Web Standardistas on Web Standards in Education

Apr 13 2009 by Chris Wallace | 14 Comments

Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson are designers and digital artists as well as lecturers in interactive design at the University of Ulster at Belfast. In addition, they co-authored the newly-released book HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas’ Approach. They are passionately and actively promoting web standards in education and through their own practice and are now commonly referred to as the Web Standardistas.

Web Standardistas on Web Standards in Education leading image.

[Chris Wallace]: With web standards being embraced by today’s web professional, it seems like universities are still lagging behind with incorporating web standards into their curriculum. Where do you see the biggest advancements being made with universities teaching web standards-based design?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: Although the web standards movement has been active for over a decade, there’s a frustrating tendency for universities – which should be at the forefront of advancing standards and innovating – to lag behind industry in championing and incorporating best practice into the curriculum. Although there are many universities advancing web standards based curricula, sadly, there aren’t enough.

We’re working within a rapidly advancing industry, an industry that changes year on year (sometimes month on month, and even week on week), and the only way to keep university curricula current is to develop rolling programs of learning that keep pace with current and emerging developments.

Often this means rewriting aspects of course content on a year by year basis which we work hard to do, to ensure that what we deliver is relevant to today’s (and tomorrow’s) industry.

We see the biggest advancements being made through collaboration with industry. Over the last few years we’ve worked hard to establish ongoing partnerships with industry partners, both nationally and internationally, to ensure that we deliver an innovative and thought-provoking programme. We’ve also worked hard to nurture an ongoing relationship with alumni, ensuring successful graduates return to inspire our current students.

One exciting move towards connecting education and industry is the WaSP’s InterAct Curriculum, a living, open web standards curriculum which looks extremely promising.

[Chris Wallace]: What areas are still lacking?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: If universities are to take the lead in developing contemporary, web standards based curricula, there needs to be much tighter integration between industry and academia.

There’s no question that the partnership between industry and academia needs work. It’s easy for those in industry to criticise shortcomings within academia, however, a more effective, and constructive approach is for industry to get involved with academia and shape curricula and develop dynamic and innovative learning experiences.

Many of our biggest successes has been through partnering with industrial colleagues to, amongst other initiatives: deliver live briefs, to give students a taste of live project work with real deliverables; provide student feedback, most recently using Campfire to undertake group critiques online; and to have national and international practitioners present work that is contemporary, client-focused and inspiring.

We’ve also worked hard to develop a very successful International Guest Lecture Programme, inviting inspirational speakers from all over the world to present their work in Belfast. We’ve been fortunate to have been supported by an all-star cast of designers, sharing their creativity with both students and industry as part of the programme.

Most recently we welcomed Nicholas Felton to Belfast for an extremely inspiring presentation on his work. We’ve also, amongst others, enjoyed presentations by Nicholas Roope of Poke and Hulger, Andy Stevens of Graphic Thought Facility and design critic Adrian Shaughnessy. Future speakers lined up include Elliot Jay Stocks and Paul Farrington of Studio Tonne.

Precision design of real beauty.

[Chris Wallace]: You’ve been instrumental in the education of some talented young designers. What is your approach to teaching young designers who haven’t been tainted by tables for layout and CSS hacks for ancient browsers?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: We start with the basics (which often involves firmly encouraging the occasional over-eager student to slow down, trust our approach and learn to walk before they run). Before we even cover (X)HTML and CSS we cover the principles of design, introducing fundamentals including: typography, information hierarchy, narrative, composition, grid systems… the usual suspects.

We firmly encourage a content out approach, stressing the importance of using semantic markup and making markup meaningful.

In our second year design modules we introduce this through the systematic analysis of set texts, encouraging students to mark up content using the full range of elements at their disposal. We spend a considerable amount of time ensuring students are aware that a well-structured document is a part of the design process and that meaningful markup is as important as CSS.

Only once we’ve covered well-formed markup do we move onto CSS which we, again, introduce in a systematic manner comprehensively covering typography and grid systems.

Throughout the process we encourage an understanding of the importance of accessibility, ensuring students are aware of contemporary accessibility guidelines and the importance of a clear document structure.

Of equal importance to the fundamentals, we work hard to encourage our students to develop an inquiring mind. We graduated before web development was taught (or even existed) and we’re fully self-taught. As a consequence of this we try to nurture a culture of creative investigation amongst our students, signposting to interesting developments and encouraging students to experiment creatively.

