Teaching Web Design on the Threshold

May 29, 2010

Teaching Web Design on the Threshold

There's a question at the end of this post. I'd love your feedback on how to teach web design.

Literally every time I teach basic web design (once a year), I have to update my skills and materials, including:

  • adding and subtracting slides from my lecture slide shows
  • learning new features of the programs used to create Web sites
  • grasping and testing the latest web and social trends (location, 'tweeting' what you purchase, supposed competitors to Facebook, etc.)
  • discussing the latest delivery devices upon which people will be seeing web sites
  • discussing influential players on the web that have come and gone
  • debating the future usage patterns of presently used technologies such as Flash and video
  • and more...

Here is the first slide of my "Welcome to Web Design 1" class lecture. The date/time stamp is a little tongue-in-cheek, but only a little:

ARTS 4613 University of Arkansas Art Department, The State of Web Design slide

Many times it can get tedious or overwhelming. But not in 2010...

In 2010, there is excitement in the air of the web design community. Today in class, I felt excited discussing the HTML5 tags and features that will be coming soon, the cool parts of the CSS3 specs, the burgeoning world of web fonts from Monotype and Google, and of course Typekit, and how to think about delivering sites on mobile devices and tablets.

Of course, we have the promise of hugely increased compatibility in the upcoming Internet Explorer 9, which will, of course, take a few years to filter out. But rounded corners, drop shadows, gradients, animations, multiple backgrounds, opacity... it feels like we're right on the threshold.

What are your thoughts? Should I just forge ahead teaching them HTML5/CSS 3 and use something such as Modernizr to handle the older browsers, or stick with teaching and having them code in XHTML for now?

Tom Hapgood

Tom Hapgood

Tom Hapgood is a designer in Northwest Arkansas, USA, who teaches in the Visual Design area of the University of Arkansas. He teaches motion design, typography, web design and animation. Before moving to Arkansas he lived in Boston, Arizona, Germany and Italy.

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