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Report Project - Extra Credit

  1. Choose one of the articles below. After reading the article, write a report of at least 500 words. This report must include three distinct, separate sections (each with its own <h2> heading):
    1. Summarize the article’s key points in your own words.
    2. Tell whether you agree or disagree with these key points, and why.
    3. Discuss what you have learned from the article.
  2. Publish this report to your Web site, but do not link to it from your home page.
  3. This page must include validate buttons, and the HTML and CSS of this page must validate.)

If you prefer, you may choose to review any article on Web design or Web development from these sites, following the format outlined above:

To receive credit, you must submit the Report Project extra credit feedback form. This extra credit exercise is worth 10 points. (You may have up to 50 extra credit points total for the course.)

Issues in Web Design

Here are snippets from excellent articles on important issues in Web design. These excerpts are provided to whet your appetite; I encourage you to read the entire piece! (Note that the material below may be copyrighted by their authors and/or the Web sites that published them.)

Style vs. Design

... The Web used to look like a phone book. Now much of it looks like a design portfolio. In fact, it looks like the design portfolio of 20 well-known designers, whose style gets copied again and again by young designers who consider themselves disciples. Distinctions between graphic design and communications design are lost on these designers. As is the distinction between true style, which evolves from the nature of the project, and derivative pastiche, which is grafted onto many projects like a third arm. ...

Excerpted from Style vs. Design by Jeffery Zeldman, published by Adobe.

Web Site Usability

... splash screens must die. They give the first impression that the site cares more about its own image than about solving users’ problems. It is true that a site needs a homepage that immediately communicates what the site is about and what users will get out of visiting, but one of the most important feelings to communicate is that of respect for the users’ time. People need to feel that a site is there for them and that it will be easy and worthwhile to spend more time on the site, or they will leave. ...

Excerpted from an Interview with Jakob Nielson by Brett Archibald, published by pixelsurgeon.

Should Designers Be Concerned with Standards?

... It’s been years now since the PNG specification was finalized, and PNGs are pretty clearly superior to the GIF and JPEG images we all use today. Yet almost nobody uses PNG, because not enough browsers support them well enough to use. If designers had spoken up to say, “We want this and we won't bother with any browser that doesn't support it,” you’d better believe the support would be there. So designers can't afford to sit back and say, “Standards are a geek thing, and we don’t have to worry about it.” ...

Excerpted from an Interview with Eric Meyer, published by netdiver.

Web Site Accessibility

... But here’s a bit of advice to readers: If you ever find captions or subtitles hard to read — and your eyeglass prescription is up to date and you’re not sitting excessively far from the screen — then it’s somebody else’s fault. And it’s something we can fix with custom-made and -tested fonts. Believe it.” ...

Excerpted from Ten Questions for Joe Clark, published by Web Standards Group.

Backward Thinking

... What do developers mean by “backward compatibility?” They mean using non-standard, proprietary (or deprecated) markup and code to ensure that every visitor has the same experience, whether they’re sporting Netscape Navigator 1.0 or IE6. Held up as a Holy Grail of professional development practice, “backward compatibility” sounds good in theory. But the cost is too high and the practice has always been based on a lie. ... There is no true backward compatibility. There is always a cut-off point ...

Excerpted from 99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete by Jeffrey Zeldman, published by Digital Web Magazine.

The Colors Formerly Known as Websafe

... One of the givens of Web design, the holiest of holy truths, is the sanctity of the 216 websafe color palette. It’s a rite of initiation for every Web designer or developer: Use only these colors, we are told, and don’t question why. ... we performed a series of tests with our eyes on how the old 216 websafe palette actually fares on newer machines. ... We found that only 22 of the 216 colors we began with did not end up being shifted incorrectly in at least one viewing environment. So, it looks like we have roughly 22 colors that are really websafe ...

Excerpted from Death of the Websafe Color Palette? by David Lehn and Hadley Stern, published by webmonkey. (This article is in six parts; be sure to read all of it!)

Web Typography Sucks (podcast)

For too long typographic style has been overlooked on the Web. This session will show how new technology demands that websites receive the refinement that has been applied in print for centuries, and demonstrate how to implement typographic principles on the Web. It will explain how everyone involved in a website can and should take typography to heart, and provide discussion with a call-to-action for the future of web typography.

Decription of Web Typography Sucks, a 1-hour podcast, by Mark Boulton and Richard Rutter, published by South by Southwest (found in the March 2007 archives of South by Southwest.)