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MAS 241 – Interactive Web Design

2016 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Alex Mesker
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
MAS240 or COMP249
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit teaches the theory and production of web sites in the context of the wider information age and the changing nature of media audiences/users. Students learn the theory underpinning good web design practice, as well as production skills. Students learn to design and create web sites compliant with World Wide Web Consortium standards; identify and cater to target audiences; and critique and evaluate existing web sites through competitive analysis.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  2. Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  3. Solve coding and design challenges.
  4. Work independently and professionally in response to project demands.
  5. Communicate and present information in modes suited to a range of audiences.
  6. Identify and self-assess performance within this unit of study.
  7. Engage in the process of learning

General Assessment Information

Assessment tasks are designed to test students' abilities to meet the learning outcomes.

Please see http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/schedule_1.html for an overarching guide to what is expected for each grading band.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Coding Tests 30% See details
Web Site Review 20% Week 7 - 16th September 2016
Major Project 50% Week 13 - During class

Coding Tests

Due: See details
Weighting: 30%

You will be given three take-home coding tests during the semester to assess your understanding of HTML, CSS and jQuery.

The first test will be distributed in week 3, the second in week 5  and the third test will be distributed in week 7. Each test will have a due date in the following week. Please see the individual coding test briefs as issued.

Each test is worth 10%. More specific details will be disseminated during workshops. You should attend all workshops in case a) you miss the details of the tests or b) actually miss one.

Marking Criteria:

  • Demonstrated application of workshop techniques and materials to the problem posed
  • Demonstrated understanding of your code
  • Ability to evaluate a problem and present the most efficient and (code) elegant solution
  • Valid HTML5 - Correct CSS rules (including knowing when to use a class and when to use an ID)
  • Correct and expedient use of jQuery (when required)

Submission

Coding tests will be submitted via the labs. Specific dates are set out in the coding test briefs. HTML and CSS documents and any relevant subfolders or other files should be kept in a folder called "ct1", "ct2" or "ct3" (depending on the particular test). These folders should be stored in your Sites folder. Please see the coding test briefs for full details.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have submitted files correctly. Failure to correctly submit coding tests may result in a late penalty.

Late Submission

A late penalty of 10% per day will be applied.

Extensions

Extensions may only be granted by the unit convenor in line with university policy.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  • Solve coding and design challenges.
  • Identify and self-assess performance within this unit of study.
  • Engage in the process of learning

Web Site Review

Due: Week 7 - 16th September 2016
Weighting: 20%

You are required to write a 1500 word (10% either way is acceptable) critical review of a Web site of your choice. You should analyse the site’s design, appeal, interface and usability and analyse the positive or negative effects these dimensions have on the target audience. This assignment requires you to draw on knowledge gained from the video lectures and set readings. You will refer to the set readings and your own independent research in executing a critical review set against a background of well-researched and informed assessment criteria.

Be sure to check the validity of your sources and do not rely on just one for any given assertion. For example the first results in my Google book search gives me: “Jones says the placement of search fields on a homepage doesn’t really matter as the viewer’s gaze initially falls to the centre of the screen”.  Whilst Jones is partially correct, “Smith, Brown and Stevens all say that the location and prominence of search fields on home pages is important because about 50% of users will immediately go to a search box rather than browse a site. Brown notes, many users know exactly what they are looking for and Smith adds that it is the Web designer’s role to make the user’s journey to his destination as quick and easy as possible”. In this (semi-fictional) example, reading one source in isolation leads to an incorrect assertion and also demonstrates poor research skills. Remember academia is meticulous, there is a body of literature on every subject you can think of.

The purpose of this assignment is you to show your understanding of "why things work" (or don't work as the case may be) and to demonstrate a pragmatic understanding of the theories set out in the unit reader, lectures and your own independent research. You are expected to employ an appropriate system for referencing sources.

Marking Criteria:

  • Demonstrated research into Web design theories of usability, audiences and reception, and design
  • Application of Web design theories to a case study
  • Clear written structure and presentation
  • Appropriate sources and referencing

Submission

Web site reviews will be submitted electronically via iLearn and processed by Turn It In. Hard copy reviews will not be accepted or marked. Once submitted a review cannot be resubmitted. If you have submitted an incorrect version or file, please contact the unit convenor and ask to have your submission deleted so you can submit the correct version or file. If this occurs after the submission date, the late penalty (see below) will be applied.

Late Submission

A late penalty of 10% per day will be applied.

