Course Outline for Design Skills for Effective Websites

Week 1

Lesson 1- Form Versus Function

This course is a different from most Web creation courses you'll find because it's not designed to teach you the mechanics of creating a Web page or how to use a particular software program. Instead, it's designed to help you take your Web site creations to the next level by enhancing both design and functionality. Together, we'll discover what attracts visitors to a Web site, and how to use design tools such as typography, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and multimedia to captivate visitors and keep them coming back.

Lesson 2- Web Site Planning Process

Visitors are attracted by good design, but content is what keeps them at the site longer and motivates them to return. Learn how to use two tools to attract and retain visitors: design critiques and a content inventory. Explore the six major development stages that yield expert design and smart content. Then study the three parts of Web design and the skills you'll need for each.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Interface Design

By now, you probably understand that an interface is the screen visitors see and use when they visit any page of your site. Designing an interface is easy. Designing an effective interface, however, is more challenging. There are four main elements that you'll need to consider to make your site user-centric: usability, visualization, functionality, and accessibility. Explore each of these elements to see the thought that goes into effective interface design.

Lesson 4- Site Structure

Even if your basic content is accurate, attractive, and well written, your site won't function well without a solid and logical organizational foundation. Review the five basic steps involved in organizing information and four essential structures that you can use to build a Web site. Then learn how to create a flowchart for the pages you want to include on your site.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Site Design

Web sites exist to inform, educate, persuade, or entertain. Take this opportunity to concentrate on site design themes that pay attention to information delivery. Learn how to organize elements in order to enable visitors to accomplish their own goals. Explore usability, content, and design.

Lesson 6- Page Design

Discover how you can use visual and graphic design, page layout, and grids to take your designs to the next level. At the same time, become familiar with design considerations like visual hierarchy, page dimensions, and white space.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Typography on the Web

Typography plays a dual role by providing both verbal and visual communication. Almost any type of font will do to transmit information to others. But to convey the right type of mood along with the information takes a special type and color of font. Learn all the secrets here!

Lesson 8- CSS and Font Embedding

Find out how you can use Cascading Style Sheets to modify fonts. Become familiar with inline, document-level, and external (linked) style sheets, and learn how to create an external CSS file to control the formatting of any or all pages on your site. For the more adventurous, we'll also take a look at some early font embedding techniques and explore two popular Flash-related options currently in use.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Writing for the Web

Before you write for the Web, you should take the time to understand how people read online. Become familiar with the use of titles, headlines, and subheads to assist readers in navigating your site. Discover the advantages of using a Web content management system. Learn how you can communicate more easily and informally with Web visitors by adding a blog to your site.

Lesson 10- Images, Colors, and Layers

You can use images to add interest to your site and to help with navigation. Early designers were limited graphically by HTML attributes, and later designers discovered they could use tables to place images. Today's designers also have the option of using CSS to position images on the screen. But believe it or not, many people still use text-based browsers. So, you'll learn how to make the information you convey through your images accessible to those individuals as well.

Week 6

Lesson 11- CSS Positioning: More Layers

The combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript allows you to create intensely interactive Web applications similar to any game or presentation built with traditional programming languages. This interaction of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is known as Dynamic HTML or DHTML. Become familiar with the basics of DHTML, including code you can use to enhance your designs by adding layers to your pages.

Lesson 12- Web 2.0 and Beyond

Early Web sites were created by a few to be read by many. Over the years, developers added interactivity to Web sites through discussion forums, chat rooms, and shopping carts. These features are part of what I think of as Web 1.0. Today the focus has shifted from the sponsor of the site to the visitor, and sites like Flickr and YouTube are popular. They're examples of Web 2.0 sites. Examine several popular Web 2.0 sites, and take a look ahead to Web 3.0.

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‘Excellent course. I liked using a restaurant as a model and designing a web page - I learned a great deal about site design and am beginning the design of another site.’

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