Do you know how long visitors typically stay on your school website? Do their visits last at least ten seconds? If your school website can’t hold your visitors’ interest for ten seconds or more, then it is definitely underperforming. And, if that’s the case, it’s safe to assume you’re not generating the traffic you need to generate the number of school enrollment leads you need to meet your marketing goals.
We previously discussed several possible issues that can prevent your school website from performing efficiently:
- A bad design may not be attracting enough visitors to your website.
- Your website’s content doesn’t pique their interest.
- Your school website’s overall focus is not aligned with your prospects.
For each of these issues, having fewer visitors remain on your website will hurt your efforts in getting more leads and conversions for your school.
However, if you can get your visitors to stay on your website for at least ten seconds, it’s likely they’ll end up staying longer. Those seconds are crucial. This is what Jakob Nielsen, a prominent web usability consultant, concludes from his article about website users’ behavior. Create a school website that can engage your visitors and you can expect them to stay.
How can you do this?
Build an intuitive school website. This is one of the lesser known and least understood concepts in web design since it focuses on user behavior. Intuitive website design is a major influence on how your users, or visitors, will treat your website. The longer they stay, the more they go through your web pages, the better the chance that your intuitive design is succeeding in its purpose.
Understanding Intuitive Design
Let’s start with the definition of the word itself. Intuitive is defined as “using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.” This refers to how your school website’s visitors will react to how your website has been designed.
It simply means: “easy to use and understand.”
When visitors go to your website, they should be able to operate it immediately. If they can’t figure out what to do and where to go as they’re looking for information, you can expect a quick exit on their part.
Presenting an unconventional design to these parents takes their focus and time away from the task that they want to do.
Your visitors rely on their own knowledge, or “instinctive reasoning”, on how a website works. They want to use your website as easily, and as quickly as possible.
An intuitive website design accomplishes this by being unseen. It instead makes itself felt by your visitors through their smooth experience.
Remember, 68% of visitors fail to convert because they don't think you care about their experience (source: Vitamin T). Always put yourself into the shoes of your school website's visitors. Look at each of your web pages and assess if your visitors will be able to appreciate them, as well as each of the elements they contain.
For example, prospective parents who are looking for a private school for their children want to get a glimpse of what a school looks like from its website’s homepage. To show this to prospective parents and to make your homepage visually appealing, consider putting up a video of your students engaged in activities on-campus.
Also, keep in mind that these parents are browsing each page of your website looking for information that will help them make a decision about your school. It would be helpful for them to see your school’s contact information on every page, even on the website’s header. When they need to ask or tell you something, they won’t have to navigate back to find your contact details.
And here’s what it looks like:
The Elements Of An Intuitive Website
Give your visitors a steady experience as they travel through your school’s website. Present familiar elements that they will look for.
Here are a few fundamental components that your school website should possess:
- The Design
The overall design and layout form the base of what makes your website intuitive. They should convey your school’s identity immediately.
Hubspot has listed the following design guidelines that promote exceptional user experience:
2. Visual Hierarchy
- Be aware that having to balance “good looks” with usability tips in favor of the latter. Don’t sacrifice usability and functionality by merely focusing on aesthetics.
- Present your school’s contact information in the footer.
- Place your logo in the top left corner of your web pages. When clicked, it should always direct visitors back to your homepage.
- On your navigation menu, the last link is for “Contact.”
- It should be at the farthest right for horizontal menus
- It should be at the bottom-most for vertical menus.
- Place search bars on each page, usually located near the header.
- Label the items on your menus as they are conventionally known. For instance:
- Use “events” rather than “affairs”
- Use “home” rather than “central”
- Use “contact” rather than “connection”
- Remember that text aligned to the left is easier to read than text aligned to the right. This is for audiences that read from left to right.
- Be sure that all your important elements, especially for navigation, are placed at the same location all throughout your website.
- Make all your links easily identifiable apart from all your regular text.
- Always have detailed help messages that can easily be seen or accessed.
- Ensure that all scrollbars are visible. Let your visitors know if you have more content on a page.
Remember that your visitors likely spend quite a bit of their time online visiting other websites. They will know if your website lacks any of the elements we’ve mentioned. Don’t take the risk of having to modify or leave out anything important that your visitors will need in navigating around your website. This will change their experience so they’ll know.
Examples Of Intuitive School Websites
To give you an idea of what intuitive school websites look like, here are a few examples:
2. Heritage Oak
You can visit each of them to experience what makes them exceptional.
Competing with other schools means that your website must perform efficiently in terms of attracting visitors and turning them into leads. If you plan on capturing your visitors’ attention, you have to be sure that your website is designed intuitively.
Aside from following the best practices of intuitive web design, you also need to know your buyer personas. Keep in mind that you’re not only selling your school to them, but you also understand their needs. Give them an amazing user experience inside your school’s website and you’ll also be rewarded with their loyalty and support.