Extensions

Extensions may only be granted by the unit convenor in line with university policy.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  • Communicate and present information in modes suited to a range of audiences.
  • Engage in the process of learning

Major Project

Due: Week 13 - During class
Weighting: 50%

Students will select a one-word theme (which will be supplied by staff) and are to design and build a website that addresses the theme. Students will have to research and develop appropriate content for the site, which must include: text, images, audio and/or video (which can be recorded on smartphones). Students are encouraged to be innovative and think laterally about the theme.

Major project websites must comply with the following:

  • Correct and valid use of HTML5
  • An absence of deprecated HTML tags
  • Correct use of CSS
  • Use of jQuery to achieve user interaction
  • Table-based design is prohibited
  • Images must be optimised for the Web
  • All content must be original or free from copyright/licensing restrictions (and appropriately attributed where applicable)
  • Websites should be comprised of a minimum of five visible pages (i.e. five HTML pages; CSS documents or other 'backend' documents do not count)
  • Any use of templates/frameworks (e.g. Bootstrap) needs to be discussed with the unit convenor prior to starting the major project because this assessment requires you to demonstrate the coding abilities you have developed. 

Students are encouraged to connect their websites to other relevant content, which includes external websites as well as those created by other students, so take some time to see what else is happening in the class.

Major projects will be assessed under three categories of content, design and coding.

CONTENT

The content presented will be intuitive and easy to access. It will be clear and concise with language appropriate to the topic and audience. Audiovisual media that contributes to the content will be relevant and presented appropriately. Content that embraces the possibilities of the network environment will be rewarded. Be imaginative and curious. What does the theme mean to you? What issues and interesting points arise? Work it into a narrative.

Although external content may be embedded and utilised (e.g. audio and video), content should be original or free from licensing restrictions.

DESIGN

Web sites will embody a design appropriate to theme and audience. The design will enhance the user experience and not detract from the content offered. The design will demonstrate balanced composition, excellent use of fonts, an appropriate and clear balance of colours and an appropriately consistent layout.

CODING

Web sites will demonstrate an advanced understanding of HTML5 (including semantic structure) and CSS. The code will not include any deprecated tags. jQuery will be used to provide user interactions and the code will be concise and expedient.

Submission of Major Projects

Major projects are to be submitted in week 13 into your <account>/Sites/mas241 folder and home pages will be called index.html. The onus is on students to ensure that their projects are placed in the correct folder. Failure to do so means that sites cannot be assessed and may incur late submission penalties.

Late Submission

A late penalty of 10% per day will be applied.

Extensions

Extensions may only be granted by the unit convenor in line with university policy.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  • Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  • Solve coding and design challenges.
  • Work independently and professionally in response to project demands.
  • Communicate and present information in modes suited to a range of audiences.
  • Engage in the process of learning

Delivery and Resources

Lectures will be delivered via videos uploaded to iLearn.

There is no printed unit reader. Links to online articles are provided on iLearn. All other materials are held in eReserve.

Additional resources will be available from http://www.media.mq.du.au

There is no production manual for this unit. Students are required to attend workshops and take notes.

Students are expected to watch all lectures, attend all workshops and complete set readings. MAS241 is a 3 credit point unit and as such students are required to undertake 10 hours of study per week.

Unit Schedule

Please note that all lectures are delivered via videos embedded into the weekly iLearn topics and all readings are available online either via links to external sources or as scanned readings (see iLearn for details).

Week 1 - Introduction to MAS241

Jeffrey Zeldman. (2005). 'Understanding Web Design'. A List Apart. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/understandingwebdesign

Week 2 - What makes a good website?

Australian Interactive Media Association. (2013). 'Judging Criteria'.AIMIA. http://www.aimia.com.au/home/awards/aimia-awards/judging-criteria.

Webby Awards. (2016). 'Webby Entries: Judging Criteria'. The Webby Awards. http://www.webbyawards.com/entries/criteria.php#websites.

Steve Krug. (2005). Don't Make Me Think. New Riders Publishing: Berkley, California. pp.94-121.

Week 3 - The audience

David Vogler. (2001). 'Thinking About the Audience' in Steve Heller (ed.)The Education of an E-Designer. Allworth Press: Canada.

Manuel Castells. (2010). The Rise of the Network Society. Wiley-Blackwell: West Sussex, UK. pp.355-371.

Week 4 - Information architecture

Steve Krug. (2005). Don't Make Me Think. New Riders Publishing: Berkley, California. pp.50-95.

Jeffrey Veen. (2001). The Art and Science of Web Design. New Riders Publishing: Berkley, California. pp.72-101.

