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College teacher educating a class full of students.

7 Higher Education Website Header Designs That Improve User Engagement

Ryan Pelicos Monday, November 21, 2022
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Use Slideshows on Your Website Homepage to Showcase Your School

Slideshows are a visual aspect that can add to the user experience. Information items are cycled in sequential order, often, slideshows are used in conjunction with a hero banner to highlight various key topics. Slideshows are an opportunity to add a storytelling element for branded narratives and tailored calls to action. 

Hero Banners and slideshows are great tools that will encourage visitors to explore your site. That, combined with a simple, easy-to-use navigation menu, creates a functional and intuitive website design. Higher education websites often have multiple sites attributed to their main homepage, as well as several portals that need to be accessed by students and faculty. With comprehensible categories, your website can be organized in a way that makes it effortless for information to be accessed. 

Here are a few examples of universities and colleges that have designed their headers using slideshows and navigation menus that stand out and snag users' attention from the very beginning and guide them through their entire visit.

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Snapshot of multiple higher education website homepages with great navigation features.

 

1. THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA

The University of Northern British Columbia website is a great example of using a slideshow to tell their institution’s story. Their homepage features a hero banner with a slideshow, presenting a variety of key information. The content is meant to connect with different audiences so that each visitor will find information that is valuable to them. 

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University of Northern British Columbia website homepage with slideshow.

2. THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO

The University of Waterloo has included a slideshow on its website. Here, high-quality images have been used along with colour contrast and different variations of their school’s branded colours to grab the attention and engage with potential students and different audiences.  

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University of Waterloo website homepage with slideshow.

3. THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

The University of Chicago uses its slideshow as a highlight reel. Their header keeps visitors up-to-date on current university events and spotlights distinguishing student and faculty accomplishments. 

 

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University of Chicago website homepage with slideshow.

4. OXFORD UNIVERSITY 

Oxford University uses its slideshow to keep students, future students and alumni alike engaged throughout their entire visit. With virtual open house events and weekly, live, at-home tutorials with an array of subjects offered to visitors as soon as they click on the page.  

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Oxford University website homepage with slideshow.

 

Improve Higher Ed Site Navigation

5. THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

The University of Virginia uses Drupal to power its website. Their site navigation is a great example of how straightforward the menu can be. This enables users to have a productive visit while on your site while keeping the institution’s branding consistent throughout.

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UVA homepage with improved website navigation to help users have a better website journey.

6. DAVIDSON COLLEGE

Davidson College has a comprehensive navigation menu that visitors can click on to expand over a video featured in their header. Expanding navigation is a unique way to organize website content. A design like this gives you the chance to play up the visuals and storytelling components on your school’s website.

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Davidson University Homepage

 

7. QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY 

Queen’s University has designed its navigation so that content is divided into broad categories which users can hover over to view drop-down menus with even more specific information. This keeps the homepage tidy and makes the visit intuitive for prospective students and other audiences. 

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Queens University homepage.

To Summarize

Recently, there has been a need for higher education institutions to acclimate to changes in technology and cultural shifts on top of the pressure that already exists to generate revenues and live up to student demands for engagement. Headers play a big role in leading students, prospective students, alumni, and parents through their journey and guiding users through decision-making.

Portage CyberTech partners with the leading higher education institutions, helping them create industry-leading designs. Portage's data-driven and user-experience approach to design has played a key role in all of our work.

Reach out to our User Experience and Design Experts to find out how your institution can tie these design concepts together!