The end of July through the beginning of September is the busiest time of year for our deployment department. With schools eager to launch their websites in sync with the start of the new school year, our projects managers, developers, designers, and support team are working around the clock to ensure an on-time launch for every single project.
With so many brilliant new school websites in just the past thirty days, we're featuring our favorite design elements and enhancements that will make you "ooh" and "ahh" from your desk.
Peddie School's Footer
Okay, I know what you're thinking...what is so special about a footer?! And that was always my thought, until UX research revealed that calls-to-action in the footer get some of the highest click-through rates.
With a clear focus on recruitment, the footer features three prominent and interactive calls to action: Inquire, Visit, and Apply.
Aware that value is important, but still wanting to use their SIS, Peddie School came up with a novel solution: use a landing page in-the-middle that is jam-packed with information and value. This helps ease them down the funnel, without just sending them to a form. Brilliant!
Of course, there's a lot of great content and design treatments throughout Peddie's website due to the collaboration between the two teams. According to Peddie's Senior Designer, Holly Fehr, "Peddie was a joy to create; their team is well-educated in best practices and rich content, and had some great ideas that enhanced the end result!'
Ravenscroft's Surprise Infographics
In no way does Ravenscroft's homepage feel like your "standard panel design." It's filled with geometric shapes and all sorts of design treats and surprises that are the first of their kind. This panel in particular features an innovative concept:
Typically, this kind of design lends itself to a hover effect, where there would be some text and a button to learn more about that particular topic. Instead, when you select each core curriculum topic, an infographic with calls to action to learn more fills the screen.
According the Senior Designer Brittany Murray: "The goal of this section was to target students, parents and job seekers' passion points, and invite them to select their interest. So, rather than just having a standard infographic with an array of disjointed numbers, they brought meaning to them by highlighting a particular 'passion point' to drive discovery."
Community School's Hero Video
I'll be the first to admit that the homepage hero videos are a little overdone (now). Unless your video is going to have a "wow" factor, still photos are your better route as they load quicker and give visitors the opportunity to choose what they want to see, rather than be forced to watch a video.
But Community School's video? The first 2 seconds?!
This is a case-in-point example of when having silent video really makes an impact. And, with the slogan "school is different here," and a mission to help students thrive through academics, artistic endeavors, athletic passions and outdoor experiences, this video (and every pixel of their website) speaks to this effortlessly and brilliantly.
P.s. I'm sending in my application. Is 26 too old?
Epiphany School's Morphing Value Proposition
Your school's value proposition is one of the most important content elements on your website, and therefore, it is important to bring attention to it. Keeping this in mind, Epiphany School worked with our design team to create a headline that changes automatically.
While there is no data behind the effectiveness of this yet, my guess is that it will increase dwell time (the time spent staring at a particular portion of the screen), overall time on their site, and conversions.
Westminster's Scroll-Following Video
Westminster in Atlanta is one of the most prestigious independent day schools in the country and therefore, needed a website to match. While their new Best-in-Class website oozes innovation and daring design concepts, their use of video on the homepage is still the one we're all swooning over (and it certainly a first-of-its-kind in the Independent school industry).
As you scroll down the page, the hero video morphs, and follows you down the page, displaying new, relevant video and content in association to text content. This makes the homepage feel like a completely cohesive experience, rather than just being separate panels sharing information.
Pace Academy's Finalsite Feeds Social Mash-Up
Finalsite Feeds is one of the coolest modules available from Finalsite, as it allows you to bring authentic social media content to your website in a modern way. For Pace Academy, 1/4 of their homepage is dedicated to social media content — and with an active, engaged social following, it's serving them well!
Pomfret's Counting Infographics
Infographics are effective, but always seeing a static image can get a little boring. Pomfret School's infographics have a fun counting feature that appears on scroll, encouraging the visitor to watch the numbers climb!
For a full list of our recent website launches, visit our recent launch portfolio.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specializes in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.