5 Reasons Why Your Sleek Education Website Isn’t Good Enough
Your higher education institution has a “new” front door. It’s not a physical one, and it’s actually been there for quite a while now. It’s no secret that colleges and universities finally have stopped ignoring their website challenges and are focusing hard on revamping them in order to tell compelling stories to their many constituencies. While the aesthetic improvements are evident, even the award-winning redesigns haven’t managed to avoid some key critical errors. Here’s our list of the top 5 mistakes not to make during education website redesigns:
The Kitchen Sink Approach
As educators, we serve a lot of people and there is a lot of information to share. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling compelled to share it all on one or two pages. Take time upfront to outline a meaningful navigation that communicates the appropriate information without content overload. Need to convince you stakeholders (or yourself) what really belongs on which pages? Try conducting a card sort activity with various prospective users to learn how they want to navigate through content.
The Backend System Daisy Chain
When your CRM doesn’t communicate with your application tool, which isn’t good friends with your enrolled student portal, you can develop big gaps in data that are potentially really useful. Look at your organization’s strategies and consider if it’s worth investing the time and money to execute more streamlined integration. Do you have awareness goals? Maybe you can afford to wait. Is your yield of admitted to enrolled students down? Now may be the time to invest.
The “Mobile-Friendly” Hand Wave
It’s happened. Google reports that more than 50% of searches are now conducted on mobile. Mobile browsing is our present and future. It’s no longer enough to have a website that will size down to a mobile screen so you can say it’s “mobile friendly.” If your site is not responsive, you should work to get it there. Fast.
The Follow Through
In the midst of creating a sleek design and clean homepages and landing pages, many neglect the functionality of their call to action events and haven’t operationalized the follow through. Not making the effort to change clunky forms to stepped forms means walking away from student prospects. Not building in the appropriate digital follow-ups for people who request more information or have attended virtual events means the same. Your website design needs to consider the whole prospective student journey.
The Sea of Calls to Action
With many different targets and many options to engage, higher education website designers need to avoid the trap of loading up a single page with many calls to action. This can split attention and cause confusion. Instead think critically about what the content of each page is trying to achieve and to whom it is speaking. With that, you can highlight the single most important call to action. It will be easier for a consumer to navigate and more effective for your teams to measure success.
So, continue to pay attention to great design and hopefully adopt some for your own website. But don’t do it at the expense of key user experience or systems integration must-haves.