Breaking with Tradition: Inspiring Educational Institution Website Design

Just like sports' sites, traditionally educational sites have been the same or similar, using an off-the-shelf template created for the industry. In their day, these templates did their job in bringing educational sites to home users, but these days, educational institutions are realizing, just like everyone else, that to get the applicants that fit their bill, their website has to reflect their particular strengths, and appeal to and encourage their preferred applicants.

Designers are bringing us better and more functional websites for schools and universities that may, in many cases, actually make us want to learn, and encourage us to use a particular institution. Here is a collection of such website designs for your inspiration.

Educational Institution Website Design

Tufts University

Tufts is a private university with campuses in Massachusetts. What you see in this screenshot is their entire home page. It is actually full of links... every piece of text you see on this page is a link.

Tufts University

Kutztown University

This university is in Pennsylvania, and their landing page design has been around for a long time now, it was, back in the day, very trendy and unusual for an educational site. It obviously works for them as they have kept it, but some of their categories will take you to a much more modern design. Below are screenshots of both designs.

Kutztown University

Kutztown University

Universiteit Van Nederland

This Dutch university site uses a lot of the current trends, such as large blocks of color, fullscreen image, slideshows, etc. Towards the end of the page, there are the largest social media buttons I have ever seen!

Universiteit Van Nederland

University of Hawaii Advising Center

The main site for the Hilo University is still of the old style of educational sites, but the advising center has it's own design which is much more modern.

University of Hawaii Advising Center

University of South Carolina

This site has some great scrolling effects and scrolling animations, all on a dark red graph-paper-style background.

University of South Carolina

University of Colorado

This site uses a fullscreen background video. Clicking on the small arrowhead at the bottom of the page brings up the navigation menu.

University of Colorado

Temple University – Tyler School of Art

This division of the Temple University has a very relevant design – it is 'arty', and uses a fullscreen slideshow and a grid-style layout.

Temple University - Tyler School of Art

Universidade de Coimbra

This Portuguese university uses a drawing of the layout of the university with location markers as links. As you scroll down, the layout is grid-style.

Universidade de Coimbra

Biola University

This is a private Christian university in California. There is just something about the design of this site that is very appealing. It is very colorful and 'in your face', but somehow you get the feeling there wouldn't be a dull moment if you attended here.

Biola University

Florida International University

A full screen slideshow, flat design and lots of white space put this university's website firmly in the 21st Century.

Florida International University

St. John's University

This New York university has some great scrolling effects – a nice overall viewing experience.

St. John's University

Lipscomb University

This university is situated in Nashville, Tennessee. The website design uses transparency and flat design.

Lipscomb University

Evangel University

This is a Christian university in Springfield, Missouri. There is a lot of information on their site, but somehow the designers have made it look really quite minimal.

Evangel University

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

This university is situated in Florida. After viewing the scrolling effects and grid-style layout, if you want to study medicine, this may be your first choice of placement!

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

Eton College

Eton is probably the most famous school in the world, and it is, therefore, nice to see that they have made some effort to move with the times. Their website uses a slideshow, and the navigation bar below it is viewed using slider arrows left and right.

Eton College

University of Oxford

Here is another famous university, and they use flat design, a slideshow and grid-style layout. Sadly the University of Cambridge have not done quite so well with their design.

University of Oxford

Harvard University

On to one of America's best known university's, Harvard are currently using a flat design with a grid-style layout.

Harvard University

University of Washington

This site has some very subtle but effective mouseover effects.

University of Washington

UCL

The UCL (University College London) website design is reminiscent of a magazine layout. Everything is big, square and bold.

UCL

Karalienes Mortos Mokykla

The name of this school translates into English as Queen Martha School. Situated in Lithuania, their website is beautifully presented using scrolling animations and flat illustrations.

Karalienes Mortos Mokykla

Michigan School of Professional Psychology

This site design uses a fullscreen background image with a half-tone texture over it. Further down the page, the layout is grid-style.

Michigan School of Professional Psychology

Conclusion

It is good to see some of the old, traditional educational institutions bringing their websites into the modern 21st Century, but it is true that many of them are still using their timewarp sites of yesteryear.

Do you think it is important for educational sites to keep up with current trends? Have you designed an educational site? Please share your opinions and links with us in the comments section below.