Christian Montoya

Teaching Web Design, part 1

Today was my first day as section instructor for INFO 130: Intro to Web Design. It was intense.

I walked my students through creating a basic webpage (no styling, just content) and explained the purpose of the doctype, html "lang" attributes, head, and body. I then demonstrated the course website and showed them how to use the course tools and WinSCP to upload their assignments via FTP. Somehow I managed to blaze through all of this and everyone at least convinced me that they had no problems following along. I guess I'll find out if that was true eventually.

Since I finished with time to spare, we had 15 minutes to cover the real fun part: talking about well designed sites. I was able to put up 2 great sites and have the class discuss them. The points the students mentioned are summarized here:

Flock.com
1. Students liked the color scheme. Good bright colors, and a small, consistent color palette that works well.
2. Students also really like the Flash module on the front page. They liked how you can view small videos of Flock in action and load each one without visiting a different page.
3. Students liked the persistent navigation that makes it easy to get to each section, or back to home.
4. Students did not like the extensions page. They complained that the extensions page does not give any information about what extensions actually are, and therefore the page is not helpful at all.
5. Students did not like the change to red text headers on the Blog page.
6. Students liked the fresh use of images (Flickr and author photos) on the blog.
7. Students found the blue line across the top of the page to have a jarring effect, making it appear as if there was extra content above it. They claimed it made them want to scroll up.
8. Students were not used to the [blog] menu being on the right, they said they preferred left-side menus.
9. Finally, students mentioned that the menu on the blog page is too long!
Overall, they were all pleased with Flock.com, and they each found different things that they liked or disliked.
Yahoo.com
1. Students felt there was too much content on the page.
2. Students liked the used of visual icons with text-based links. They found them to be a big help with navigating the site.
3. Students liked the well-aligned, clean grid layout.
4. Students liked how most of the content was presented above the fold.
5. Some students liked the "change colors" feature, others found it to be an annoying gimmick.
6. All students agreed: they hate Flash advertisements. Many (about 75%) admitted to blocking them with their browsers.
Overall, they had mixed feelings about Yahoo.com.

Good feedback from a great set of users!

Thank you for reading • Published on September 1st, 2006 • Please take a moment to share this with your friends

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