Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are you a Web designer? Sure.

Just in time for my fall course on Web design, author, Peachpit book-publishing company blogger and Web designer Jason Cranford Teague has a nice overview of the state of site-building today, under the title "Everyone is a Web Designer."

He lists skills Web designers do and don't need today, differences between being a "Web designer" and a "professional Web developer," and the need for designers to "understand what a developer does and how they are doing it."

Something similar is going on at online newspapers and related forms of journalism: Depending on the size of the organization, one person doesn't always have to do everything. But team members need to know each other's abilities, responsibilities and needs. Some are Web designers, Web developers, database-savvy journalists, "backpack journalists" with multimedia skills, or editors responsible for quality control and pulling it all together.

Speaking of backpack journalism, here's an online example of what a couple of "text-oriented" journalists accomplished in their first day using an inexpensive audio recorder and digital camera, a free audio-editing program (Audacity) and an inexpensive slideshow-creation program (Soundslides). Their (ok, our) training was part of a Freedom Forum Diversity Institute "bootcamp" earlier this month.

Also just in time for my new Web design course, I stumbled on a Ze Frank video from a few years ago that you might call "a meditation on contemporary Web aesthetics." I call it "don't be ugly."

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