I don’t want to overwhelm you all with too many posts and too much to read, so I’ll keep this short.
After our in-class exercise on Nov. 1, I briefly covered some design principles and talked about the Minnesota Liberians package and the wild horses segment (these are linked on the Week 11 page of the syllabus). This course makes no attempt to cover Web design (see MMC 5015 for that), but you should have at least a little appreciation for what makes one Web page look great and what makes another look terrible.
I recommend this introductory article about Web design principles — it will give you some grounding:
Web design is a relatively new profession compared to other forms of design, due to the youth of our medium. As with any design discipline, there are aspects of the Web design process that are unique to the medium, such as screen resolution, additive color spaces and image compression. But too often these more unique details override our sense of the bigger picture.
If you work online, you ought to acquire familiarity with some rules governing how a page is laid out (print or Web):
- Alignment (this alone can transform a page from bad to good)
Break the rules, or ignore them, and the page gets ugly.
Other considerations include screen resolution (Web only, of course), typography, and the use of color. You can learn more here.
Navigation: I talked at some length about the left-side navigation used in the Minnesota Liberians package.
Credits: These must be accommodated in the design. For any project, story, photo, etc., a journalist should make certain that the public can easily see who was responsible — who made it.
Acknowledgments and sources: Similarly to credits for everyone on the journalistic team, information about where the information came from is essential. Link to the sources whenever possible (but not inside the text, because that might seem to be advertising; use a separate resources page).
Date: This is a pet peeve of mine — stories sometimes stay online for many years, yet you cannot find a YEAR of publication on the story! Every package or story should have an easy-to-find month, date and year somewhere.