Higher Education Website Designs That Make The Grade
Higher education websites present unique challenges when it comes to web design, web development, and digital marketing. Vector Media Group caters its approach to meet every client’s individual needs, and our extensive experience within the Higher Ed vertical enables us to provide effective solutions that address these challenges.
Creating User-Friendly Navigation
Managing Lots of Information. A commonality across many higher education websites is the sheer amount of content they contain. With schools offering multiple campus locations, individual schools and departments, various degrees of education, and a large number of programs found in each, outdated higher education sites often put responsibility on the user to sort through content to find what they are looking for. This approach leaves users frustrated, confused, and leaving the site before finding the information they need.
Improving the User Experience. Making sure that the vast amount of content higher education sites contain can be easily found and consumed is key to creating a user-friendly site. By focusing on smart, efficient, and practical content organization, we improve the overall user experience. Implementing robust search functionality that uses more natural language is another successful approach that we’ve utilized to help users navigate content on higher education websites.
Managing Site Content
Controlling Accessibility. Along with a large amount of content, higher education institutions often have many different stakeholders on their teams. People from across different schools, departments, committees, and internal organizations are responsible for site content in their individual areas. This means that various people need managing permissions to be able to administer the site’s CMS. This can lead to difficulty in finding internal consensus and presents a challenge in making sure the site can be used as needed by both internal and external users.
Building a Vision. A highly collaborative relationship is essential to foster communication and idea sharing. By working closely with our education clients, we aim to help them develop a clear vision of what they want for their site, then build it to suit their needs. The end result is a website that serves multiple functions, is easily maintained, and surpasses expectations.
Making Security a Priority
Security is a top priority for every developer at Vector. Our code has been audited by some of the top security teams in the world, as well as the Security Operations teams of many Fortune 500 companies. We’re trained on web security best practices, and several members of our team have spoken about security and PCI compliance at conferences.
Many websites utilize some form of Personal Identifiable Identification (PII), making them especially vulnerable to attacks - even if they are not selling anything. In addition to testing for common attack vectors, such as XSS, IDOR, and SQL injections, we are constantly undergoing internal training to keep up-to-date on evolving types of attacks and their mitigations.
At Vector, we ensure that proper firewalls are set up on servers, and public key authentication is utilized for access. We protect private information by encrypting data at rest where warranted, employing SSL/TLS, and storing passwords using secure hash algorithms. We always run automated and manual security tests, and have internal policies and procedures in place to handle any security issues that may surface.
Our developers also practice responsible disclosure of vulnerabilities on public websites. Our team is involved with many public bug bounty programs, where we discover and resolve bugs before the general public is aware of them, helping to prevent incidents of widespread abuse.
Vector’s ongoing and successful work with Adelphi University has helped them improve their brand recognition and search results, reduce their costs, and increase their online visibility. A distinct collaboration between our design and digital marketing departments and the Adelphi team ensured a unique and genuine campaign tied to the school’s business goals and aspirations.
In addition to developing an educational site that looks and functions flawlessly, Vector is able to offer higher education clients insight on everything from organizing content to promoting academic programs and ancillary offerings and events.
Stuart HenryBusiness Development
How are we different? We believe that the key for long term success lies in working with you. We build relationships with our clients and help you determine:
What you want to achieve
Where you can make improvements
When you can expect results
Why we recommend one solution over another
We understand that each client is unique, and we’re constantly pushing ourselves to create custom, tasteful, and innovative solutions that will work best to accomplish your goals.
After its recent renaming, EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) tapped Vector to envision how the new brand could be translated into a cohesive web design, development, and SEM plan. The challenge lay in making its wide variety of resources for new and veteran teachers – including curriculums, instructions, assessments, and leadership materials – more accessible.
Whether it’s for a full university, one or more colleges or departments within, or a related but unaffiliated organization, Vector is committed to finding personalized solutions that work best for our clients, even on tight deadlines at their busiest time of the year.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Vector worked closely with HMH on all aspects of their marketing campaign. As an ongoing client, we continue to work with them to ensure that every part of their site brings them the best SEO and PPC results.
Many of our higher education clients stay with us for ongoing work. Often this includes weekly scans to adapt and improve their websites which, due to their size and content, are constantly changing and evolving.
Columbia University’s School of Engineering recently observed their 150th anniversary, and asked Vector to help them launch a site that would engage alumni and celebrate a long history.