Three things I’ve learned in my Web Design Class

You might know I’m going back to school full time trying to (finally) get my degree and fill in any gaps left in my education and self confidence. But I thought my web design class would be more of a review than anything, since I’ve been designing websites and reading design related blogs for quite a while now. In some ways it has been, but I’ve still learned quite a bit. And the lessons that will stay with me best have little to do with xhtml and css.

1) I’ve learned to speak up
In spite of the fact that my blog here mainly exists because of my web design endeavors, it had never occurred to me to blog ABOUT web design. I didn’t think I had anything more to say than what was already out there being said better by, well, better designers. So I’d post my course-required blog entries – like this one, incidentally — grit my teeth, and pray I wouldn’t come off as pretentious. Yet to my surprise, some people actually appreciated the articles. Even if they weren’t new concepts, they helped someone. So for all the years I’ve spent enjoying other people’s knowledge, it’s nice to know I’m still able to contribute somehow, and I plan to do it more often if I can.

2) I’ve learned to cut the crap
Not that I’m very good at it yet, but I will be. I’m a fan of minimalist design; who knew I’d become a fan of minimalist content as well? Krug’s Third Law of Usability says “Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” Fin.

3) Planning time is time well spent
Sometimes the planning stage seems to drag on too long. Now I’m realizing I probably don’t spend enough time in planning. Things seem to go so smoothly when the plan is very well thought out. Incidentally I’ve learned also just how badly things can go when the plan isn’t concrete. Scope creep is ugly. Miscommunication: also very ugly. Ugliest of all is the project that truly disappoints the client and alienates their audience. But all of that wasting of time and money can be avoided with proper planning, something and I’ll be putting much more effort into it this year.

There are many other little things I learned, but to me, these seem like they’ll make the most impact. I’ll have to come back and visit this article with other things I’ve learned, but for Mr. Stein, thanks for teaching me these concepts that will apply well anywhere I go.

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