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Towards a web teaching philosophy

Towards a web teaching philosophy (in progress)

How do you teach someone to design for the web? Is the web that different than other screen-based formats (phone/tablet apps, pdfs, software).

The design process relies on fiddling, adjusting, coming across by intention or accident something that stops the maker. There is a pause, some sort of analysis, an adjustment. If the designer’s scope of work is limited to the 2D aesthetic space, then there is more design left to be done by someone else. And are those humans at odds? Teaching someone to design for the web must get into how sites are engineered, even if falling short of students engineering the sites.

The website is networked by definition, even before the browser is refreshed.Michaelson quote about playing with an engine as it’s running. There needs to be enough code knowledge to play with interactive designs. Maybe not construct from scratch, but to hack it.

Any medium is an opportunity to reinforce values, to see those play out in other ways. Life expressed in a new species. The web may look like paper at times, and it may look like video at times, but it is neither. Designers should be a part of nurturing the medium towards self-actualization (a trajectory, not a destination). The teaching here is one of values: to design for others, to not be fearful of expressing the content at hand in a unique way. If your heroes had the web, what would they have made. How can humanity push through to people on the other side, without losing either person on each end.

Good interaction design can be built upon good print design. It can be learned in parallel, too. But ‘classic’ skills such as hierarchy, legibility, etc. are needed on the web. And they are not simple to learn. Don’t teach them as tidy quick rules (serifs are for this, and this much drop-shadow looks right). Try to take on the complexity in your words, if not the curriculum. Don’t talk about typography at all, maybe. Let that exist somewhere else.

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