Web Design Training

Alright, so this year I’m in charge of my team’s website. This means that I’ll be helping with the newbies who decide to join the web design group this year. At this point, I pretty much get what I’m doing, but I’m not sure of the best way of teaching it to these underclassmen. I’m thinking of a sort of sandbox approach, where maybe I can have them play with existing pages, and take care of updates to get used to the code, but without actually changing the page itself unless I approve what they’ve done. I figure before that I can teach them basic HTML tags and CSS, and that should teach them enough to handle general updating. I figure if I let them sandbox everything else, by the time I graduate at least one of them should have enough of an understanding of the site to handle it after I leave.
So should I change up my current method? This is my first year in leadership, and only the second year of the site’s existence, so I’m not really sure what I’m doing here. Also, is there anything else I’m forgetting to teach?

I would plan something new for the site as well, maybe bring in the new students into the brainstorming and planning for soemthing new. This will give them a chance to see some project management and how to roll out something new.

Also, not sure how your site is hosted, but be sure to bring them up to speed on that as well. Someone needs to know what to do if the hosting service goes south.

And if you really want to have some fun, back up your site, wipe it out and teach them about disaster recovery :eek:

Remember, the sandbox doesn’t need to be visible to the web - dropping it on any hard disk (or a network drive if you want to share) will offer much of the same experience.

Definitely cover disaster recovery, backups and version control. Also let them code an HTML page by hand, so they understand how to read the source view. Sometimes, knowing that has saved by bacon.

Do everyone a favor and spend the year converting the site to an open source and free content management platform like Joomla, DotNetNuke, wordpress, etc. The days of hand coding pages from scratch ended years ago. Today’s websites are about concentrating on the content, and using html/css to do an overall layout and design ONCE not once per page.

Furthermore if you get a good CMS you can delegate content updates to team leaders, and preview all updates prior to publishing them publicly. You can add functionality by purchasing inexpensive modules (in addition to the dozens of free ones you get with the package).

I’m not saying don’t learn CSS/HTML/Javascript - I’m saying don’t reinvent the wheel by hand coding things that are already provided to you in a development platform - spend your precious software development time on really COOL stuff, and make updating your content easy and delegatable. That’s what company’s are doing today - and what a good webmaster should be pushing their team towards.

I decided to go to DotNetNuke this year, and it was a big time saver. Having our previous website deleted, we had to build it from the ground up and no hand coding saved LOTS of time. Now, all i have to teach is the settings of the site and how it works (database content generation). I agree that CMS is the way to go.

Well said!

I agree with rsisks in that teach them to plan properly.

Better than actually HOW to do it, is structure and basic etiquette. It really makes me…frustrated, when I see a website with a cluttered home page, or a website that has complex navigation. Teach them to plan, structure, and to lay things out

As for actual code, I started making websites just recently. And a basic understanding of HTML really helped before I went to DreamWeaver/CSS, simply because I could understand what was going on. So I would recommend teaching this, and developing an understanding.

From there, I would recommend introducing a Development Platform that OScubed talked about. That way they have a wide scope of knowledge on the subject.

Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla!, and even using a forum software’s CMS plugin/add-on are a great start. You can still teach them HTML/CSS since they will need those skills to work on the theme or customize the code, and even introduce them to PHP and templating a CMS/forum. Just like OScubed mentioned, using one of those will prepare the students for the future of the web, not just the history. Almost all medium- to large-sized companies and businesses use a CMS in one form or another.

Either use a CMS, or get some experience and have the web team work on making a custom CMS for your site. Then if the team really wants some custom aspects you can put it in there, and the web team will have the ability to do that. If you make a CMS it will be a better learning tool for you and all involved because it will teach you about real world web programing. Then the site content will be updated by the leadership and the web team will just have to worry about the site being matained. And you can add new features if wanted.

It is alot of work just an idea.


Well, I think I’ve about figured out what I’m going to be doing. I’ve been working on setting up Joomla on our web server, and I’m starting to get a handle on that. I’ll probably wait a while before I start teaching that though, just so I know it well enough to teach it. I’ll probably start them on basic site management (file handling and updating) and do some sandboxing with HTML and CSS, and I might work in PHP later on. I figure I’ll try and teach Javascript as well, but since I haven’t dealt with it as much, I should probably brush up on it first.

We get assigned to logistics/management teams this week, so I should have an idea of what I’m working with soon.

If you need help with Joomla, let me know. I’ve been almost using it exclusively for a CMS.

I have just started learning the web development.
All i need is the guidance of some expert. I am developing a shopping cart.
I have decided to build in Zen Cart. What do you suggest?
Will it be good if to build on this framework. Though I don’t have much detail knowledge about web development as well as PHP.
Please help.

Like everyone else here I say a CMS would be the best way to go. It took me a few years to get efficient enough in HTML and CSS to build a site from the ground up, and I’ve been coding in PHP and jQuery for a few years now but building our team’s site from scratch took months. Putting in a Wordpress installation took minutes.

We’re updating to a CMS as well, as we’ve noticed our site’s slowing down from minor glitches from coding that are now causing trouble.

Better than actually HOW to do it, is structure and basic etiquette. It really makes me…frustrated, when I see a website with a cluttered home page, or a website that has complex navigation. Teach them to plan, structure, and to lay things out

That’s a key point to everything, as it’s important to make sure what you want, and then take appropriate steps to get there (like everything else in FIRST :D)