23 Mar 5 Concepts to Enhance Your Financial Aid Website

by Dan Dreves, Director of School Partnerships, Financial Aid TV (FATV)

Want to spiff up your financial aid website? There are some great ways to improve your content organization and make information clear and concise. Consider these ideas to boost your webpages:

  1. Keep it concise. Remember students’ attention span may be limited so use easy-to-understand words and phrases. Avoid long paragraphs or sentences with dependent clauses. Focus on the essence and cut out unnecessary information.
  • Front-load keywords.
  • Use numbers instead of spelling them out.
  1. Use subheadings and bullets to break up content. Website usability expert Gerry McGovern concluded that website visitors use “block reading” – that is review webpages in blocks and sections. Plus ClickTale’s eye-tracking study indicated that users fixate longer on bulleted lists and text formatting. To help readers on financial aid websites be able to effectively skim the content, use sub headings to break up content.
  • Create an outline of content to determine subheading.
  • Use key-words.
  • Consider breaking up a paragraph into bulleted points.
  1. Whitespace can help. Spacing between characters, words, lines and paragraphs is important. Manipulate margins and spacing can increase reading comprehension for students on your financial aid website.
  • Consider increasing paragraph spacing beyond single line spacing.
  • Pad tables to increase margins.
  1. Strategically insert visuals. Tables, graphs, info-graphics, designed banners, and photos engage visitors. Visuals can reinforce content and enrich usability.
  • Present content in form of a table.
  • Find open-source graphics or stock images to break up content.
  1. Include videos. Videos can strengthen your content message and engage multiple senses. Plus studies show that people who see visuals and hear content are far more likely to retain the information days after exposure.
  • Embed financial aid videos near related text.
  • Consider using different video sizes based on the amount of text on the webpage.