Friday, March 27, 2009

Time to Reflect on Day 1 of SND Web Design Boot Camp

NASHVILLE-- In the music city, I suppose it's appropriate to sing the praises of the New York Times' Tyson Evans and the Senior Interactive Designer at National Public Radio, David Wright-- the facilitators for the Society for News Design's first Web Design Boot Camp.

Thanks to these two guys, I now know more about CSS besides the fact that the letters stand for "Cascading Style Sheets." Nearly 12 years after taking my first class in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), this computer language makes a whole lot more sense to me.

When I took that Web class at the University of Georgia in 1998, there were no applications like Firebug, a plug-in for Firefox that allows us to go beyond just "viewing source" on Web pages, or Coda, which makes writing HTML code and "marking up" text so much easier.

All of a sudden, designing Web pages doesn't seem so intimidating. Well, that was until we started actually looking at the CSS code this afternoon. Can you feel your eyes glazing over? (not sure how to answer that)

By the time we adjourned for the evening at 6 p.m. tonight, I did feel like I have a very basic understanding of the design strategy that utilizes CSS.

I do my share of workshops and seminars (you have to if you're going to teach students multimedia journalism). But, I can't ever remember sitting in a classroom of top-notch newspaper designers from all over the country.

I was told yesterday that 28 people had registered for this first ever SND quick course focused on Web Design. During the introductions this morning, I realized we had those responsible for the design of the Orlando Sentinel, Los Angeles Times, (Florence) TimesDaily and Shreveport Times.

Not only were newspaper designers in the crowd today, but students from Michigan State filled a run in our classroom along with a web designer for NCAA and one of the designers for the kiosks at the Newseum.

If tomorrow is anything like today, the SND Web Design Boot Camp will be worth the drive through rain non-stop from Tuscaloosa to Nashville and the 4 a.m. wake-up call this morning.

We shall see.


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