A school district website must convey a lot of information about a great number of topics: academic programs, enrollment, event calendars, employment, bus schedules, school directories, etc.
The objective is to offer visitors the ability to conveniently navigate your district site so they can quickly find the information they need.
There are two ways to incorporate such efficient, intuitive navigation into the design, content and organization of a school district website, that we’ve used with great success in the sites we’ve created.
1. Putting Your Best Footer Forward
Footers can be one of the most neglected parts of a school district website. Yes, the prevailing wisdom is to put the most important content “above the fold,” but more and more visitors are now conditioned to use the footer as a short cut to finding the right page or the right link to go directly to the content they want.
Optimize this valuable online real estate by making sure to include such basics as your full contact information (address, phone, fax, email), and the contact for your safety tip line if you have one. Then, include a list of links to the site’s most requested pages – and for those looking for something else, consider a search bar either within or just above the footer.
2. Separate District Pages from School Pages
One objective on every district website is to limit, if not eliminate, any confusion between content that belongs on the district site, and content that should be placed on the individual sites of the schools within that district. Clear navigation and calls to action can help.
Start by making the directory to the schools in your district apparent from the home page, and make it a link within the footer as well so it will appear on every page. Then, for those on school sites seeking answers that can only be found on the district site, make sure the link goes directly to the district site page where that information resides, and not to a home page that will force the visitor to start searching all over again.
The 360Civic philosophy for school websites is simple: An appealing, responsive and user-friendly design, well-organized navigation, and compliance with all WCAG 2.0 and ADA standards, so pages are accessible to students, teachers and parents regardless of challenges or disabilities.
If you were to grade your website on its navigation, what would it receive?
Let’s find out.