Web Design | Overview

For a printer-friendly summary of the course information, click on this Course Description document.

What

This course will give you the knowledge and skills to design professional-quality websites for business, entertainment, or personal uses. There are no prerequisites other than a basic familiarity with computers and an interest in learning.

How

In this course, students of all backgrounds and interests will gain an understanding of how to create websites that are both functional and attractive. Developing a website involves delving into design and technology. We will explore both aspects of the process.

There will be a series of short assignments during the course, and you will build a small but functional website as a final project, with the possibility to work in small teams. There will be flexibility in the topic for the final project, allowing you to explore subjects that interest you.

Why

In today’s online world, websites are the essential medium for communication and information in business, entertainment, education, government, and almost any other aspect of life you can think of. Most of us use one website or another every day.

Learning how to construct a website is valuable for many reasons: it’s a very marketable skill, valuable knowledge for your own needs, and useful for a better understanding of how websites work. At a minimum, after this course, you can be a smarter consumer of online information. Regardless of your motivation, this course will give you the tools for the practice of web design.

Goals

There are many pairs of words or concepts related to the digital world that can be seen as opposites:

technical | creative
engineering | design
logical | intuitive
business | entertainment
group | individual
text | image
developer | client
left brain | right brain
etc.

(Image from WIkimedia)

Creativity and technology, in particular, are often thought of as being on opposite ends of some imaginary spectrum. I believe this is a fundamentally wrong way to think about the design process (in any field). Many people do tend to be stronger in one side or the other of these pairs. But to produce good results in web design, and many other pursuits involving technology, you always need some of both.

In this course, there will be room for all kinds of learners to contribute in different ways. You’ll be able to exploit your various strengths and develop new skills on both ends of the spectrum.