-screen video content grabs the attention of any visitor. The website has a mobile version.
Strathallan. The homepage contains activities overview performed in a simple and clear way. The visual content is perfectly placed following user-friendly principles. The website has desktop and mobile versions accessible for all gadgets and supported by Android and iOS.
Best college website designs:
Middlebury College. The homepage consists of colorful bars that act as a navigation system. Each clickable bar leads visitors to video snapshots of the community, homecoming highlights, a news story about new funding, and so on.
Bates college. The website has a user-friendly navigation — e.g, the productive content elements labeled with identifiers like "Future Students," "Parents," and "Alumni". These elements are located at the bottom but above the fold, guiding visitors to the relevant information.
Best university website design:
Stanford University. The website of the world-top university has a balanced approach with respect to information hierarchy and design. Visitors get comprehend information and answers to any kind of questions. The navigation is clear and easy. The display images are excellent.
John Hopkins University. The university website has bold headlines and titles ensuring high engagement ratio. Creative web design and graphics attract visitors from the first sight.
The listed examples include all the mentioned must-have features that make them convenient and also help those who have been desiring education to get it. Education sites have to find ways to appeal to their users and improving designs may just be that way. Our design team knows the peculiarities of creating successful educational websites and always consider the features that make your product become a leader in your field.
Are you eager to get an exceptional design? We can help
Education is an area of in-depth expertise, and your website should prove it. The implementation of the features listed above is a complex development and design process.
With the help of Cadabra Studio, you can get a website with a wide range of possibilities and offerings. Moreover, our design choices can boost your brand and elevate your appeal, both for prospective students and employees. Drop us a line. We are always in touch.