[Chris Wallace]: You have a number of talented young designers (such as Lee Munroe and Chris Colhoun), emerging from your courses. Who’s worth watching?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: We’ve been fortunate to teach many young, emerging designers who share our passion for web standards. There are too many to mention here, but a few are worth singling out.

Lee Munroe, a graduate of our MA Multidisciplinary Design course (and our undergraduate Interactive Design course), is rapidly establishing himself as an internationally respected web designer and developer. In addition to his collaboration with Paddy Donnelly on The Big Word Project, he is currently developing Lookaly, a beautifully designed business directory.

Find and review hotels, restaurants, shops, cinemas and more.

Paddy Donnelly, another graduate from our MA Multidisciplinary Design course (who also studied on our undergraduate Interactive Design course), is now working as a Creative Strategist for Nascom in Brussels. His Twitter interviews with Tim O’Reilly, Guy Kawasaki and Paul Boag amongst others, have really helped to establish him as a thought-leader on the power of social networks (and Twitter) as a marketing tool.

The Big Word Project is redefining words.

David Henderson, the winner of our 2008 Design Prize (a prize we sponsor every year through Web Standardistas), is establishing a successful freelance design practice. In no small part due to his excellent final year project The Best of Belfast, an extremely accomplished piece of work.

A short film which highlights Belfast's Best Bits!

Chris Colhoun is currently approaching the end of his undergraduate study with us and looks set to embark on a successful career. With interviews for posts at some very well-known web design and development firms recently completed, watch this space…

A Belfast based designer with an interest in user interface design, typography, web standards and user experience design.

[Chris Wallace]: With exciting things like CSS3 and HTML5 slowly creeping into the picture, what’s your approach to teaching new ideas and concepts, even though the specs aren’t yet finalized or consistently implemented in major browsers?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: It’s an exciting time to be both working in this medium and teaching it, and we’re constantly maintaining our skill sets through ongoing learning. We encourage our students to embrace a similar model of self-motivated learning, nurturing an inquisitive approach.

We’re committed to teaching students to become self-motivated and self-sufficient, equipping them with the skills to learn themselves in an ongoing manner after they have graduated and are working in industry.

It’s important to stress also that we’re primarily teaching principles and not software or specific frameworks. We see a web standards approach as a design methodology and, with the fundamentals in place, a solid foundation on which to build as new standards emerge.

[Chris Wallace]: Major browser versions and even new browsers (like Google’s Chrome) are seemingly being released every few months nowadays. Teaching web standards is nothing like teaching a math course where 1+1 always equals 2. How do you keep your students up-to-date on updates to major browsers and issues or bugs that are introduced (or fixed) in new browser versions?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: Although educators, we’re both practicing designers and artists and maintain ongoing consultancy and client work in addition to exhibiting experimental works as artists, exhibiting internationally.

In order to effectively teach contemporary practice, we feel it’s essential for educators to maintain their practice "in the real world" and we regularly reference our client work and consultancy in our lectures through an ongoing, and open, ‘show and tell’ process. We believe in teaching by example, tying principles and theory into contemporary best practice.

To keep our students up-to-date with current and rapidly emerging developments, we use the long-established Japanese just-in-time principle (essentially re-writing almost all of our lectures the week before we deliver them!). We do this on a year-by-year basis to ensure our lecture content remains relevant. Although the principles are the same, we adjust the detail to reflect current developments and signpost emerging trends.

Although this results in a great deal of year-on-year revision of lecture content, we believe there’s no other way to teach a subject that is changing and evolving so rapidly.

[Chris Wallace]: You’re obviously very passionate about what you do. What led you to become authors, educators, and advocates for web standards?

We’ve both learned a great deal through experience and we’re both passionate about passing this learning on. Like many others, we’ve made mistakes as we’ve embarked on our careers and we’re more than happy to share our knowledge and experience (and honestly highlight the mistakes we might have made) if it helps our students moving forward.

We adopt a very open process to learning and share a great deal of the work on our hard drives with our students. We’re both passionate about web standards and we enjoy working with enthusiastic students. There’s a great deal of talent coming through and we’re happy to be contributing to that talent.

