Navigating Your Way to Success

a woman reaches through one screen as an arm hands her a letter.

In K-12 education, maintaining an effective online presence is paramount. Parents and students rely on your school district websites for information, but how you present your content has a huge impact on how much these users will trust your website. Your school website should make it easy for users to find the information they need - and we’re here to show you how! If it’s easy for users to find the information they need, they’ll keep coming back to your website making it easier to share information with them.

 

Organize Content Effectively in Your Menu

When planning out content on your website, especially in your menu, ensure that there’s a clear overarching structure and logic to where users can find different information. When content is logically organized, it creates a clear and intuitive structure for users to navigate. 

 

Sample school menu with top-level pages called, "Home, About, Parents, Programs, Activities & Athletics, Calendar, and Contact."
Keep your Menu Organized

An organized menu helps keep your website accessible too! For individuals using screen readers or other assistive technologies, a well-structured layout provides a roadmap for understanding and accessing information, letting them quickly navigate to their desired content. Logical organization ensures that users, regardless of their abilities, can easily comprehend the hierarchy of information on a webpage.

 

Place emphasis on main categories (such as “Programs” or “About”) that encapsulate broad areas of interest. Use these as the first-level pages of your menu: these primary labels serve as entry points for users seeking overarching information about academics, administration, or extracurricular activities. Subcategories (and subpages) can then provide more detailed information within these broader sections.

Learn the Anatomy of a Website

 

Provide Clear and Simple Navigation Labels

list of accordions detailing information about graduation: Ceremony and date, graduation pictures, Year book, Fundraising, and grad committee.
Use clear language on your page titles and headings.

Use clear and straightforward page titles and headings that accurately represent the content within each section to keep your website user-friendly and aligned with the needs of your school community. Use language that is straightforward, familiar, and easily understandable by a diverse audience. Remember, some parents may not speak English or be familiar with your school, so keeping language clear and free of jargon eliminates confusion and reduces the likelihood of users getting lost on your website. Instead, opt for labels that convey the content accurately and inclusively. For instance, use "Student Resources" instead of terms like "Learning Hub" or "Knowledge Center."

 

Keeping your page names or headings consistent across different pages (when appropriate) establishes a predictable pattern for users, enabling them to quickly understand how the website is organized. When users encounter familiar terms in various areas, it reinforces their understanding of the website's structure and helps them trust your website more.

 

Emphasize Important Information in Your Content

Use headings to make it easy to find content.

Effective navigation includes the use of headings and subheadings to break down content into digestible sections. Use these different text styles to create a natural flow and hierarchy within your pages and draw attention to crucial information through the content itself. Use formatting options available in your website’s text editor, such as different headings or bullet points, to highlight key announcements, upcoming events, or essential resources.

This not only enhances readability for all users, but is particularly beneficial for those with cognitive or visual impairments. Screen readers use heading structures to provide users with a concise overview of the page, enabling them to navigate directly to the sections of interest.

How to Make Your School Websites More Accessible

 

To ensure that parents and students can easily find what they’re looking for, your website’s navigation needs to be clear and easy for them to understand. Start with organizing your website’s menu with broad pages, then narrowing down into more specific subpages. Organize your content and make use of text styles to ensure your content is easy for all users to navigate through. These strategies ensure a user-friendly and informative experience for your website users.

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