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Learning Web design basics

Designing for the Web remains a wide open and constantly growing career field. Today, designers have a multitude of platforms to design for range from static Web pages, to smart phone applications, to e-commerce sites and a host of others. It's also one of those fields that allow some to work from the convenience of home.

Most designers started by learning to directly code in hypertext markup language (html), both straight html and then cascading style sheets (CSS). With proficiency in coding behind them, they typically learn to use one or more Web design tools, one or more scripting languages like Perl or PHP and then gain some database skills in order to tie everything together.

The Web design course at Clinton Community College is an introductory course open to students in any program that focuses exactly on the first part. The course is entirely based on direct html coding in Windows Notepad. To be technically correct, we build documents according to the xhtml 1.0 transitional format which is the most widely supported format that allows for CSS. We focus a great deal on syntax construction and, to a lesser extent, on Web design convention.

The course concludes with a final project where students completely design and code a multi-page Web site from scratch. This semester I'm soliciting requests from the community for Web projects that are informational (we cannot do e-commerce). By informational I mean sites that tend to be steady over time. For example, a contractor may want a site in order to provide contact info and pictures of previous work for potential customers to see.

Anyone wanting a Web site for personal or business use, please contact me at the address below. The limit is five Web sites and the students will decide which projects to accept.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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