Best practices and tips for designing educational websites

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5 Jul
13 Mar

Imagine a situation when you may stumble across a website promising to unlock the secrets of the universe (or at least ace your next history quiz). But instead of feeling excited, you get hit with a wall of text, confusing navigation, and visuals that haven’t aged well since dial-up days.

Remember the educational websites of yesteryear? Text-heavy labyrinths that made even the most fascinating topic feel like an uphill battle. But fear not, new technologies are rewriting the script, and we’re here to help you navigate. We’ll skip the boring lectures and jump straight into actionable tips and best practices so you can create a learning experience that’s as fun as it is informative.

The importance of design for educational websites

Educational websites aren’t just digital bulletin boards anymore. They’re learning platforms catering to a diverse audience, from curious kids and students to lifelong learners, busy professionals seeking new skills, and even teachers themselves searching for resources. This audience craves information that’s accessible, engaging, and presented in a way that meets their specific needs.

But it’s not just about keeping learners happy. Educational institutions, businesses, and individuals offering online courses all have clear goals: increased enrollment, knowledge retention, brand awareness, and, ultimately, a positive impact on their target audience. This is where design becomes the foundation for progress.

Types of websites for the educational sphere

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all educational websites. Today, a variety of platforms cater to every learning style and subject imaginable. Courses, workshops, lessons, sessions — the list goes on, much like the options of educational websites available in the market. But don’t get lost in this diversity. Instead, let’s take a closer look at each type in more detail.

E-learning platforms

Engaging video lessons, interactive quizzes, and community forums enliven studying, making e-learning platforms a priority choice for many. These websites are full of courses, neatly organized by topic and skill level, accessible from the comfort of your couch. The content is created by experts in various fields, from programming languages to astrophysics, and the amount of materials is updated daily. It’s a place where learners from around the globe gather to share ideas, challenge their understanding, and grow together.

Choose self-paced learning to fit your schedule, or opt for instructor-led courses with live sessions and deadlines for added structure.

Academic websites

Imagine a portal to the heart of academia, brimming with scholarly articles, historical documents, and interactive simulations. That’s the realm of academic websites crafted by universities, research institutions, and museums. These virtual hubs cater to curious minds seeking in-depth knowledge of specific academic fields. Here, you’ll find yourself in a community dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, where learning is both a passion and a purpose.

Language learning websites

Converse with locals in a bustling Parisian cafe, navigate directions in Tokyo, or understand the nuances of a classic Italian poem. Language learning websites make these scenarios a reality, transforming your screen into a personalized language lab. These platforms make you ditch rote memorization and embrace engaging exercises, gamified challenges, and bite-sized lessons. You can start speaking from day one through audio recordings, practicing pronunciation with AI tutors, and exploring different authentic cultural contexts.

Skill development platforms

Forget dusty textbooks and monotonous lectures. Skill development platforms are digital workshops bursting with interactive projects, expert-led tutorials, and personalized learning paths. You can go beyond theory and create real-world projects, craft marketing campaigns, design logos, or compose music. With these websites, users learn by doing, gaining practical experience that translates directly to their goals.

Learning platforms offer a variety of opportunities

Educational gaming websites

Say goodbye to the classroom blues! Educational gaming websites transform learning into an interactive playground, captivating young minds, and adults. This is a place where learning becomes an adventure, and every challenge conquered strengthens your understanding. Games tap into our natural desire for play and competition, fueling engagement and motivating us to push further. The thrill of unlocking new levels, earning rewards, and competing with friends keeps users coming back for more, learning almost without realizing it.

Tutoring websites

With tutoring websites, you can have a dedicated learning coach readily available, offering one-on-one support and tailored instruction. While browsing through these platforms, you can check profiles of experienced tutors, filtering by subject expertise, teaching style, and even personality traits. Plus, it’s easy to schedule sessions that fit your busy routine, whether it’s early mornings, late evenings, or even weekends. The convenience of online learning allows you to access high-quality tutoring from anywhere in the world and at any time.

Open educational resource (OER) repositories

The power of open educational resource repositories lies in offering a vast library overflowing with textbooks, lesson plans, multimedia resources, and more — all completely free to access. These online hubs empower learners and educators by providing a wealth of high-quality educational materials open for anyone to use, adapt, and share. You can find licensed materials, tailor them to suit your learning style and remix them with other resources to create something new.

Test preparation websites

To get the knowledge and skills to navigate a variety of exams with confidence, give a try to test preparation websites. Here, you can experience realistic practice questions that mirror the format and difficulty level of the actual exam. After all, analyze your performance, identify strengths and weaknesses, and refine your test-taking strategies with each attempt. As a bonus, you can gain valuable insights from experienced instructors and test-prep specialists to create a learning strategy tailored to the specific exam you’re taking.

