What 170 HigherEd Website Homepage Images Reveal

image of set of screen shots of Canadian higher education websites

Higher Education Website Designs - What a Picture!

One, among many, features our higher education web estate oversight service offers is capturing and saving webpage screenshots. As we scan individual websites or entire web estates, we can snap webpage images as they appear in the desktop, tablet and mobile browser versions. Whether you are a web developer, designer, content strategist or UX specialist, the resulting webpage image galleries speed design, layout and user experience checking.

Higher Education Website Designs - Desktop vs. Mobile View

For this article we grabbed 170 Canadian higher education website homepage screenshots. Each image was captured as if it were being displayed in Google Chrome at standard 1920x1080 desktop screen dimensions. In practice it is more likely these pages will be predominantly viewed on mobile devices. A future post will examine desktop and mobile images of the same webpage to see how well responsive design implementations work.

Tagging Higher Education Website Homepage Images

We’ve assigned each image a tag describing its most prominent visual design feature, including any headlines or taglines:

  • buildings – an on-campus building
  • choices – no single focus but visitors can click links to execute defined tasks
  • individual – student, faculty or alumni profile
  • news – breaking or recent news
  • ranking – ranking or other institutional statistics
  • research – an example of current research
  • statement – a headline, mission or similar institutional statement
  • students – two or more students
  • work – a focus on career or work possibilities

Winnowing complex messaging and designs into a few categories lacks subtlety. However, we’ve selected the categories judiciously, because, in a subsequent post we’ll be repeating this exercise for UK university and college websites and later merging the two groups to highlight similarities and differences. For that exercise to have value we need the categories to be simple and to work for both: the canada tag will become relevant in due course.

In a few cases agreeing on a single tag was too difficult, so those images have more than one. In some cases the home pages use embedded video. Currently, we only take snapshots, so our captured image will not convey the same visual impact as the full video.

Does the Content Management System Matter? You Decide …

For interest we’ve added in the content management system (CMS) rendering the page layout and content. We've picked out the top six CMSs and grouped the remainder as, OTHER: all CMS tags are in upper case. AEM is Adobe Experience Manager.

Clicking on the tags below re-orders the gallery images to reveal various home page design and content strategy approaches.

Canadian Higher Education Website Homepage Images


If you had a vague concern about the homogeneity of higher education website designs our gallery was either a source of relief or confirmation.

We collected this article’s data using our higher education web estate management solution. Homepage images are one example of the content, user experience and risk insights to be obtained by analysing data captured from comprehensively scanning college and university websites.

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