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Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.

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Web Design Classes: 10 things learned, Weeks 2 & 3

“10 Things Learned” each week was ambitious and perhaps every 2 weeks is more realistic. There are 14 or so months to go and still feeling it out...

_Plan. Like any other design project, planning is an essential first step. Using a pencil and paper is my preferred method first step and some like to just get down and dirty on the computer. OmniGraffle seems to lead the pack in flowcharts/diagrams. Adobe’s Illustrator is a great way to sketch out designs.

_Dreamweaver continues to impress. There is a laundry list of amazing tools in Dreamweaver and notable this week is what happens "in the background". There are seamless, well-integrated production/workflow tools that seem to make developing/design much faster and easier. That is no small thing.

_Keep files organized. So far, there doesn’t seem to be a “Collect” (Quark) or a “Package” (Indesign) function in any web design software. So, that root folder is gold. Figure out a naming convention, structure and stick with it.

_Try not to let technology fog common sense or the end goal. While it may be tempting to use a cool new script (there are many and I have been wowed) or software, it may not be appropriate for the client or the project even if the goal changes.

_H1, title tag, and “apples, apples, apples”. These 3 SEO tips for a beginner have been drilled into my head.


    1. H1: Use it once and use it well
    2. The title tag: Name each page. If it is missing, then guaranteed an intended user is not doing a search for “Untitled Document”.
    3. “Apples, apples, apples”: Each page serves as a landing opportunity or entry point for readers/users to a website so try and be as specific and true to the content on each page. If apples are a product, make an apple page and make it all about apples. My favorite: Honey Crisp.



_Lorem Ipsum. Need dummy text to mock-up pages? Check out Lorem Ipsum.

_File Sharing Services. You Send it used to be a favorite. Then, pando. Now, OmniDrive and Box.net are at the top of my list.

_Astroturfing. This one comes courtesy of a friend and classmate in the Business Strategies class. Apparently it means “creating a false grassroots movement”. Wikipedia has a more in-depth explanation of astroturfing.

_Centering a circle in Adobe Illustrator (on the Mac): First, figure out the center point. Perhaps the goal is to center a circle or oval on top of a rectangle. Select the Ellipse tool > Hold down the Option-key > drag the Ellipse tool. (Holding Shift at the same time creates a perfect circle).

_The quickie screen grab: All this time I was using the Grab tool on the Mac (found in the Utilities folder in Applications). This key stroke is much faster: Command (apple)-Shift-Number 4. A cross hair with a circle around it should show up. Drag that across the areas to be captured and voila! a PNG file shows up on the desktop.

Photo Booth at the Ace Hotel

'Light Food' by Photographer Kenneth Chen