Our students are extremely loyal and we have a strong alumni programme with students maintaining contact years after they have graduated. We’re slowly, but surely helping to build a solid web design community in Belfast, a community that’s incredibly inspiring to be a part of. We’re happy to be helping to move that forward.

[Chris Wallace]: Who are some of your main influences?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: The usual suspects.

People: Jeffrey Zeldmann, Dan Cederholm, Mark Boulton and John Gruber (we’re committed Markdown enthusiasts).

Resources: A List Apart, Design Observer, CSS Zen Garden and 37 Signals (Getting Real and Signal vs. Noise are both excellent reading).

Miscellaneous: You Look Nice Today, TED, The Wire and Lost.

As lecturers we’re also inspired by the work of our students. It’s refreshing to be working with talented students and their enthusiasm is inspiring. (They also help to keep us on our toes!)

[Chris Wallace]: I can’t go the whole interview without asking about the book you’ve released, HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas’ Approach. What was your approach when writing this book and what can readers expect to learn from it?

[Christopher Murphy / Nicklas Persson]: Our approach involved lots of late nights, the occasional reward of sushi and beer, and many, many, many long weekends.

There are a lot of excellent books that we point our students toward: Dan Cederholm’s inspiring Web Standards Solutions; Paul Haine’s meticulous HTML Mastery; and Andy Budd’s indispensable CSS Mastery, to name but a few. All are fantastic books, however, none of them seemed to cover everything our students needed to embark on a well-grounded, web standards–based approach in one package: namely, a solid foundation in well-structured XHTML coupled with a comprehensive introduction to CSS (all in one book).

Cue Web Standardistas.

Readers of the book can expect to learn how to build hand-crafted web pages using well-structured XHTML for content and CSS for presentation. In short, everything required to embark on a web standards approach to building future-proof web pages the right way, which forms a solid foundation on which to learn moving forward.

Learn how to build hand-crafted web pages using structured XHTML and CSS.

Although the book has only just been published, feedback on it has already been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve also been delighted by the response to the Web Standardistas’ web site which we’re developing to accompany the book.

The site, which features daily entries on web design and other, design-related topics, in addition to longer, monthly articles in our periodical has rapidly gathered a dedicated following and we’re looking forward to developing it as we move forward with other Web Standardistas’ projects.

For the latest news and for a daily dose of carefully chosen links, follow us on Twitter. We’re also interested in hearing from other educators. If you’re involved in education – especially at university level – get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

We’d like to thank Christopher and Nicklas for taking the time to answer our questions. Make sure to pick up a copy of their book, HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas’ Approach.

Enjoyed this Interview?

HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas' Approach on Amazon. If you enjoyed this interview, consider purchasing a copy of the Web Standardista’s book: HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas’ Approach. Editorial except from Amazon: This book will teach you how to build hand-crafted web pages the Web Standardistas’ way: using well-structured XHTML for content and CSS for presentation.

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About the Author

Bio Photo.Chris Wallace is a front-end developer and Principal Creative at Walmedia, a web design company. Chris offers free WordPress themes and writes about web design and development on his blog, Designer&Developer. He also runs a design and development job board, AllDevJobs.com and popular design job aggregator MashedJobs.com. Twitter: @chriswallace.

14 Comments

David Hughes

April 13th, 2009

Let the ass kissing commence.

I’m a student also approaching the end of my undergraduate study with Chris and Nicklas, so I have first hand experience working with these guys. I can honestly say that every student on this course should count themselves lucky to have lecturers who are as dedicated and passionate about the industry and the content they deliver.

Even when they were up to their eyeballs writing the book they still managed to find the time to deliver fresh and exciting content on a weekly basis, as well as individual one to one tutorials.

The Web Design community in Belfast is growing at a rapid pace, and as a student it’s even more exciting to be a part of. To paraphrase a certain Web Standardista – Belfast, where the Real Shit® is happening.

Great interview.

Ryan McMurray

April 13th, 2009

Like David, I’m also approaching the end of my undergraduate multimedia degree and have had the benefit of having Chris and Nick as lecturers. The content they provide week in, week out is second to none. Their enthusiasm for the industry is obvious to see in each lecture or tutorial and rubs off onto the class.

As one of their students, I feel I’ve learnt a great deal from them and picked up some invaluable skills along the way.

It amazes me where they find the time to teach, write books and have their own jobs.

