FAQs and Answers

A revolutionary development in communication, the World Wide Web offers unprecedented access to mass audiences. Questions and Answers. Graphic courtesy of Microsoft Office 2007.This introductory course focuses on the principles and practices necessary to create effective pages for the Web.

Students receive instruction in writing hypertext documents, designing Web pages, authoring well-formed and valid HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), while meeting a variety of technical challenges. Web Design I focuses on purpose, scope, and audience considerations in page design; writing informative and persuasive on-line documents and designing coherent, portable, navigable, and interactive pages. Students learn to employ the fundamental principles of color theory, typography, layout and graphic design for the Web.HTML5 is the future in Web design.

Combining lab, lecture, and discussion, Web Design I instructs students in the best practices of electronic design to create their own interactive Web sites, accessible to a worldwide audience.

Required of all IDCC majors, this course is a prerequisite for IDCC 380 Web Design II: Information Architecture and Site Management.

IDCC 370 satisfies the college communication intensive requirement.

Questions hyperlink to the answers:

What exactly are the goals of this course?    To list. 


  • Demonstrate knowledge of the hardware/software concepts and models of the Internet and the Web (client/server model, browsers, HTTP, TCP/IP, FTP, and the like).
  • Demonstrate/Apply an understanding of the underlying concepts of the World Wide Web, especially graceful degradation, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), hierarchy, information modeling, information architecture, and the like.
  • Implement fundamental design theory and concepts applied to digital media for the Web.


  • Adopt best practices of HTML5 tagging and CSS, especially understanding structural aspects of nesting and page hierarchy in separating structure/content from style.
  • Produce interactive forms, navigation systems, and page elements using CSS and, time permitting, JavaScript.
  • Create Web pages (using a WYSIWYG IDE) according to generally accepted principles and best practices of user-centered page design by concentrating on purpose, scope, and audience. Layout, typography, color, navigation, and graphics are specific areas of design concern.
  • Optimize graphics for the Web, especially Jpeg and Gif.
  • Manage folders and files: nomenclature, FTP to server, backup procedures, and the like.
  • Write for the Web: provide information and analysis/evaluation succinctly through good writing, by developing discussions with effective introductions, short paragraphs, bullets, numbered lists, conclusions, and references, as applicable.
  • Credit written and graphic sources correctly (ethical, legal issues and plagiarism).


  • Experience the unalloyed joy of creating content for an international audience on the World Wide Web.
  • Take pride in creating a complete Web site, fully functioning, and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Appreciate the applied art of integrating text, graphics, and rich media (time permitting).
  • Understand that application of design theory is both an art and a science in a business realm.

I'm not really sure that I like computers. In fact, they scare me. Is this course really for me do you think?    To list. 

This course is not for you. To do a really good job of creating a Web site, you have to dedicate a lot of time to the Web, studying other people's sites, creating pages, and designing your own site. Don't get me wrong. This is a lot of fun. In fact, it's awfully easy to become obsessed with this stuff. But if you don't like computers — or if you're afraid of pushing the envelope with one — do yourself a favor....don't take this course.

Is this a software training course?    To list. 

Not actually, though you will learn quite a bit about HTML markup. You will spend the early weeks in the course familiarizing yourself with HTML, for that is the rendering language of the Web. I will schedule lab time as needed. Remember, too, that the purpose of this course is to teach you the principles of good writing, organizing, and designing for the Web. Of course, the whole enterprise is computer mediated, so we'll discuss technical issues that cross software platforms. But for each assignment, I'm assuming a base level of skills. Actually, as far as HTML tagging goes, you could do all the assignments with just a word processor, a browser, and Web access. 

Who should take this course?    To list. 

Anyone who loves the Web, who likes computers a lot, who is not afraid to "play" with one. You don't need to know anything about HTML, layout and design, writing for the Web, Web site organization and navigation, or graphics when you come into IDCC 370. Knowing any of that would help, but let's be realistic. What you do need is to care enough about your work to not allow slipshod and careless efforts pass as the best you can do.

Remember, this is an introductory course. If you like puzzles, are patient and curious, enjoy using your imagination, and like to tinker until something is just right — IDCC 370 is for you. In time, you'll get well acquainted with the fundamentals of Web site layout and design — you'll have your own site up and running (in great shape I hope!) by the end of the semester.

