top ten – 1 to 5
Strong yet subtle branding
What we loved: Responsive website with a subtle branded design
Designed with modern students’ experience in mind, the College of DuPage’s website goes big on branding. Yet the branding is so subtly embedded that it does not overpower or interfere with the information it’s meant to deliver.
Scrolling through the website is a delight, especially on mobile devices. The top fold showcases video that provides a glimpse of campus life and activities. Clear calls to action (CTAs) in green boxes and large branded images float smoothly over a green overlay layer. The college’s mascot is embedded in the bottom layer. The gray gradient of the mega menu blends smoothly with the rest of the page. Hovering over the menu displays green dropdowns with the most important information.
The news and events section is highlighted on the homepage with a carousel format, which helps viewers focus on one news piece at a time.
The events calendar allows visitors to sort, search, filter and register for upcoming events directly from the website.
Bold, boxy, beautiful and functional
What we loved: Functional design with integrated calendar
Duquesne University has an aesthetically pleasing website that uses a bold, boxy design with vibrant red, white and blue colors.
The design doesn’t just look beautiful; it’s also highly functional, offering persona-based navigation with a dropdown at the top. For quick navigation, it offers site search with an easily findable search bar on the homepage.
With a bold statement right in the center of the homepage, the mega menu is expandable and has links to all the important web pages that visitors can navigate.
A personalized website
What we love: Personalized experiences tailored to the visitor’s profile
Modern students are used to personalized digital experiences, and they expect the same level of engagement from higher education institutions.
The 2023 E-expectations Trends Report found that 12% of students are frustrated by the lack of personalized web content. Additionally, 56% of respondents said they expect websites to deliver personalized content.
Ferris State has elevated its marketing approach through impressive personalization, tailoring calls to action based on individual student application statuses. This ensures that website visitors promptly access pertinent information and are guided seamlessly toward the anticipated next steps.
Impressively, Ferris State’s website increased website clickthrough by 2800% using personalization.
Branded, bold and beautiful
What we loved: Bold and confident design that reflects the brand
FAMU’s website showcases the institution as a brand boldly and clearly. The homepage makes it abundantly clear that FAMU has been recognized as the #1 Public HBCU five times in a row.
The creative use of bold colors, grand imagery and crisp text makes the website beautiful without being overwhelming.
The homepage only highlights brand values, lists important dates and events, and keeps all the information about academics, colleges, student life and athletics easily accessible via big, bold CTA buttons.
Careers over courses
What we loved: Persona-based navigation and integrated career pathways
Kennesaw State is another institution that has an easily navigable branded website with academic information in the front and center of its homepage. With a persona-based navigation dropdown right on the top right corner, it delivers relevant information to specific groups of stakeholders.
Instead of highlighting the courses and programs it offers, Kennesaw State asks students what they want to do or become—and then suggests appropriate courses and career paths.
With a prominent search bar right in the center of the homepage, students can navigate to desired courses by looking for their degree. They can also choose from their areas of interest and navigate to courses that will help them pursue a career that interests them.