15 exceptional education sites

One of the things about advancements online is the ability for us to learn. We’re able to not only be easily connected to our colleges and universities, but we have the ability to get our degrees, diplomas and certificates online. It’s convenient and also helps those who have been desiring education to get it.

There are so many options where we are talking about learning online. You can learn via speciality sites like Team Treehouse or Lynda or through open learning platforms such as Open University. Today, we’re going to focus on tertiary education and the universities and colleges that are using good design in their online presence.

 

Boston University

We start with Boston University’s website, which seems to be pretty traditional, but the more you poke your nose around, the more you realize they have done a great job at incorporating some of the modern web design standards. It’s a really, super clean approach to an education website, that still keeps it’s roots in what makes a traditional university site.

 

School of Visual Arts

Obviously, a school that specializes in visual arts cannot have a website that’s a complete eyesore. SVA does a great job of creating a site that first creates some excitement. The colors, the graphics, and photographs are all great, but what’s of great importance is the SVA layout. They don’t get right into how people should come to SVA, but they have a bunch of trending news articles on the visual arts and design community within SVA. That connection building is ideal for websites.

 

New York University

University websites are typically really busy and you have a lot of things pulling for your attention. NYU is another example of a university that decided to go really simple with their web design. The colors are cool and inviting and don’t seem to be extremely aggressive. They also do a good job of breaking up lots of long copy to make it easier to read and understand. 

 

Biola Undergrad

This is completely unorthodox for a university website. As a matter of fact, it kind of feels like a museum or something. But what’s great is that the graphics speak tons for the creativity and exploration that you can get at Biola. The aesthetics of the site are so high so they’ve done a good job of balancing that with nice, small and easy to digest chunks of text as well. This is really another level of web design, let alone college web design.

 

Bates

What makes this website good is that the homepage is a slider for photographs. Of course, this links to different pages throughout the site. This is great because again, many traditional sites have so many things that are trying to get your attention that it’s just nice to go to a site and have control over what you see and what you don’t see. Also, the typography throughout the website is nothing to sneeze at! 

 

Regent College

Simply put, this web design is beautiful. It’s captivating, interesting and absolutely makes me want to get a passport and travel to the campus in Canada. In all actuality, the layout isn’t too far from what you’d see anywhere else, but the graphics and aesthetic quality is just so high. The use of color and shapes plays a huge part in making Regent College’s web design so exceptional.

 

Drexel University

Drexel rather surprised me because in my familiarity with the school, it’s nothing to really write home about. But they did something really creative with their web design. It almost kind of reminds you of an agency’s website with the full image backgrounds. They do a great job of keeping it simple and streamlined, while heavily representing their schools’colors. 

 

Langara

I saw this web design and almost lost my mind. This is a completely different approach to web design in general, but it absolutely works. There are so many small elements that you could easily look over, but would be missed if they weren’t there. This design exceptional and should be used for inspiration in all web design. I think they know what they’re doing up in Canada.

 

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design

Sometimes we use different design techniques because they’re trendy and other times we use them because they just make sense. In this case, everything on the UCLA AUD website makes sense. They have a grid-based system, which not only helps organize their work, but also kind of alludes to building stuff–like architects do! The use of color also helps organize things. Overall, you can just tell there was a lot of thinking and planning that went into this website for people who have to think and plan.  

 

Rochester Institute of Technology – Visual Communication Design

Just like Drexel’s web design, this one puts you in the mind of a creative agency’s. And much like a creative agency, RIT used an extremely clean and simple approach to their design. If you browse through the site, there are different elements introduced that continue to keep your attention. This is absolutely important because they are trying to sell their visual communication to prospective students. 

 

Strelka Institute

Strelka is not your typical undergrad or graduation institute of higher-learning. They are a non-profit organization aimed at educating students who want to use their talents and use them for the greater good. They deal with mainly creative students and get them to think about what’s next rather than what’s right now. Their website is bold yet simple in it’s approach, creating a genuine interest in the work they produce. 

 

VCU Brandcenter

The Brandcenter is one of the top advertising graduate schools in the United States. They boast connections with some of the top agencies around today. Because of this, they have to make sure their image is in line with that. They have a really interesting visual brand that generates excitement and promotes creativity. Much like SVA’s site, they don’t concern you with why you should attend the Brandcenter. Instead, they focus on helpful videos and pieces of news for the community. 

 

Williams College

According to Forbes, Williams College is the #2 College or University in the nation, right behind Princeton. Why is that important? Take a look at Princeton’s website, then take a look at Williams College’s. There’s a great difference in the role of design on these sites. Williams College actually seems like it might be fun to attend, and not your typical, boring private school. Kudos to them for stepping out the box a little!

 

Institute of Design at Stanford

The D School at Stanford has been making a little bit of noise lately with their academics and connections. They should also be recognized for this wonderful design they have. Everything is spot on from the graphical elements to the use of typography. This is another, all around solid web design.

 

Stanford Arts 

Stanford twice? Well, they really know what they’re doing when it comes to design. In particular, on this site for the arts, they do a great job of fusing a traditional or typical university site design with some very new elements. In addition, when you browse around, they’ve done a great job of not making it salesy at all. As a matter of fact, looking at content on different pages is very similar to reading a blog or online magazine.

 

Conclusion

We’re so used to seeing colleges and universities putting academics and information first. It’s a breath of fresh air to see them create ways to combine academia with good and aesthetically pleasing design. It makes the university more attractive and a standout amongst the mundane, typical university website. Education sites have to continue to find ways to appeal to their younger, prospective students and improving designs may just be that way.

What are some of your favorite education websites? What college or university did you attend? Let us know in the comments below.

  • dcolsen

    While I agree with your Drexel U website pick, I disagree with your jab at the school. I currently have a son enrolled in the school and I am very impressed by the work and interviewing experience he is gaining via Drexel’s co-op program. It is definitely ‘something to write home about’.

  • Gunter Harper
  • Katie

    I really like Ashton College’s website – http://ashtoncollege.com
    The slider on the homepage has great impact.

  • Victor Cobo Ramirez

    Don’t want to look like arrogant, but as a professional of the digital marketing, I sincerely expected much more of your article, specially your top three.

    There are dozens of education websites that would deserve to be in this list. To put an example, SVA home is overload of content and links, a design is more than good illustrations, the NY uni presents menus with more than 20 results, and the one of the Boston Uni…, well… I am surprised that a professional designer doesn’t understand how strong the video is and how hard it is to put one in a home site.

    For next article, have a look to the British Council, the Yale University or the Creative Design School International sites ;)

    Nevertheless, thanks for the article, some of the sites like Bates are really great ;)