Good interview.

Matt

April 13th, 2009

In some ways its not the responsibility of universities to pump out web standards knowing workers to serve the corporate masters. Universities should teach learning and thinking, not trades. However, they should also be up to date, and a side effect of efficient teaching is current knowledge hopefully.

I think universities should start a new program on the study of standards themselves. Not specific standards, necessarily, but the process by which standards come about, making that more efficient, and the implication of a world based around standards instead of proprietary methods.

Chris Colhoun

April 14th, 2009

Just to echo what Dave said, it’s great working with these guys and it’s great to have people so passionate about what they do delivering our lectures.

We are all excited about the up being part of the up and coming web industry in Belfast and Northern Ireland.

I think it’s very important to keep improving our courses and updating the curriculum to suit what’s going on.

A great read as well, so thanks to Chris (Wallace) for the interview. :)

Chris Wallace

April 14th, 2009

@Matt I think that you’re right but in order to understand the “process by which standards come about” don’t you need to know the history of web standards and what they actually are currently? With the understanding that 99% of designers/developers out there will not be defining web standards and rather, following them, I think the baseline knowledge is web standards as they exist today and how we got to this point. That is what should be taught in web standards-based courses today. Thanks for the comment and I definitely see what you are saying.

Pete Hawkins

April 15th, 2009

I would tend to agree with Matt on this one that it is not the primary role of the Universities to teach the most up to date techniques, but to teach the thinking processes behind them.
But I will say as a student in Chris & Niks class that their modules stand out from the rest.
In other modules we are being taught and using software 5 years out of date, this is shocking and doesn’t provide any motivation.
Chris & Nik seem to stay pretty close to the nearest web trends and teach relevant material.

Jacob Gube

April 15th, 2009

@Matt: I’d think it’s a university’s job to ensure that what they’re teaching is up to date and valuable to employees. When you start a program in web development and design – and the first thing they teach you is an outdated language that will serve no purpose in the real-world (and one that you’ll never use) just because the 55-year old professor refuses to let go of his set ways – then you can see there’s an issue. I can see teaching C or C++ to freshmen because C-style languages are ubiquitous, but why not just start off with a pertinent language that will not only encourage students to push forward through their course of study and not drop out, but also give them a quick notch on their resume for summer internships.

It’s the same with web standards: I think it’s the university’s job to not only promote web standards, but to change the curriculum as things change. Teach updated information, teach the right way of doing things, instead of ingraining outdated, useless information upon students and making them think it’s alright and that that’s the way to do things when they get out of college.

What Chris and Nicklas are doing is amazing for our industry: they’re cranking out a highly-skilled, highly-knowledgeable individuals that I would hire in a heartbeat.

Christopher Murphy

April 15th, 2009

It’s good to see some discussion ensuing here and we appreciate the vote of confidence above from the students we’re still teaching. It’s an essential debate and goes to the heart of many of the issues we must address if we are to teach effectively at university level.

Matt, in principle you’re right, and I agree with you, with, however, a few qualifications…

As university lecturers, we’re frequently asked by industry partners to teach very specific skill sets, for example, “We’re currently using Dreamweaver,” or, “jQuery is the JavaScript framework we’re currently using.”

Whilst we can appreciate that this is what industry might need at this particular moment in time, it’s a huge mistake to think that solely delivering what industry needs at this particular moment in time is what a university’s purpose is.

A university’s role is to teach core principles and, more importantly, to equip students with an ability to think, to challenge and to question. Universities are intended to prepare students for life, not just to prepare students for what is current, right now.

However, I believe that the field we’re teaching – broadly web design and web development – is fundamentally different to many other specialisms taught at university. Our field, unlike, for example, English Literature or Classics, is characterised by rapid evolution and change. This inevitably requires us to cover what’s current. This is why we state above, “We believe in teaching by example, tying principles and theory into contemporary best practice.”

Our field is evolving at an unprecedented pace and, in this regard, it departs from some of the norms that usually characterise the university system.

Pete, I can wholeheartedly understand the frustration you might feel being taught software that is, in some cases over half a decade old. In our industry half a decade is an eternity.

So why does this happen? Why are current students taught software that is outdated and – even in principle – no longer relevant?

