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MA Web Design & Content Planning

Design for web content

Overview

Introduction

This module is all about the design and implementation of web pages and small websites. It covers the fundamentals of web design and is concerned with two of the three client-side technologies that form the “three layer web”; the structural layer, the presentation layer and the behavioural layer – HTML, CSS and JavaScript respectively. In this module, you will learn the core principles of working with HTML and CSS. JavaScript is covered in the Content Management module. The module also aims to develop an understanding of webpage aesthetics and looks at the use of colour, image, typography and general graphic design principles, although these are covered in more detail during the Applied Art for the Web module. This module also covers the web design process, from client brief through to deployment and promotion. As such, it can be considered a general introduction to web design which is why this is the first module taught on the Web Design & Content Planning programme.

With a group of students from diverse backgrounds, a programme such as Web Design & Content Planning requires some common currency among those taking part. This module acts as a foundation for further study and discussion. As such, we will cover some basic aspects of web design. This is not to undervalue what you may already know but to ensure that everyone has the same basic understanding of the issues.

This module is about the technical, aesthetic and philosophical aspects of web design in equal measure. It is not about learning how to use any particular piece of software. It is about gaining a fundamental understanding of how the web works and how to create webpages to a high standard.

Aims and outcomes

Format

The module runs during Term 1 and consists of four main elements – workshops, online dialogue, coursework and projects.

Workshops

The workshops will focus on “webpage design” in the widest sense of the phrase. 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 module tutor by email. However, for general comment and discussion, students should engage with the module tutor, other tutors and other students on the programme at our Slack group. This is a private space, specifically set up for this programme 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 group. Use of Slack is an integral part of the learning process and you are expected to become active members.

Coursework

Each week you will be given one or more tasks and some recommended reading to be completed for the following week when feedback will be given. Some tasks will build on work completed the previous week so it’s important not to fall behind. Coursework will be assessed at the date given in the schedule. You will need to provide a web hosting account with FTP access so that you can put your coursework online. This enables tutors and students to look at coursework outside of normal teaching times and allows you the flexibility to work whenever convenient.

Projects

In addition to the weekly coursework, there is one project for this module that must be completed by the dates given in the course schedule and made available online using your web space. 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 usually 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 late work is subject to penalty.

Student websites

You must keep an online directory of all the work you produce for this module and all other modules 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. Take a look at Sasha’s page, which will give you some idea how yours might turn out.