Online course marketplaces

In a marketplace bursting with knowledge, countless instructors offer courses on diverse subjects, from astrophysics to pottery, all within reach of a click. These platforms offer a variety of options that differ by subject, skill level, instructor credentials, and budget. Also, you can read reviews from previous students and preview course content to ensure the learning experience matches your expectations.

Virtual classrooms

The beauty of virtual classrooms is that users can study directly from the comfort of their couch. Using these platforms allows you to participate in live lectures, discussions, and collaborative projects alongside fellow learners from across the globe. Engage in Q&A sessions, share ideas in breakout rooms, and leverage voice and video chat to replicate the dynamism of a traditional classroom experience. No more geographical limitations — virtual classrooms open doors to educational opportunities regardless of location, making learning accessible to all.

Effective time management, self-discipline, and active participation are key to making the most of the virtual classroom learning experience.

Top 5 essential design features for educational website

So, how do you build an educational website that stands out from the crowd? It’s a given that it needs to be visually appealing. But beyond that, there’s a whole spectrum of elements you need to consider. User experience must be engaging, informative, and accessible, and how to do this we’ll tell you in the next part.

User-friendly navigation

When users can’t find what they need quickly, they get frustrated and leave. Intuitive navigation keeps visitors engaged, preventing them from clicking away and missing the information you provide. Clear structures and logical categories across pages make your website welcoming to everyone in their learning journey.

Also, search engines love well-organized websites. Easy navigation helps them understand your content, making it more discoverable online and attracting a wider audience. This, in turn, can lead to a higher ranking spot and an advantage over the competition.

Responsive design

When users can’t find what they need quickly, they get frustrated and leave. Intuitive navigation keeps visitors engaged, preventing them from clicking away and missing the information you provide. Clear structures and logical categories across pages make your website welcoming to everyone in their learning journey.

Engaging content

A dry text might inform, but it rarely inspires. Engaging content, like interactive exercises, multimedia elements, and relatable narratives, captures attention, fuels curiosity, and helps learners retain information more effectively. And let’s not forget that not everyone learns the same way. Creating content with various visuals, audio, and elements can cater to different learning styles and ensure users connect with the material in a meaningful way.

An educational site requires more than adding info on a page

Interactive learning tools

Interactive tools like quizzes, games, and simulations captivate learners, turning the acquisition of knowledge into an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Users can go beyond passive reading, as interactive tools encourage hands-on exploration and experimentation. This solidifies knowledge retention and promotes a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Secure user accounts

Educational institutions and platforms often handle sensitive data (age, grades, etc.), requiring adherence to data privacy laws like the GDPR and the CCPA. Websites, web applications, and other software must implement protections against credential attacks, while failure to comply could result in significant fines. Plus, when users know their information is safeguarded, they feel more comfortable engaging with your website and sharing personal data when necessary.

With robust security measures, you can rest easy knowing user’s details are shielded from prying eyes.

Tips for making an educational website successful

A good-looking website is just a starting point. To truly connect with your audience, you need to go beyond facts and figures. Now, we want to introduce some main strategies that will transform your website from a static information hub into a dynamic platform. So, let’s uncover what to pay attention to.

Ensure accessibility compliance

Everyone deserves equal access to education, and ensuring your website complies with accessibility standards reflects your commitment to inclusivity and creates a welcoming environment for all. While removing accessibility barriers, you can attract a wider audience, including individuals with visual impairments, motor limitations, and cognitive differences, significantly expanding your potential user base.

Enable global access for students

Without geographical limitations, you open doors to diverse learners, enriching the learning experience for everyone. Make essential information and resources available in multiple languages, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for diverse learners. Also, display content and activities according to different time zones to foster inclusivity and participation from all corners of the globe.

Create designs that are adaptable and flexible

User needs and preferences shift over time. A flexible design allows you to tailor your website based on feedback, data, and emerging trends, keeping your audience engaged and satisfied. Choose design tools and frameworks that offer flexibility, prioritize modular content structures, and actively gather user impressions to understand evolving needs. Be prepared to iterate and update your website regularly, embracing change as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Prioritize a clear hierarchy of information

A well-organized website is a joy to navigate. When users can quickly find what they need without frustration, they will be happy to come back again. Additionally, a clear structure benefits everyone, including users with cognitive differences who rely on predictable layouts for efficient navigation. Use concise language, avoid jargon, and break down complex information into smaller, digestible chunks.

Best educational website designs

Now that you’ve learned the theory of building fantastic educational websites, it’s time to spark your creative vision! Sometimes, the best way to learn is by seeing it in action: exploring real-world examples of websites that have mastered the art of online learning. So, let’s start.


