University Websites


I’ve looked up design theories for children’s websites and political campaigns, and now I want to look at what it takes to design a University’s website, such as my school’s, JMU!

I actually didn’t know that Webby had an awards ceremony for the best university/school’s websites, so I’m gonna talk about those. In 2016, the winner was the Harvard Business School, which has a lot of interactions and puts your sense to work because immediately after entering, you hear the sounds of a waterfall and birds chirping. The idea here is a “survival guide” (figure 1). Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 5.42.00 PM.png

(Figure 1) source:

This is a clever and genuine design for a serious business school. The best part is that when you scroll up or down, the person outlined in white with their HBS backpack walks along the yellow/orange path to their destination. This is a great, interactive way to get students to apply and become interested in the school. However, if I were a HBS student, this wouldn’t be fun to come to often if I needed information on something for my major.

The winner in 2016 for the “people’s voice” on Webby was Johns Hopkins University. This is designed much differently, with a video playing in the background that changes from a student playing a hand game with a child in a foreign country to the fast-paced life of the city in Baltimore. I think that the video already gives insight on what the school is like without having to scroll up or down. I wonder if that’s the goal when designing a university website?


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