With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most critical web design practices for schools. Whether you create your site in-house or hire a school web design firm to do it for you, these features will help your school’s website make the grade.
Make It Accessible (WCAG-Compliant Website Design)
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a series of guidelines created to help website designers and developers meet the needs of people with disabilities. Your school website needs to follow these guidelines to make sure all students are able to reach their highest potential.
Many of the tips below are important factors in website accessibility. However, to cover all the guidelines is beyond the scope of this article. Your school web design agency will help make sure all parts of your site are compliant.
Some of the clients we’ve developed an updated web presence for:
Make It Easy
Whether it’s a parent calling in for a sick child or a student trying to find his/her homework assignment, your visitors appreciate website design that allows them to find what they need quickly and with minimal frustration. Include features such as:
- Mobile-responsive design. Your site should be easy to search and use on any size or style of screen.
- Simple, easy-to-follow navigation. Try to include no more than seven links on your main menu, and on each sub-menu beneath it.
- Easy-to-find popular pages. Frequently used website features such as event calendars, staff directories and teacher pages should not be more than a click or two from the home page.
- Easy-to-read pages. Avoid large blocks of text. Make sure the fonts you use are legible, with a clear color scheme and point size large enough to be easily read. Including plenty of white space and images can help direct the eyes.
Make It Inviting
Having a functional school website is critical, but don’t forget that an important part of its function is to make every student feel welcome and relaxed. Including features such as these will help accomplish that goal:
- Use school colors tastefully. Everyone loves to see the school colors on your site, but keep in mind that strong colors can elicit strong emotions, especially in sensitive children. Some colors are best used as highlights to complement a neutral background. Ask your school web design company to design a site that will show school pride without creating a jarring effect.
- Post plenty of smiling faces. Include a photo of every staff member, including secretarial and support staff, as well as teachers and administrators. Also include lots of photos of students having fun — but keep in mind you may need to collect written permission before posting pictures of children.
- Show your school in action. Post pictures of athletic events, performances and field trips. Videos are great, too! You also might want to feature school projects such as science experiments and art. Your blog is a great place to do this.
- Include social links. Most students and parents will appreciate a site that is easy to find and share on social media. Their doing so will help bring more visitors to your site as well — a definite plus if you’re looking to increase enrollment.
A reputable school web design firm will have many more suggestions to help improve the navigation, legibility and accessibility of your site for an A+ presentation your students and parents will be proud to visit and share.
To learn more about Straight North’s school web design services, call us now at 855-883-0011 — or request a quote online.