We’ve previously discussed tutoring platforms, and HeyTutor is a great example of this innovative educational model. It is a dynamic website designed to bridge the gap between teachers, students, and educational centers. By using this service, you can find a mentor in the area of your interest for personalized coaching and fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Tutors, in turn, can create custom profiles, set their own rates and policies, and browse for nearby jobs.

Dynamic and memorable web design of HeyTutor

When it came to creating a website, our goal was to encapsulate the essence of joyful, fast, and intelligent learning. We ventured beyond the conventional, integrating hand-drawn lines, arrows, various shapes, and minimalist icons to craft an identity that stands out from the competition.

Our design strategy focused on clarity and ease of use, achieved through the thoughtful use of color contrasts. Against a clean, light background, we introduced splashes of pastel hues — corn, lavender, mint, sky, and baby pink — to differentiate content areas and draw attention to specific aspects of the service.

The website homepage features compelling statistics that encourage students to start using the platform. Plus, the “Our Partners” and “Testimonials” sections enhance trust in the product. These elements provide proof of the platform’s effectiveness and showcase the strong network and positive feedback from users and esteemed partners.


Going back to the test preparation websites, Mometrix offers a wide array of study resources tailored to help users excel in standardized tests and achieve their educational or career goals. With a focus on the stuff that matters most for each exam, this platform utilizes study strategies and offers a variety of learning tools, including study guides, flashcards, practice questions, and online courses to accommodate different learning styles.

Easy to catch CTAs on the Mometrix website

Upon landing on the homepage, visitors are immediately captivated by a high-quality background image that commands attention. Below the main headline, three primary offerings of the website are prominently displayed — study guides, online courses, and flashcards. They’re all highlighted in this soothing yellow that’s super easy on the eyes but still pops.

If you have a specific subject in mind, there’s a search menu placed in the top right corner. This feature simplifies finding, so you don’t have to waste time scrolling. When clicking on the Academy page, visitors get access to a wealth of free tests, portals, and video lessons on pretty much any topic. To find the interesting one, users can search through the specific field or browse through lists of subjects arranged in an easy-to-navigate block format.


When talking about educational gaming websites, ABCya is a great one to look at. This platform offers over 300 educational games catering to children from PreK all the way up to 6th grade. Each activity is designed by parents and educators who believe learning should be as fun as playing. They’ve got everything sorted by grade and subject, so whether your kiddo is into multiplication, grammar, typing, or spotting patterns, they’re covered.

Unusual layout for new experiences in ABCya design

The website itself is captivating, with a solar system theme right on the homepage that instantly pulls you into its orbit. To select a game within a specific category, users are invited to click on a planet, each painted in an intriguing color, symbolizing different content areas.

Clicking on a desired grade unfolds a page offering further choices of skills to develop. Whether you tap “Letters,” “Numbers,” “Holiday,” “Strategy,” or “Skills,” you’re swept into a whirlwind of games designed both to entertain and educate. Plus, the site changes its look as you switch grades, keeping things fresh and exciting.

There’s also a search menu tucked in the top left corner, making it super easy to find games that focus on whatever skill you’re looking to polish. The “Join” button, animated and prominently located in the top menu, is designed to catch the eye and invite further interaction. Beyond the educational content, ABCya also offers games that prioritize pure fun in a safe environment.


Among online course marketplaces, Coursera is a world-known learning platform where anyone across the globe can boost their skills, career, and education. They’ve got it all — from quick projects and courses to full-blown degrees and certificates that are super relevant to today’s job market. With this platform, you can have a personal career booster at your fingertips.

Simplicity and minimalism of the Coursera website

To discover the course you’re seeking, just hit up the search bar at the top or take a leisurely scroll down to the footer for a list of info to pick from. And you know what’s reassuring? Loads of student reviews are right there, giving you the lowdown on how effective Coursera really is. Plus, the partnership section reflects the company’s high level of professionalism and encourages to sign up.

The site itself is a breath of fresh air, with its minimalist design that keeps you focused without any flashy distractions. Instead, the information is well-organized, with blue color subtly highlighting all the important bits you need to see. And there’s this cool section that tells you all about different careers, complete with what you might earn, how many jobs are out there, and the certs to get you noticed.

Halo Lab can help you with the website design for the educational sector

Creating an exceptional educational website requires careful planning, thoughtful design, and a deep understanding of learning principles. But you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Our professional website company specializes in crafting engaging and effective educational websites, and we are here to help you.

We understand the unique needs of schools and educational organizations and mix creativity, tech smarts, and a bit of strategy magic to make each project pop. Our team is focused on creating great and easy-to-use websites that speak to what your institution does.

Need a fresh look, or starting from zero? No worries, Halo Lab has got your back to make sure you stand out online in the education world. Get in touch, and let’s transform your website into a knowledge playground.

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