Recently, I spent time doing some research for a project that consisted of re-designing a website for an educational institution. I wanted to see what some of the higher profile universities and colleges were doing with their sites, but my findings were that most of them were completely outdated from a design standpoint, and not overly usable. The most common things I found were homepages that were extremely wordy and navigation systems that were far too complex. With tuition prices always on the rise, and the ever-growing importance having a strong online identity, I really feel that an Institution's website should be a priority. Especially since it is often the first thing that people see (from all over the world) when researching their education. With that being said, I did come across a few diamonds in the rough. Here are the top 5 best. The most surprising thing to me is that Harvard, MIT, Yale and other notable institutions didn't make the list...not even close.
Hometown bias aside, I really like the cleanliness of this site. The interface is user friendly, and the use of accent colors really gives an otherwise plain color scheme a lot of life.
A very bold design that caught my attention right away. The deep blue and pale yellow work together to create a great 'academia' tone. I also love the cover-flow like widget front and center.
If this site didn't make the top 5 I would have been worried, as one of its main purposes is for online education.
While i'm not overly crazy about the balance of text, specifically in the programs area, this site still caught my eye. It has a great west coast 'cloudy day' color scheme. The header is given nice texture by the campus overlay. This site is elegant and calming.
The University of Chicago has a wonderful site that is full of life and diversity. I looked through a 'top 100 universities in the world' list and this site was the best, hands down.
Because it uses Drupal!
Making this top 5 was extremely difficult. Not because there were a tonne of great sites out there, but because there was a lack of them! My next post will have to be a top 10 worst.
There are way too many universities and college to ever sift through, so if you know of any sites that could crack this top 5 then please post a comment below!
As the Senior Creative Lead, Scott takes a holistic approach to understanding, conceptualizing and meeting business goals in large-scale web projects. Since joining Appnovation in 2008, Scott has worn many hats. From design, development, project management and business analysis he has done it all. His well-rounded understanding of Appnovation’s business processes has allowed him to excel in customer service and team leadership.
With 15 years of experience combined with an education in Computer Systems Technology from Red Deer College and BCIT, Scott brings a strong combination of skills, knowledge and experience to the Appnovation team. Scott has led many successful design projects at Appnovation for clients such as NBA, New York City, Rainforest Alliance, Intel and Cargoh just to name a few.
Bucket List Accomplishments: Mostly things involving travel, make sure you ask Scott about his travel stories…he’s got some interesting ones ☺
Weekends are Spent: Playing volleyball, at the beach or road tripping to Portland, Tofino or Seattle.
Countries Visited with Appnovation: All over the USA, Switzerland and Canada