Great Tips for Creating a Horrible School Website

Usually we leave links to our Twitter account, but we couldn’t resist with this one. It’s a list of 15 ways to create a horrible non-profit website, and each one is very funny while being painfully true.

There are a few I find to be common for Catholic Schools, so I’ll expand on them here:

3. Replace pages or menu items with PDFs.

PDFs have their place in web design. Some forms need to be downloaded, and there is other downloadable content that makes sense to appear in PDF form. However, many Catholic schools will take normal content and place that into a PDF instead of formatting the content for the web. We’ve seen this done with everything from simple informational data to important marketing content like the history of the school.

PDFs take visitors out of the “walled garden” of the site, and into a realm designers can’t control. Some browsers open PDFs right in the browser window, and some download them to some folder on the user’s computer. It is the ultimate disruptive experience for a viewer, so make sure that PDFs are used appropriately, and that links are clearly marked if they lead to a PDF.

1. Let everyone on your staff and board give feedback on your design, and apply everyone’s preferences.

There are many people who could possible want to give feedback to your design and expect for their ideas to be implemented in the next round. We’ve written an entire article on this – about creating a decision making process . It’s important, and can make or break a site redesign.

12. Leave design to a volunteer

Although volunteers are oftentimes the lifeblood of many groups within a Catholic school, any designer will tell you that paid work comes first – always. You will eventually get something, but it will be most likely rush and late. Sometimes this arrangement works out, but only very, very rarely.

Catholic schools are very fortunate to have volunteers that donate their time and efforts to various tasks for the school. Keep in mind, however, that your designer will be designing a very public face for the school, and that design is a very difficult and time consuming process.


Humorous articles like this point to s0mething very important – there are common pitfalls for organizations like Catholic schools, and staying away from them will make your project run a lot smoother.