Web design foundations 1: Introduction to the Web, and web design

This autumn Omniversity is running a series of courses on Web Design Foundations starting from the basics of how the web works and ending with the more advanced subjects in HTML and CSS. The first of four step course took place on the 12. of September and brought together a small group of beginners in web design who under the guidance of an evangelist Chris Mills got a general idea of accessibility and usability of websites and test some basic HTML and CSS writing. Doing an apprenticeship in MadLab, I decided impromptu to use the opportunity to take part of the course and get an insight into a field that is completely new to me.

Web Design Foundations 1 was a well organized event and made me realize the importance of Omniversity in providing education. Each participant got a memory stick and a booklet with relevant information which was walked through step by step during the four hour course. The information started with real basics such as the questions where did web come from, what do different abbreviations stand for, how world wide web consortium stands behind web standards (or why are web standards relevant at all). Two main questions discussed were accessibility and usability of websites. While discussing accessibility we amongst other issues approached the question how is web made accessible to people with disabilities and should there be some regulations for that. We learned that the main focus in making a good website could probably be simplicity and clarity. Looking at usability involved looking at fun-ridiculous examples and creating a basic scheme for an imaginary website in order to understand the links between different elements. The four hours course ended with using ftp and writing simple HTML and CSS lines to see how they look like on web. To many the subjects dealt with were maybe even obvious, but it was definitely good to have a general introduction covering so many different aspects of the field. The further courses promise a deeper understanding.

The course ended with a positive atmosphere and it seemed that people taking part were really pleased with the outcome and will have further interest. If Omniversity decides to organize another beginners course for web design then I would definitely recommend it. Chris Mills managed to give a perfectly good overview of the main subjects in a matter of few hours and offered to provide further help if needed. He seems to have taken it to be his mission the improve the quality of web design and what could be a better way to do it than by raising an awareness. The course made it obvious that HTML and CSS are accessible and understandable to most.

Kaija-Luisa Kurik

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