Web Design



In this one-credit course we will explore web design by creating a website for existing academic content using cloud-based software. At the beginning of the course each student will propose an interactive project that will transform their content developed in other courses into a publicly accessible website. Each student will develop the architecture of their website by creating a site structure, a system of navigation, and textual and visual content. We will also explore the visual design of the website through lectures, exercises, and demonstrations on color, imagery, positioning, and typography. This course assumes no prior knowledge of design or technology.


By the end of this course a student who has completed the course successfully will be able to:

  • Create and organize interactive content into hypertextual systems that respond to the questions and problems articulated by their audience
  • Describe the design principles and theories that influence how visual communication is expressed and perceived
  • Choose a color palette, typography, and imagery that create a unique digital environment or voice that contextualizes the information presented
  • Use digital tools and techniques to create information that is interactive and animated
  • Use problem-solving skills to organize information visually and create interactive paths through information
  • Critically and historically analyze and contextualize their interactive work and the work of other digital media artists


  • Subscription to lynda.com
  • Access to Adobe Photoshop (can be through use of open lab)
  • Domain name (optional)
  • Additional drawing and design supplies as needed


Attendance in this class is critical. In each class you will learn tools and techniques and discuss ideas that you will build upon in subsequent classes. I keep track of attendance by passing around a sign-in sheet at the beginning of class. If your name is not on the sheet you will be considered absent. I do not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences—instead I consider how the classes and content you have missed will impact your success in the course. Each student is allowed up to one absence. If you have missed more than one class you will not be able to continue in the course. Frequent lateness will also have a negative effect on your performance in the course–every three latenesses will be considered equal to one absence. If you are not in class you must review the material on the website and get notes from a classmate since you are still responsible for the material covered in class as well as any in class assignments. You can also visit my office during my office hours to get an overview of what I went over in class.


Your final grade will be compiled from your participation grade, your presentation grade, your journal grade, and your grades for projects. Each grade will be weighted as follows:

Participation (10%)

The ability to speak for yourself and your work is one of the most important skills a digital media artist has. In this class there will be many forums for you to practice speaking, including collaborative exercises, critical conversations about artists’ work, and peer critiques. Your participation in these activities will be taken into account in your final grade.

Exercises (10%)

There will be in-class exercises that provide an opportunity for you to work with classmates to experiment with different aspects of visual design. These exercises will be graded with a ✓, ✓+, ✓- based on the level of imagination and aesthetic inventiveness that your group demonstrates in their project.

Projects (80%)

In this class there are seven phases of the project, one for each week, including the final website. Each phase will count for 10% of your grade and the final website will be worth 20%. Please take note of the due dates. Assignments MUST BE READY at the START of class on the date due to be considered on time. If you cannot be in class the day that the projects are due the project must be printed and uploaded or sent to me before class starts to be considered on time. Late projects will be marked down one grade for each day they are late including the date they are due if they are received after the start of class.


In order to complete the assignments for this class, you must be prepared to work independently during the hours that the lab is open. The Digital Media Lab is reserved for students enrolled in Digital Media classes. The lab will be open 24 hours a day and on weekends during the semester through swipe access except when classes are scheduled. There is a studio assistant available to help you with technical questions several hours each week. It is important to familiarize yourself with the lab and studio assistant schedule that is posted on the door to the lab and on the website.


I created a website to accommodate the changing needs of this class. All of the lectures, projects, and demonstrations that are discussed in class will be on this website. If class is canceled or you are absent you can check the website to see what you need to do for the next class. This is also an excellent resource to review skills and concepts.


In this course there are many opportunities for lively discussion and debate. However it is important to think about how your comments may impact other members of the class. When you speak you must speak respectfully of all people–including your peers and myself. In this class we will work to create an environment that is intellectually safe and has a spirit of collaboration and trust. When you enter the classroom turn off all cell phones and other potentially distracting devices during class. Please pay attention to what we are doing in class and take notes. Be polite, respectful, and attentive while others are speaking. If you do not respect the rules of our classroom community you will be given a warning and then asked to leave.


If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you must formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator for Student Access Services. You will also need to provide documentation which verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request. For further information, please call 580-8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center.


I want each of you to be successful in this class. I want you to make work that that inspires you and your peers. I want you to push me and the other students to find new ways of approaching the materials and the tools we are using. I want you to emerge an innovative and creative digital media artist. I am here to support you in these goals. If you have any questions, small or large, technical or conceptual, please come see me. My office hours are posted on the website. I can also make an appointment to meet with you at another time that is more convenient. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are having trouble or need help.


Week 1

Introduction to Web Design
Review Syllabus
Sign up for Individual Meetings
Movement of Data
Critique: Assignment 1 – Web Proposal

Week 2

Creating a Site Structure
How the Web Works
The Elements of User Experience
Writing Web Content / How We Read
Hierarchy and Navigation
Demonstration: Creating a sitemap and wireframes
Web Cartography (Collaborative Exercise)
Critique: Assignment 2 – Content

Week 3

Creating Imagery and Text
Demonstration: Editing photographs
Demonstration: Adding type to your website
Critique: Assignment 3 – Site Structure & Text

Week 4

Organizing Information
Demonstration: Adding images and creating navigation for your website
Work in class
Critique: Assignment 4 – Assets: Texts & Photographs

Week 5

Choosing Color & Type
Basic Color Theory
Type Classification & Anatomy
Personalities (Collaborative Exercise)
Hierarchy and Contrast
Critique: Assignment 5 – Working Website

Week 6

Testing Usability
Task-based Usability Tests
Quality Control (Collaborative Exercise)
Demonstration: Developing personas
Critique: Assignment 6 – Beta Website

Week 7

Launching a Website
Search Engine Optimization
Demonstration: Analyzing web statistics and registering a domain
Critique: Assignment 7 – Final Website