Whether you’re looking for a quality website for education and information, or trying to improve your own, it helps to know where the bar is set. Not everyone is a master of web development, which means it can be tricky to determine what makes a good educational website stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to identify a high-quality educational site and develop one yourself. Read on to learn what to look for.
Attributes of a Good Educational Website: An Attractive Homepage
Whether it’s for a dissertation coach, a college, or a trade school, any educational website can have an attractive homepage. It’s the first thing you see when you load the site, and the first impression viewers get to determine whether they trust what the provider has to offer. An attractive homepage isn’t just about looks; it also incorporates a simplistic design, easy-to-find links to access information, and beautifully-placed imagery that’s not detrimental to the loading speed.
A Responsive Design
Roughly two billion people now access the internet on their smartphones. If a website is not responsive for mobile phones and tablet devices, it may hurt a site’s popularity.
Having a responsive education website means that it automatically re-formats into the most user-friendly design for the device being used. What you will also discover with a responsive site is that it’s designed to be shared, and you can link it to social media and emails with ease.
Effortless Navigation Options
Even though there are thousands of different education website themes to choose from, that doesn’t mean they all offer effortless navigation options for visitors. It’s crucial to pay attention to how the site is laid out to ensure it has everything you need to see at first glance without becoming overwhelmed.
Each important webpage can be organized into navigation and sub-navigation links. The most critical information, such as news, events, and school lists, can form part of the navigation bar. Anything else can be entered into dropdown menus from that bar.
To make a school website accessible to all, it’s essential to incorporate ADA compliance into the design. This means the site can be easily followed by a screen reader device. There is a lot involved in making sure a website is ADA-compliant, including:
-A ‘skip navigation’ link
-HTML formatting standards – H2, H3, H4,
-Footer feedback links
-Text-only web page options
Fortunately, several of the best content management systems like WordPress offer these features.
Excellent Web Development
Many of the most popular brands gain a reputation in the digital world by using a web developer or signing up to use a high-quality content management system. The more reputable the developer or system, the more desirable and reliable features you have at your disposal. This rolls over to ensure the site’s overall design and navigation will suit visitors’ needs.
In line with web development, it’s also worth ensuring whichever developer you use puts site visitor safety first. Ensure that your website has an SSL certificate. This certificate is a data file that encrypts the link between a browser and your site and makes sure data remains secure and private.
Fast Loading Times
Any visitor to a website doesn’t want to wait a long time for it to load. Given that we’ve left the age of dial-up internet behind us, there’s simply no need for extended loading times. That’s why a sign of a high-quality educational site is one that allows you to see everything the website has to offer almost instantly.
Some of the best educational site providers understand that load times can affect conversion rates, the overall user experience, and even the amount of time spent on that website. The sweet spot is three seconds. Any longer than that, and the bounce rate of traffic increases exponentially.
Fortunately, most content management systems allow you to have full control over your load times by letting you optimize your graphics, images, and videos. You can also minimize the number of plug-ins you use to potentially bring that load time down even further.
Not everyone has the time to pick up forms from their chosen educational facility or wait for them to be delivered. They also don’t want the hassle of having to drop the documents back off or risk them being lost in the mail.
Educational sites that have digitized their most necessary paperwork can stand out from the crowd. Site visitors can simply download the forms they need, fill them out on their computer, then email them to a provided email address or upload them to the website. This simple process is one that may benefit both students and educational institutes.
Many people have found themselves frustrated when navigating a website. They know what they’re looking for, but they just can’t seem to find it. A simple search function can make their experience far more memorable. Given the amount of content the average educational website might have, a search function can be paramount. It enables site visitors to quickly type in what they need so they can easily find what they are looking for.
Not only is an updated website helpful for search engine optimization purposes, but it can help site visitors as well. Students and their families want to know the scores from their college football team’s most recent game, the dates of upcoming events, and what’s coming up on the social calendar.
If a website isn’t updated regularly, users may choose to look elsewhere for the information that they need. Ideally, a dedicated person would be in charge of making sure the most recent changes around the educational facility are added to the site weekly. The more consistently new information is added, the more value the site can hold for its visitors.
An optimized educational website can mean the difference between a captivated audience and one that looks elsewhere for what they need. Many components have to come together to form the winning recipe, so establish whether the site you’re visiting or developing has these features above.
Featured Image: Alex Knight, Unsplash.