Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and Digital Photography
Web Design I course at Sessions College

Web Design I

3 credits

WEB 231: Web Design I

Learn to manage the website design process

To design today's Web sites, you need a complete skillset. Clients expect you to be able to research, plan, build, design, and test a site, using contemporary technologies and design styles. In this online Web design course, you'll learn a systematic professional approach to Web design, using site maps, wireframes, HTML/CSS layouts, comps, color palettes, usability tests, and other tools and concepts to make sure your designs hit the mark. Four portfolio projects will challenge your Web design skills, helping you build an understanding of how to manage Web design projects in a professional context.

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 3 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Christopher Schmitt[/types

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. Competitive Analysis & Information Architecture

      Let's begin with an overview of the different steps in a Web design project, focusing on the essential planning steps that no Web project should start without. You'll explore how to define a site's business objectives, perform a competitive analysis on your client's competitors, and present your design recommendations. You'll also learn a methodology for developing an information architecture. Different GUI design conventions are explored in reference to building maps for typical site areas.

    2. Wireframes and Layouts

      This week we will concentrate on the challenge of developing wireframes and layouts for the main pages in your site. In any Web design project, presenting the client with well-designed, clearly labeled wireframes is a crucial step in confirming the priority and location of different page elements. In this lesson, you'll also explore techniques for creating and validating one-, two-, or three-column layouts in HTML so you can prepare page content for visual design using CSS. In the exercise, you'll structure the wireframes and layouts for your ongoing site project.

    3. Color and Imagery

      Now it's time to explore the process for developing a visual design for a site project. You'll learn how to create a formal or informal mood board, using it as collaborative tool for establishing a site's personality. You'll explore how to select a color palette and look at how color schemes are implemented in professional page layouts to support branding and site navigation. Turning your attention to imagery, you'll examine some some best practices for using images on the Web and learn techniques for combining images with CSS: background images, tiles, stationary images, and text-as-image.

    4. Web Typography

      In this week's class, we examine the essential topic of typography. You'll review some fundamentals of typeface anatomy and classification and explore how to choose typefaces for different Web page applications, including titles, headers, body text, and pullquotes. As you'll discover, the basic principles of typography still apply on the Web, but the differences between the Web and print, as well as the inherent limitations of the medium, must be taken into account. In the latter part of the lesson you'll learn some essential concepts for CSS type layout, including font selection, column width, alignment, paragraph formatting, using blockquotes, and initial caps.

    5. Understanding the User Experience

      This session will explore the hot-button issue of usability, the ease with which a Web user accomplishes a task on a Web site. The lesson begins with an exploration of how common Web surfing habits affect the placement and usability of various site features. You'll also examine some tried-and-true principles for effective Web navigation design. In the second half of the lesson, you'll learn a formal process for conducting usability tests, looking at how to administer focus groups, card sorting, and A/B tests.

    6. Online Portfolios

      An online portfolio is an essential marketing tool for any designer, showcasing your best work and telling potential clients what you have to offer. In the final lecture we will explore some principles and techniques for building an online portfolio for an artist or designer. You'll explore fundamental dos and don'ts for getting your portfolio up and running and learn some cool DOM-based methods for a slick presentation of graphic content.

Sample Student Work

by Carol Mancini

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Projects in this course include a site concept and map, page layout design. Web color and image design, blog page design, usability tests, and art/design portfolio site.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Photoshop or equivalent program.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver or equivalent program OR experience in coding from scratch in HTML/CSS
  • An account with a Web hosting service (free services are available).

What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Develop and present a well-researched competitive analysis for a Web site project.
  • Create and present an orderly, well-structured information architecture for a Web site project.
  • Create and present clear and cleanly designed page-level wireframes indicating the layout of content and features on main site pages.
  • Create valid one, two, or three-column CSS layouts for a Web site project.
  • Develop collage-style and formal mood boards to define the design style of a Web site.
  • Develop and and implement an appropriate color scheme for a client.
  • Use best practice approaches to incorporating JPEG, GIF, and PNG imagery in conjunction with CSS.
  • Use CSS to specify and layout typography for main Web page applications, including titles, headers, and body text.
  • Use CSS to precisely manipulate column width, alignment, paragraph formatting, blockquotes, and initial caps.
  • Follow basic principles of usability in page layout and navigation design.
  • Perform a usability test to assess the effectiveness of Web site structure or functionality.
  • Design an artist's portfolio site, making sure important objectives are met and using a DOM-based technique for presenting graphics.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 3 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees 
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $1730

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Click Register Now to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed in a 15-week term. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).