MA Web Design & Content Planning

Content Management


Course code : DESI1206
Course co-ordinator : David Watson
Course tutor : David Watson
Course weighting : 30 Credits

This course builds on the skills developed during the Design for Web Content course and covers the design and implementation of medium to large scale websites. It is concerned with some server-side technologies, such as PHP scripting and MySQL databases in addition to the more advanced development of client-side technologies such as JavaScript. The focus of this course is on the creation of websites with “user-centred” design techniques and on improving efficiency in the building and management of larger sites.

The web designer must also be able to build and deploy sites that are easy to manage. This may be achieved by adopting a modular approach to design and by employing PHP and by creating sites with dynamic content using databases. For such sites, security is also a major consideration and this course covers the basics.

Aims and Outcomes


The course runs during Term 2 and consists of four main elements - workshops, online dialogue, coursework and projects.


The workshops will focus on “webpage design” in the widest sense of the words. We will cover both technical and aesthetic aspects during the workshops and lively dialogue is encouraged. The various topics are given on the timetable although this is only meant to be indicative and may change to suit specific requirements. Detailed tutorials etc. may be given at the workshop sessions or made available on-line. It must be stressed that complete coverage of the topics under consideration cannot be dealt with during the workshops and you will need to allocate time to follow up each workshop with further study.

Online Dialogue

Online teaching and support is available from a number of resources. Firstly, you may contact the course tutor by email. However, for general comment and discussion, students should engage with the course tutor, other tutors and other students on the programme at the online forum. This is a public forum, specifically set up for this programme but it also has a number of private areas where course and programme specific topics can be discussed. It is well used and a popular method of communication among the other students. Your questions will be answered either by the course tutor or by other members of the forum. Use of the forum is an integral part of the learning process and you are expected to become active members. We see the forum as being a way of documenting current trends and news and a place for discussion. The forum already contains a large amount of information and is a valuable resource tool as well as an excellent “forum” for debate.

Online activity also includes blogging and commenting on other students' blog posts. You will be provided with a personal blog for the submission of written work but you may also use the blog to publish any relevant material.


Most weeks you will be given one or more tasks and some recommended reading to be completed for the following week. Some tasks will build on work completed the previous week so it's important not to fall behind. There is no assessed coursework for this course but it does form an important part of the learning process.


In addition to coursework, there are 2 projects that must be completed by the dates given in the course schedule and made available online using the web space provided. In general, project briefs are issued after relevant topics have been covered in the workshops to ensure that all students are able to complete the work. A studio crit is held the week before submission so that help, advice and feedback can be given before project work is submitted. It is particularly important to meet deadlines for project work as they constitute 100% of the assessment for this course.

Student Websites

You must keep an online directory of all the work you produce for this course and all other courses on this programme. We recommend you use your hosted web space to create a directory of your work with links to the various elements. Advice will be given on how best to do this. You can see a list of all our current students and links to their work on the Current students page.