Andy Budd

What skills and technologies should colleges and universities teach students who want to be web designers and/or developers? Why?

Colleges and universities should be teaching core design skills like colour theory, typography, branding and design psychology. They should also focus on user-centered design skills such as ethnographic research, usability testing and information architecture. And they need to develop softer business skills like presentation training, marketing and running your own business. Technology wise they should probably teach standards based development and some for of object oriented language.

What they shouldn’t teach is specific packages like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash etc. They also shouldn’t teach specific programming languages as there change regularly. These things are easy to pick up own your own and don’t require specific training

Should students be educated in both web design and development or just one? Why?

Web designers should have an understanding of web standards and know what is possible with the various back end technologies so they can communicate with their developers. Similarly programmers should have an understanding of design and usability. However people should be allowed to specialise.

If you could create your dream curriculum for web design and development, what courses and information would you include? Why? What courses and information now in such programs would you eliminate? Why?

I think I covered a lot of this in my answer on number one. However I’d definitely drop Flash from the curriculum. It’s far too easy to learn and leaves a lot of graduates who think they have web design skills, when they are actually largely unemployable.

What type of projects do you want to see in a recent graduate’s web design and/or development portfolio?

There is an over-reliance of bad Flash design. For some reason university lecturers are still stuck with the idea that the web=multi-media so everything needs to beep and animate. Instead I’d like to see site maps, wireframes, well designed websites, XHTML/CSS templates etc.

How can colleges and universities keep web design and/or development curriculum current and relevant?

By teaching core skills rather than focussing on transitional things like the latest application or programming language.