Hero Image

7 Higher Education Website Header Designs That Improve User Engagement

Slideshows are a visual aspect that can add to the user experience. Information items are cycled in sequential order, often slideshows are used in conjunction with a hero banner to highlight a variety of key topics. Slideshows are an opportunity to add a storytelling element for branded narratives and tailored calls to action. 

Hero Banners and slideshows are both great tools to use that will encourage visitors to explore your site. That, combined with a simple, easy-to-use navigation menu creates a functional and intuitive website design. Higher education websites often have multiple sites attributed to their main homepage as well as several portals that need to be accessed by students and faculty. With comprehensible categories, your website can be organized in a way that makes it effortless for information to be accessed. 

Here are a few examples of universities and colleges that have designed their headers using slideshows and navigation menus that stand out and snag the attention of users from the very beginning and guide them through their entire visit.

A compilation of various website header designs from institutions of higher education

Use slideshows to Showcase Your School


The University of Northern British Columbia website is a great example of using a slideshow to tell their institution’s story. Their homepage features a hero banner with a slideshow, presenting a variety of key information. The content is meant to connect with different audiences so that each visitor will find information that is valuable to them. 

University of Northern British Columbia website header with slideshow


The University of Waterloo has included a slideshow on its website. Here, high-quality images have been used along with colour contrast and different variations of their school’s branded colours to grab the attention and engage with potential students and different audiences.  

University of Waterloo website header


The University of Chicago uses its slideshow as a highlight reel. Their header keeps visitors up-to-date on current university events and spotlights distinguishing student and faculty accomplishments. 

Chicago University website header


Oxford University uses its slideshow to keep students, future students and alumni alike engaged throughout their entire visit. With virtual open house events and weekly, live, at-home tutorials with an array of subjects offered to visitors as soon as they click on the page.  

Oxford university website header

Improve Higher Ed Site Navigation


The University of Virginia uses Drupal to power its website. Their site navigation is a great example of how straightforward the menu can be. This enables users to have a productive visit while on your site while keeping the institution’s branding consistent throughout.

University of Virginia website header


Davidson College has a comprehensive navigation menu that visitors can click on to expand over a video featured in their header. Expanding navigation is a unique way to organize website content. A design like this gives you the chance to play up the visuals and storytelling components on your school’s website. 

Davidson College website header


Queen’s University has designed its navigation so that content is divided into broad categories which users can hover over to view drop-down menus with even more specific information. This keeps the homepage tidy and makes the visit intuitive for prospective students and other audiences. 

Queen's University Website header

To Summarize


Recently, there has been a need for institutions of higher education to acclimate to changes in technology and cultural shifts, on top of the pressure that already exists to generate revenues and live up to student demands for engagement. Headers play a big role in leading demographics through their journey and guiding users through the decision-making process.

OPIN partners with the leading higher education institutions, helping them create industry-leading designs. OPIN’s data-driven and user experience approach to design has played a key role in all of our work. 

Find out how your institution can tie these design concepts together by reading our blog Designing Footers for Higher Education Institutions.

Thanks for reading!

Julia Adler

Marketing Coordinator

Julia is a creative and passionate content creator who thrives in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. She uses her background in communications to drive results. Her readiness to take on a challenge and eagerness to contribute allows her to think differently with a consumer-centric approach.



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