Week 5 - Planning a website

John Shiple. (2010). 'Information Architecture Tutorial (Parts 1-4)'. Webmonkey. http://www.webmonkey.com/2010/02/information_architecture_tutorial/

Jeffrey Veen. (2001). The Art and Science of Web Design. New Riders Publishing: Berkley, California. pp.1-29.

Week 6 - Design I

Brandon Jones. (2011). 'Understanding Visual Hierarchy in Web Design'. Webdesign Tuts+. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/understanding-visual-hierarchy-in-web-design/.

Connor Turnbull. (2011). 'Unity in Web Design'. Webdesign Tuts+. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/unity-in-web-design/.

Curt Ziegler. (2011). 'Less is More: Fundamentals of Minimalist Web Design'. Webdesign Tuts+. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/less-is-more-fundamentals-of-minimalist-web-design/.

Week 7 - Design II

Thomas Cannon. (2010). 'An Introduction to Color Theory for Web Designers'. Webdesign Tuts+. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/an-introduction-to-color-theory-for-web-designers/.

Donald Johansson. (2010). 'Colors on the Web'. http://www.colorsontheweb.com/.

Diogo Terror. (2009). 'Lessons From Swiss Style Graphic Design'. Smashing Magazine. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/17/lessons-from-swiss-style-graphic-design/. This is a fairly lengthy piece, but it's mainly images. Do check it out and get inspired.

Vitaly Friedman. (2007). 'Desiging with Grid-Based Approach'. Smashing Magazine. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/04/14/designing-with-grid-based-approach/.

Week 8 - Writing for the Web

John Morkes & Jakob Nielsen. (1997). 'Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to write for the Web'. Nielsen Norman Group. http://www.nngroup.com/articles/concise-scannable-and-objective-how-to-write-for-the-web/.

Amber Simmonds. (2007). 'Reviving Anorexic Web Writing'. A List Apart. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/revivinganorexicwebwriting/.

Week 9 - Mediating the Web: interfaces

Steve Krug. (2005). Don't Make Me Think. New Riders Publishing: Berkley, California. pp.11-29.

Jeffrey Veen. (2001). The Art and Science of Web Design. New Riders Publishing: Berkley, California. pp.30-71.

Week 10 - Images ... are worth a thousand words

Ahmed Hussan. (2012). 'Visual Direction in Web Design'. Webdesign Tuts+. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/visual-direction-in-web-design/.

Ahmed Hussan. (2011). 'The Gestalt Principle: Design Theory for Web Designers'. Webdesign Tuts+. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/visual-direction-in-web-design/.

Weeks 11-13 - Project development

There are no readings for these weeks, but workshop time will be invaluable.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

New Assessment Policy in effect from Session 2 2016 http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html. For more information visit http://students.mq.edu.au/events/2016/07/19/new_assessment_policy_in_place_from_session_2/

Assessment Policy prior to Session 2 2016 http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy.html

Grading Policy prior to Session 2 2016 http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/grading/policy.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Additional information

MMCCS website https://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/faculties_and_departments/faculty_of_arts/department_of_media_music_communication_and_cultural_studies/

MMCCS Session Re-mark Application http://www.mq.edu.au/pubstatic/public/download/?id=167914

Information is correct at the time of publication

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  • Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  • Communicate and present information in modes suited to a range of audiences.

Assessment tasks

  • Coding Tests
  • Web Site Review
  • Major Project

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  • Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  • Solve coding and design challenges.
  • Identify and self-assess performance within this unit of study.

Assessment tasks

  • Web Site Review
  • Major Project

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  • Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  • Solve coding and design challenges.

Assessment tasks

  • Coding Tests
  • Major Project

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Solve coding and design challenges.
  • Work independently and professionally in response to project demands.

Assessment task

  • Major Project

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Work independently and professionally in response to project demands.
  • Communicate and present information in modes suited to a range of audiences.

Assessment tasks

  • Web Site Review
  • Major Project

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Engage in the process of learning

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Identify and self-assess performance within this unit of study.

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply a critical knowledge of the practices, theories and technologies of contemporary Web design.
  • Work independently and professionally in response to project demands.
  • Identify and self-assess performance within this unit of study.
  • Engage in the process of learning

Assessment task

  • Web Site Review

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Combine HTML, CSS and jQuery in the production of interactive Web-based media.
  • Engage in the process of learning

Late Penalties

Late penalties of 10% per day apply for each assignment. The late penalty reflects the project management aspect of this unit. Students are expected to adhere to submission committments as though they were submitting commercial projects where deadlines are of utmost importance.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
25/07/2016 Amended a broken URL.