Course Description:

The Web may be a turning point in human history that rivals the taming of fire or the invention of the printing press. It’s been changing profoundly how we do business and communicate for the past 10 years and its just getting started. New technologies are ensuring that as the haystack of information grows exponentially our ability to find the needle we need at any particular moment is growing too.

Whether you are selling a product or service, trying to convince people of an idea, or creating interactive art, the web is the air we all breathe. Understanding how to use this medium now and how it will be used in the future will allow you to make your (or your client’s) content stand out.

The final project will be the completion of a functional portfolio website that you will be able to use to organize and display work from all your classes. This class will be even divided between design discussions and critiques focusing on interactive design patterns and issues in interactive design, and techniques needed for creating actual websites. I’ll include some information about how things are generally done by professionals in the field right now, and tips and tricks that I have learned personally (often the hard way) to help you make the best possible websites.

Some discussions within the department on the precise emphasis of this class between theory and practice are on-going so there may be tweaks to the schedule once we’re underway. One thing that I’m sure of is that to design for interactive media one needs a hands-on understanding of the nature of the technology itself. If you learn one thing in this class it should be the ability to think through design problems on an abstract level while being cognizant of the concrete realities of the way the interactive technology in question actually works. Once you learn that way of thinking for one technology you’ll be able to apply it to the new ones being dreamed up in computer labs as we speak.

We’ll be focused mostly on HTML because current trends in professional circles are actually leading back into HTML from flash. I personal know of several major projects underway to re-build large formerly flash corporate websites as xhtml, and or php with ajax.

We’ll also spend some time talking about and trying to think conceptually about both where we are right now and where we are headed. The future will belong to designers who are able to grasp the implications of new technologies while they are still in their embryonic stages and creatively engage those implications, inventing new communication strategies before the need for them is clear to all.

Course Goals:

Upon successful completion of this class, the student will have gained the skills be a professional web designer, and will have a thorough grasp of state of the art of web design including aesthetic, conceptual and technical issues.


10% – Attendance and Class Participation

30% – Weekly Assignments (each one will be worth 6 points 6=excellent, 5=average, 4=acceptable, not turned in = 0)

30% – Midterm Project (Design Mockups)

30% – Final Project (Actual Website)

Course Requirements:

* Come to class on time. Students arriving more than 20 minutes late may be marked absent.

* Attend all classes. Each week we will build on the work learned the week before. If you must miss a class, please let me know ahead of time. It is your responsibility to obtain any missed material from your fellow classmates, and to turn assignments in on time even if you are absent. Students missing more than three classes may fail the course.

* Turn in assignments on time. Work turned in late will lose one point (from a possible 6) every week that it is late. Final projects may not be turned in late.

* Ask Questions. This is a technical class, and we will be covering a lot of information in a short time. If you are confused, lost, need clarification, etc, please don’t hesitate to ask questions in class. Chance are your fellow students will benefit from the answers AND this will add to your class participation grade! I am also available between classes via e-mail.

* Academic Integrity. Plagiarism and cheating of any kind in the course of academic work will not be tolerated. Academic honesty includes accurate use of quotations, as well as appropriate and explicit citation of sources in instances of paraphrasing and describing ideas, or reporting on research findings or any aspect of the work of others (including that of instructors and other students). These standards of academic honesty and citation of sources apply to all forms of academic work (examinations, essays, theses, computer work, art and design work, oral presentations, and other projects).

* It is the responsibility of students to learn the procedures specific to their discipline for correctly and appropriately differentiating their own work from that of others. Compromising your academic integrity may lead to serious consequences, including (but not limited to) one or more of the following: failure of the assignment, failure of the course, academic warning, disciplinary probation, suspension from the university, or dismissal from the university.

* Every student at Parsons signs an Academic Integrity Statement as a part of the registration process. Thus, you are held responsible for being familiar with, understanding, adhering to and upholding the spirit and standards of academic integrity as set forth by the Parsons Student Handbook.

Reading and Resources:

Its not required, but this book is really fantastic

Mastery, friends of ED (February 13, 2006), ISBN#1590596145

I have a huge number of bookmarks on Delicious for this class.