I believe Jacob touches on the heart of the problem when he refers to the 55 year old professor who refuses to let go. As an educator I’m sure I’m not alone in recognising this. However, this isn’t a question of age, it’s a question of attitude. Contrary to popular opinion, there are older and experienced lecturers who teach contemporary practice, unfortunately they are often – in this specific field – in the minority.

I believe, as we state above and as Jacob states, our role as lecturers is not only promote web standards and core principles, but to evolve our delivery and our curriculum as our industry changes – to keep pace with current standards. That might mean re-writing our learning outcomes and lecture content on a yearly basis, but – in this industry – I believe there is no alternative.

Jacob Gube

April 15th, 2009

@Christopher Murphy: Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to imply that age automatically equates to reluctance to change (although in many instances – it does). I just wanted to create that mental image of the stereotypical stuffy professor in his tweed jacket smoking a pipe.

What you said was completely accurate, it’s attitude. A lot of people in academics simply refuse to change either out of arrogance (“I know better, I’m a college professor”), reluctance to learn something new, politics (“we’re funded by XYZ and they use .NET”), or a combination of all.

That’s why I feel that the Web Standardistas are refreshing and revolutionizing the way we normally think of conventional design/development curriculum currently available in universities and colleges.

And Christopher, you’re exactly right – our industry is still pretty young, it changes constantly. I think that the curriculum should be reviewed at least once a year to ensure that what’s being taught is up to date. That’s the nature of the beast and, like you said, there’s really no changing that.

I want to see less students being taught table-based layouts (unless it’s for discussion sake or presenting a counter-argument to modern layout standards, like: “Table Layouts vs. Div Layouts: From Hell to… Hell?“), marking up a page in <ALL CAPS>, or getting taught an obscure programming language that was picked for no particular reason other than it’s what the professor is most comfortable with.

If you’ve ever worked with new developers, you’ll quickly see that you need to provide a lot training for them to unlearn a lot of BS they were taught. I’m of the opinion that universities should be preparing their students well, especially in this competitive work environment.

My two cents.

Erik Reppen

April 17th, 2009

The biggest thing, in my opinion, that educators and other promoters of standards are forgetting to stress is how much easier and flexible this makes our work, ultimately. As I just stated in a Digg comment, yes there is a learning curve but when you have the semantics and the CSS and the cross-browser knowledge down to the point where you know when it’s worth bending on the very rare meaningless div, you can plot out the markup and CSS for a PSD design doc you’re looking at in your head while juggling flaming cats in gasoline soaked overalls.

It also makes it exponentially easier to diagnose and deal with issues in layout or behavior and modifications are a cinch when you’re keeping everything separated.

An additional selling point for me is how truly horrifying it is to try and walk the node tree of a 3 table-deep layout with DOM scripting when the original developer of the code couldn’t be bothered to validate or he might have noticed that he wasn’t closing his tags properly. If tags mostly represent content, creating dynamic interaction with sites becomes much easier to do.

One useful approach I think people are missing on CSS is to get more into the nitty-gritty of how it is that the HTML lays out by default. I was first taught by a table guy who didn’t really like all this weird “new stuff” and his methods made such heavy use of attributes that it took me a while to grasp what the natural behavior of naked HTML elements was during the unlearning phase. The conclusion I’ve come to on my own is that the best way to handle things is to let the HTML do as much of the work as possible and then use the CSS to do the rest. Top down / left to right ordering of your elements is a nice side effect and I find that it tends to make layout tweaks go a lot more easily.

Too many devs have the instinct that it’s going to be easier on them if they completely override the default HTML positioning and sizing behavior and ratchet and nail everything down to avoid cross-browser issues when they’re really more likely just causing unnecessary problems and making their stuff much more difficult change which is missing the point.

I’ve run into a similar type of thinking in abuse of the cascade to over-specify the individual properties of every single unique element on the page for an intranet. That code was a nightmare to fix and they wouldn’t just let me redo it. There must have been 700 declarations with an average of a dozen properties set for each. And the guy still clearly didn’t fully comprehend how specificity rules worked. The pages had some rails stuff going on but they weren’t that complicated. There was a logo. Background was white. It was primarily a 3-color scheme. 700+ declarations.

I second those Friends of Ed books, but it was Jeremy Keith’s DOM Scripting that really got me hooked on standards and basically set the foundation for the mushroom-clouding of my skills that’s resulted in the wide range of possibilities my knowledge allows today. Although maybe the timing was just perfect for me because I knew the syntax of all three languages but was still fumbling with the application of them.

