10 Best Higher Education Websites in 2024

Written by Fransisca Smith

For many working in the higher education sector, digital innovation is at the forefront of their minds. Many institutions have worked hard to achieve the best higher education websites possible through the post-pandemic era. The pandemic accelerated the speed at which institutions embedded website technology within their university marketing.

 

Why having a strong website matters in higher education

The role of websites is now, more than ever, seen as the crucial link that links the digital with the physical world within colleges and universities – so having the best possible higher education website is seen as a key point of competition and comparison for students. In education, digital innovation serves to enhance the student learning experience and opens up a wealth of avenues for how education can be accessed and consumed.

Within digital, the best higher education website designs aim to solve one of the most pressing and most modern challenges of any online experience: attract and convert the highest achieving members of Gen Z (and, as soon as 2027, Generation Alpha) to study with them. This presents a challenge within UI and UX: a discerning, committed and vibrant young audience deserves the best online experiences available.

There are many challenges to designing higher education websites. UX and accessibility play important roles in how education websites serve their audiences. Alongside this, institutions will also have the challenge of incorporating their brand and messaging to reach their target audiences.

In this blog, we take a deep dive into some of our favourite higher education websites this year and why we think they are excellent examples.

 

Our countdown of the 10 best higher education websites in 2024

  1. Ravensbourne University London
  2. Churchill College, Cambridge
  3. Heidelberg University
  4. The University of Exeter
  5. Queen Mary University of London
  6. The University of Southampton
  7. The University of Essex
  8. Wadham College, Oxford
  9. Oriel College, Oxford
  10. UCA, University for the Creative Arts

1. Ravensbourne University London

A screenshot the website homepage of Ravensbourne University, London

Ravensbourne University London is a digital media and design university located in London’s vibrant Greenwich. The website is bold, bright and colourful. Users are immediately drawn in through various textures, patterns and visual content. The website is appealing to the design & arts community with its use of colour, copy and interactive content. While its focus is clearly on a specific type of artistic, creative student, its delivery on its brand promise for this group clearly makes it one of the best higher education websites online in 2024.

We especially love the website’s use of Mondrianism in its navigation menu, which helps users find what they need quickly and efficiently. Overall, the website is successful in balancing big, bold and bright content with impressive performance and speed.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 93

Performance: 96

2. Churchill College

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from the website homepage of Churchill College, University of Cambridge

Chruchill College is the largest campus in Cambridge and forms part of the University of Cambridge. With a focus on science, technology and engineering, the college is one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world, and has often been referred to as the UK’s answer to MIT.

The website is clean, light and modern, appealing to its target audiences. There is a keenness to visual content without being overpowering and modernity to the colour pallet.

We especially love site’s strong UX and menu structure for such a broad site. The amount of content on the website does not deter from its overall performance and speed.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 92

Performance: 94

The Crucible team had the pleasure of re-designing the Churchill College website and are proud to have improved overall performance and accessibility for the site. Crucible specialise in website design & development and are dedicated to helping higher education websites perform at their best.

View the Case Study

 

3. Universität Heidelberg

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from Universität Heidelberg - Heidelberg University

Heidelberg University is an internationally networked research institution dedicated to research-oriented teaching. The university helps to address the issues facing humanity and is invested in forward-thinking research.

The website is a lovely representation of the institution’s values and mission. It is clean, fast and adopts an extremely modern layout. The site is academic in its focus and even with its broad structure, it maintains its cleanliness alongside neat and unobtrusive interactions. The website doesn’t compromise on captivating the attention of its users with sharp visuals and well defined modules.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 76

Performance: 95

4. University of Exeter

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from the University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a public research university located in Devon, England. It has strong research-led initiatives and is invested in developing climate studies in particular.

The website is a great example of a university successfully balancing academia and the social aspects of higher education. It engages audiences with big and bright images, clear CTAs and varied typography.

We especially love the site’s strong UX on the homepage. Users can easily search for their intended course or website journey.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 91

Performance: 44

5. Queen Mary University of London

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from the website homepage of Queen Mary University, London

Queen Mary University of London is a public research university located in London. It’s well known for its prestigious medical school, Barts, which offers Medicine and Dentistry courses.

The website takes on a more traditional layout and emphasises UX and searchability. The website is clean, simple and navigable with clean borders and grids.

We especially love that the brand identity can be seen throughout the site with lovely little details such as gradient borders on card modules.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 93

Performance: 95

6. The University of Southampton

A screenshot from the website homepage of the University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is a public research university located in England, Southampton. It is well-known for its National Oceanography Centre and boasts leading Ocean and Earth science courses.

The website is engaging and the prominent search bar on the homepage is similar to those used on large, UX-focused platform-based sites like Airbnb and Uber. This UX encourages a commitment from users at the very start of their journeys and allows quick segmentation and specialisation of content.

The website is structured with clean and easily identifiable grids and CTAs. We especially love the site’s megamenu, which aids navigation and helps users reach their goals seamlessly.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 85

Performance: 95

7. The University of Essex

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from the website homepage of the University of Essex

The University of Essex was named University of the Year in 2018 and is ranked highly on an International scale for its research-intensive teaching.

As an esteemed academic institution, the website challenges traditional layouts and typography by opting for modernity and boldness. There are many exciting aspects of the website such as its clever use of transitions, visual effects and animations.

We especially love that the website has a clear and defined voice, focusing the appeal of its messaging on undergraduates.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 91

Performance: 98

8. Wadham College, Oxford

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from the website homepage of Wadham College, University of Oxford

Wadham College is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

The website is clean, easy to understand and adopts straightforward scrolling. It is extremely well-optimised for mobile which is essential in reaching a young audience. The site is a great example of balanced typography with clean colours and highlighted text for further emphasis.

We especially love the website’s use of video, which can be seen throughout, including the hero on the homepage.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 99

Performance: 95

9. Oriel College, Oxford

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2023 from the website homepage of Oriel College, University of Oxford

Like Wadham College, Oriel College is another constituent college of the University of Oxford. It hosts prestigious modern language, literary and classics courses alongside the rest of the university’s subject areas.

The website has a clear and defined voice that accurately represents the institution. There is a lovely focus on the college’s people and the student experience, which can be seen with its use of images and copy. The typography is light, fresh and clear with highlights emphasising key points. What we think makes this one of the best higher education websites around is its site’s storytelling: it is always a challenge to give a clear, unique verbal identity to a university but this site makes it look easy. The tone of voice is defined and it is clear who you are talking to and why.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 86

Performance: 74

10. UCA | University for the Creative Arts

A screenshot of one of the top 10 best higher education websites in 2024 from the website homepage of the University for the Creative Arts

The University for the Creative Arts is a specialist art and design university located in the south of England. It hosts world-renowned arts courses, including animation, architecture and art history.

The website is attention-grabbing, visually stunning and bold; it’s clear who the target audience is for this site. There are some exciting interactions across the site and broad use of captivating visual elements.

We especially love the site’s accessibility features. It is an incredibly impressive example of the education sector adopting technology to enhance the student experience and create a more inclusive space.

PageSpeed Ratings

Accessibility: 96

Performance: 68
 

Need help with building the best higher education website possible?

Crucible is a London-based digital agency specialising in website design and development. If you’re looking for support on your next project or working on higher education websites, get in touch below to set up a quick chat! If you’re ready to get going on your own website project but don’t know where to start, have a read of our blog!

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