Actually, I know a lot about HTML. Is this course still the  right one for me?    To list. 

Yup. Take what you know as far as you can. If you know a lot about HTML, learn more. 

HTML5 is the future of the Web.For example, we will focus on the concept of "well-formedness." In well-formed Web documents, we put the emphasis on structure in HTML markup. (You will be introduced to some of the conceptual framework of HTML5, the future of documentation markup for the Web.) We will also learn about linked cascading style sheets, to make your HTML tagged documents as clean, portable, and ubiquitous as possible. Finally, we will examine various aspects of dynamic HTML5 using JavaScript (as time permits). 

Remember, we can tailor this course to your strengths, so if you know HTML or have technical expertise in computers or know how to design, you can still learn about unfamiliar areas. Tell me what you don't know. That's what we'll focus on.

Do I need my own computer?    To list. 

Yes, you should have your own computer — or at least easy access to one. The faster the computer the better. The Bentley computer labs in Lindsay Hall have tremendous equipment for you to use: 90 work stations, a scanner, and laser printers. A high speed connection to the Web will be yours through Bentley. If you have high speed access at the office or at home via an ISDN line or broadband cable, you will really enjoy doing your homework! Otherwise, surfing is a pain. By the way, you'll need access to a number of software programs as well. See the text and materials section for exact details.

Why would I ever need a course like this?    To list. 

Well, pretty soon everyone who has a computer will have a Web site. You may already have a blog, or know someone who does. Many people already want to develop rather sophisticated Web sites for personal, professional, or commercial use. Employers often hope — or expect — that new employees will be familiar with the World Wide Web, Intranets, and extranets.

Anyone in business is going to have to be familiar with information technology and document "repurposing." I will explain all of this to you as we progress in the course. Suffice it to say that you will need to know how to make corporate, business, and professional documentation accessible across a number of media: paper, Internet, intranet, extranet, and CD-ROM, to mention the most obvious. Central to that goal is "portability."

If you have some knowledge of how to develop "portable" material for the Web, you have a leg up in the employment market. Remember too that text and multimedia can be really tricky to mix. I think that if you have a Web site published to the world, you want it to be the best possible. This course will help you create a Web site (or a blog) you can be proud of.

I have heard this is a tough course. Is it hard?    To list. 

For some people, this is a tough course. I maintain, however, that the toughest thing about IDCC 370 is not the material itself. Designing Web pages is not rocket science — it's very creative, rewarding, and fun — sometimes it's hard work; sometimes it's exasperating. Doing it right and doing it well may take a lot of time.

I think the toughest part of this course is your having to rise to the level of a minimum professional standard. That means you have to follow certain design, writing, and publishing principles, chief of which are that your work be accurate, functioning, and correct.  Achieving this entry-level professional standard involves having a positive attitude, being disciplined, and persevering. Even though creating for the Web is often exhilarating, you will probably get tired. You may get frustrated. You may even want to quit. (Be sure to talk with me before things get that bad for you!)

Simply put, it often takes courage to be a professional. College juniors and seniors need to experience the rigors of an entry-level professional standard at least once before they graduate. This class is your opportunity to do that. Tough? Sure. Worth it? You bet. 

If I really like this course, is there another Web design course I can take?To list. 

IDCC 380 Web Design II: Information Architecture and Site Design is the next course in the Web Design sequence. Here is a description of IDCC 380:

Prerequisite: IDCC 370 or permission of instructor.

Building upon the knowledge and experience gained in IDCC 370 Web Design I, this course develops further the generally accepted concepts and applications of information architecture, human factors, and usability in creating and managing Web sites. Topics include page layout and design, navigation systems, interface design, Web graphics and multimedia, interactivity, writing for the Web, site architecture, management, and maintenance. Students will work with high-end Web authoring tools to create various site elements. By the end of the course, student teams will design and create fully functional prototype Web sites.

Questions? Drop Me a Note

Send a note. (Graphic courtesy of Microsoft Office.)

E-mail Buchholz. (Graphic courtesy of Microsoft).

If you would prefer, drop me a line using your own e-mail client at: William Buchholz (wbuchholz@bentley.edu). I look forward to corresponding with you.

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