April 20, 2006

We be podcasting!

Dane’s Presentation for COMP 5230 (53 minutes, 24.5mb mp3)

– Presented at COMP 5230 Web Design and Digital Culture (section two), University of Minnesota Duluth, April 18 2006

On Tuesday I had the opportunity and privilege to speak at the University of Minnesota Duluth regarding web design. Back in 2003 when I was a student at UMD, I took an upper-division course called Web Design and Digital Culture , taught by Craig Stroupe. Over the past few years Craig and I have kept in contact, and a few months ago he invited me to come and give a presentation for his COMP 5230 class, the very same web design course I took three years ago. I heartily accepted!

At its core, Web Design and Digital Culture is more a composition and writing course than it is a design course. Students use the web as a jumping-off point for pursuing some pretty advanced writing topics, and discussing the use of digital technology to solve problems, both creative and cultural. Many of the students are pursuing degrees in engineering, and for most of them this is the first time they have ever fired up Dreamweaver or tinkered in Photoshop. As a class final they are required to find a client and build a website for them, a uniquely difficult project that turns out to be quite an educational and diplomatic undertaking.

I actually gave two presentations, as Craig has two sections of COMP 5230 this semester. I recorded both of them, but I plan to only release the audio for the second presentation. The mp3 is just over 53 minutes long, and it weighs in at 24.5 MB. Download the mp3, have a listen, and enjoy!

In case you want to skip around a bit, here’s what we got goin’ on in particular sections:

  • 0’0″ – intro, history, “the long road home”
  • 9’30” – brainsideout.com and an intro to web standards
  • 13’00 – tuesdaysrobot.com and the importance of letting content choose the direction of your design
  • 17’25” – ivebeentoduluth.net and the use of paypal to handle online commerce
  • 20’05” – more talk about paypal, getting a merchant account, and setting up a shopping cart
  • 22’00” – development site for happy tails boarding kennel
  • 25’35” – development site for lost mountain clayworks, the importance of taking great care of your clients, and the modular standards-based approach to web design
  • 30’10” – development site for the may 1st reboot of brainside out
  • 34’15” – “what’s the best way to start building a website?”
  • 36’20” – the importance of sketching, and starting with pen and paper
  • 38’15” – “how do you design a website for a client who doesn’t know what they want?”
  • 41’00” – the importance of having thick skin, and taking criticism in stride
  • 41’20” – the importance of tinkering with things to teach yourself new stuff
  • 43’40” – how to get started as a merchant with paypal, blood plasma donation
  • 46’15” – “where should I put my navigation?” introducing greatnannies.com and the wounded knee edition of brainside out
  • 48’50” – introducing www.dreamhost.com, the best damn webhost ever
  • 51’40” – registering and working with domain names… dreamhost does that, too!
  • 53’05” – it’s over!