Design Made Better Courses

Design Made Better is currently working on developing an online program, in the meantime you’re welcome to contact Design Made Better to arrange for personal small group classes.

What Is It?

Design Made Better educational course series is designed to cover the basics of both web design and front end development standards and practices in just twelve weeks. The first six weeks will cover best practices in web design and the second six weeks will cover best practices and challenges in front-end development with XHTML and CSS.

Each week a key element of the web design and development process will be discussed and examples of each will be practiced during one hour in-person training sessions. Students will come away with a fuller understanding of how to design and develop for the web and the ability to design and develop properly for current web standards.

When and Where?

Currently Design Made Better is being developed into an online learning course structure, however if you’re in the Phoenix area and would like a small group session, please contact us for more information on booking classes.

These classes are created to transition smoothly through the web design and development process in the natural project progression allowing students to “learn from start to finish” during the 12 week program. Enrollment in the entire twelve week program is strongly suggested, however, the course material is developed so that students wishing to only enroll in six weeks (1st six weeks is design focused, 2nd six weeks is development focused or mix and match) or even just one session may do so.

Courses Offered

Information Architecture

An introduction to Information Architecture, where students will learn about sitemaps, wireframes, userflows and organizing content for the web. Information Architecture is important for a designer because it helps you organize information and lay a firm groundwork for your design to rest. Without knowing what content is going to be shown or how it relates to the entire website you cannot properly begin designing for the web.

File Layout

An introduction to file layout, where students will learn about standard file settings, common page layouts, layer organization and style guides. Clean design files are important to an efficient workflow process during the design and front-end development process of your web design projects. A well-organized source file can make all the difference when designing for the web and can save you some serious work and headache in the long run.

Usability and Accessibility

An introduction to Usability and Accessibility, where students will learn about how users interact with the web, user flows and how to comply with Section 508 Accessibility Standards in their web designs. Usability and Accessibility are extremely important due to great web design their relationship with how users (the most important group of people on the web) interact with content (the most important data on the web).

Layout Concerns

An example based exploration on layout concerns, where students will learn about common layout issues and how to avoid them using more flexible design. When you design and develop over the years you’ll come across common habits of other designers that really throw a wrench into the regular flow of design and development. Learning where these pitfalls are will help you design efficiently for the web medium.

Online Typography

An introduction to online typography, where students will learn about “web-safe” fonts, font replacement techniques and upcoming developments in type on the web. Type is a designers best friend, the web is still growing and evolving and one of those areas seeing the most rapid development is using all fonts on the web. However, because content is king, there is a balancing act between aesthetics and function that a good designer must learn to properly design for the web.

Designing for Interactivity

An introduction to designing for interactivity within the web, where students will learn about standard interaction points within a website and how to design for them. The key difference between web design and print design is designing for interactivity. Interaction points can provide special areas for you to WOW the user and put a little special touch of magic into your web design.

PSD Cutup

An in-depth look at how to properly slice and dice a PSD, where students will learn about what can be done in XHTML/CSS and what requires images and then which file formats and sizes to select for those images. Great web designs are awesome, but they’re just pretty pictures until the code comes in. Learning how to properly cut up a design can save you time and a lot of headache later when you start developing.

HTML

An introduction to HTML, where students will learn about semantic markup, tags, syntax and the importance of separating content and styles. HTML is the backbone of front-end web development. Proper use can make stylizing your websites quick and painless!

CSS

An introduction to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), where students will learn how to style elements, navigate some complicated CSS techniques and how to troubleshoot layout issues. Once you’ve completed the HTML template you still have a long way to go before it looks like the design you’ve set out to reproduce. CSS brings in the style and quickly takes the from BLAH to WOW and does it in a way that you can make site-wide changes in a flash.

Accessibility and Code

An introduction to Accessibility and Code, where students will more about how the way they develop their HTML and CSS affects accessibility. Accessibility starts in the design phase and continues during development. Accessibility is currently seen as a “nice to have” feature when it’s actually a very important part of the design and development process.

Browser Testing

An introduction to browser testing, where students will learn about how to cater to their users browsing habits, testing for browser compatibility and how to avoid pitfalls of current browsers (Yes, I’m talking to you IE). Browser testing is extremely important to the development process. Not only do cross-browser issues make your design ugly but in some instances they make it down right unfriendly to use.

SEO and Code

An introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), where students will learn about how their code determines the how search engines review and rank their website. Search engines are the number one way most website are found online. The way you develop your XHTML can effect how search engines find, review and rank your website.