How to design an engaging school website
Published: October 2019
Looking to create an engaging school website? Have you been tasked with revamping your school’s website?
It can be tricky to know what features you want, especially if you have no web design experience. Urban River are here to help. We’ve been designing school websites since 2002, so we know just what they need to make them successful. Take a look through our list of features for some inspiration, then have a chat with us about how we can help.
Remember your audience
When you work in a school, almost everything you do is focused on your pupils. When it comes to your website, however, your audience includes their parents. Ensure your design, copy and UX is geared towards parents and what they would find appealing. Your website will also be viewed by people who are considering sending their child to your school, so put your school’s greatest achievements front and centre!
Keep your parents updated with all the exciting events at school with an interactive calendar. From school trips, nativity plays and parents’ evenings, there are plenty of events you could add to the calendar. To make the process even easier, allow parents to sync your calendar with theirs, so they can add the school’s full event list to their phone and PC. Add a ‘sign up’ button to allow parents to declare their or their child’s attendance to events – this should make it easier to keep track of your attendee numbers!
The children in your school will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and their parents would love to be included. Take photos and write a short blog on any special occasions that may happen at your school. Whether it’s a school trip, a fun activity or the school disco, parents will be delighted to see pictures of their children having fun at school!
It’s not always easy for a parent to get in touch with a teacher, especially if you work anti-social hours. It’s also worth remembering that phone calls are becoming a less popular form of communication, with texts or online chat being the preferred method. A live chat feature or a contact form could be the perfect way to encourage your parents to communicate with you quickly and easily.
Share important documents
Traditionally, letters to parents are given to a child to take home. However, they’re often found months later, crumpled up at the bottom of a school bag! Important forms and documents like consent forms, allergy information and permission slips could all be placed on your website, ready for parents to download, sign and send off. A website could make this process entirely digital, saving your school money on paper and print outs.
Electronic payments are more popular than ever, with just 40% of our payments made in cash. Your website could give parents the option to pay for school dinners, trip fees and more online, making the whole process much easier for everyone. Rather than chase late fees, allow parents to set up a direct debit for all the regular payments.
Any feature you add to improve your school website is meaningless if the website itself doesn’t have a good user experience, function well and look good. Your website should be responsive, allowing parents to access school information via their mobile and it should run fast too. It doesn’t matter how engaging your website is – if it has long loading times, your audience will lose interest and leave within a matter of seconds. A fast, responsive website has every chance of being successful!
While school websites are quite different to most websites, a lot of the principles stay the same. A clean design, engaging text and easy navigation are important features every website should have. We have been building brilliant school websites for fifteen years and can make your website a success.