Originally, Harrow School was just one room - the Fourth Form Room. Four classes went on in the four corners of the room simultaneously. Today, the school spans 300 acres, comprising 12 Boarding Houses, accommodation for all teaching staff, six conservation areas, a golf course, farm, observatory and registered park, alongside all the usual teaching and learning facilities.
The responsibility of building a website for one of Britain's most prestigious schools was not something we took lightly, and with Head of Projects, Jess Clarke, at the helm, the Harrow School website has become an outstanding example of a large scale project proudly delivered on time, on brand and with an exceptional user journey.
As a marketing tool, the Harrow school website serves to highlight the tremendous tradition and growth that a Harrow education provides, as well as creating an essential communication channel for the 700 people who work at Harrow, 150 of whom are teachers. This was an important balance to achieve because one of the core aims of the project was to engage and unite Harrow's community through its website, whilst always being mindful that it had to be intuitive and welcoming for new visitors.
The website's clean, modern styling is another fundamental part of its character. The refined graphic details and elegant white space helps convey the premium quality of the school and strengthen the impact of the vibrant photography. It is also a strategic choice to keep the file size of the page down to support a fast loading experience.
Site visitors looking to find information quickly can click on a FAQ page, placed in the top right hand corner (where the eye is naturally drawn). It delivers succinct information for prospects without having to browse the website. As a selective school, this has been really helpful for visitors keen to understand Harrow's positioning before diving in.
For those looking for a more immersive experience, the menu is balanced in size and subject matter and the choice of web page content reflects a balance between academic rigour, extra-curricular opportunity and pastoral care that Harrow has to offer. The content writers at Harrow have adopted an eloquent and simple writing style that appeals to their domestic and international audiences. Extensive effort was taken to redesign and streamline the page structure at the start of the project in order to maximise ease of use and really focus the school's online messaging.
On the homepage, a rotating header lets visitors explore Harrow's most important news. The volume and diversity of activities taking place at Harrow makes the school really unique among its competitors, making this the perfect starting point to convey. Word spreads when you have President Obama visiting your school on your homepage. Site visitors can seamlessly scroll down the home page to meet the sophisticated photo collage that accompanies a panel titled 'What would you like to do'.
Quite simply, this section is dedicated to things that you can do on the website including.
- Book a historical Tour
- Book an open morning
- See a prospectus
- Hire spaces and facilities
- Research the archive
A web page dedicated to the Old Speech Room Gallery, appeals to academics and members of the public who are interested in the rich history of the school. The Old Speech Room was built around 1820 as a space where boys could learn the art of public speaking. In 1976, it was converted into a gallery for the school's distinguished collection of antiquities and fine art. The page is used to promote the gallery to the public and to PhD and MA students who frequently apply to study the collections.
A very distinctive alumni page promotes some of Harrow's famous former pupils, taking the emotional engagement to a new level by showcasing biographical profiles that reveal a photo each child during their school days on hover.
An interactive map reveals the impressive grounds of the school, and features each of the Boarding Houses along with a short introduction of the Housemasters.
One of the most exciting features of the site is Explore Harrow, an online gallery page which showcases news, music, video and photo galleries. This visual page is categorised to help filter the content by media type i.e video, audio, image.
The showcase page reinforces the breadth of talent across multiple subject areas of the school and is aimed to trigger an emotional response in the site visitor who can imagine their son walking in the footsteps of a Harrow school boy.