CSS Mastery is a fantastic book for getting over a lot of the common stumbling blocks though and I credit it with another major upgrade to my skillset. I’ve also recently gotten some use out of Eric Meyer’s CSS pocket guide from O’Reilly. It’s hard to find concisely written details on how things are supposed to be rendered by the browsers.

Is Belfast really turning into a standardista paradise? That sounds appealing. Maybe I’ll stop by on my way to Brighton to see if Clear Left needs people to cover the web development slack while they make all the real money on speaking engagements. :)

Christopher Murphy

April 18th, 2009

Jacob, with regards to your comment, “I didn’t mean to imply that age automatically equates to reluctance to change (although in many instances – it does).”

I completely understood where you were driving with this. Sadly, en masse, I think there’s a near direct correlation between age and reluctance to change. In my experience, I know of few older university staff willing or able to keep pace with change in what is a rapidly changing industry (see Pete’s comments above).

However, this isn’t to say that these staff don’t exist. They are there and, in my opinion, should be embraced and championed (sadly university’s are often fraught with politics and this doesn’t always happen).

Also, regarding the second part of that comment, “I just wanted to create that mental image of the stereotypical stuffy professor in his tweed jacket smoking a pipe.”

As chance would have it Nicklas and I are tweed jacket wearing (and occasional pipe smoking) lecturers! (Sorry!) I’d like to think we’re not stuffy, however, and we’re certainly not on professors’ salaries (though if our students care to make a concerted case to lobby on our behalf for a promotion we won’t stop them).

Erik, with regards to your comment about “the natural behavior of naked HTML elements”, we absolutely agree. We specifically cover unstyled HTML at length as part of our teaching process and encourage our students to see well-structured, semantic markup – unstyled – as a significant part of the design process.

In our friends of ED book, we cover HTML at great length, encouraging readers to understand how HTML elements display unstyled and only once that’s comprehensively understood move on to introduce CSS. Your point about the cascade and specificity is also something we cover at length, tying CSS to document structure and minimising CSS where possible.

As for the question, “Is Belfast really turning into a standardista paradise?” We’re working on it!

Pete Hawkins

April 19th, 2009

With Chris and Nik being younger and therefore more free to change and understand new techniques and software available I think is the key to keeping up to date with industry standards and ensuring students are able to step straight into a company and understand how to produce work in the lastest format available.
When you have 50+ year old lecturers teaching software like macromedia director, which lets face it in the last 5 years old hasn’t really made any advancements and nothing has been developed in it on a large scale. How can this 50 year old lecturer learn everything new about flash and aftereffects, perhaps maya and 3ds max to get the same results in a modern, useful format? Answer is (s)he can’t.

Is this a call for younger professor’s and lecturers in the design industry related university courses? Probably.

Change is constant when it comes to multimedia, computing and the internet.

I honestly can say I wish I had done Visual communication as opposed to IMD because then I would have lecturers like Chris & Nik for all my modules.

Before I started IMD I already had a keen grasp for design, html, css and the programs behind them.
Chris and Nik have taught valuable thought proccesses and inspired me a lot. If I was doing visual communication instead of IMD, I would have had a lot more potential for learning in an enviornment with lecturers like Chris & Nik for every module rather than just 1.

Apart from my design modules, have I learnt anything useful that will help me in industry?

The short answer to that is NO.

What use is knowing a small portion of visual basic to me? None whatsover.
What use is knowing macromedia director? Well maybe because it’s a very small bit like flash it will help me with flash, but I could have just done a full module on flash and had something useful to come out of university with.

It really is a shame that the bulk of our course is poorly put together. It is aimed at making us a hybrid designer & developer, but we all know that in the industry, you are one or the other, and if you are both, you are weighted to one side of the scale.

I regret paying thousands of pounds out to attend IMD when the bulk of it apart from the design modules are useless to me. And if anyone else is creative and asking me about IMD because they want to become a designer, I tell the truth and point them towards visual communication.

Jeff Wallace

May 6th, 2009

Nice article. Hit it on the nose ;)

Patricia Davidson

July 17th, 2009

Very good article and good discussion following in the comments. I thinks it’s great what the Web Standaristas are doing!

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