Three Ways to Get Web Design Students to Talk

Have a class that needs a little bonding or is not opening up to class discussion? Here are three activities that might draw them out.

Have each student think of a site they like and a thing they do frequently on that site. This becomes a task for the other students. Everyone must go to the site and do what the student suggesting the task does. It’s interesting to see how hard it is for some to find their way to whatever it is. This leads to some interesting discussions about navigation, usability, and what you’re willing to go through if you’re really motivated to figure something out.

Do a card sort exercise. Here’s a description of card sorting if you don’t know what it is.
Make groups of two or three students for the card sorts and then have the groups compare what they did after the cards are sorted. This leads to lots of conversation. It gives the teacher a chance to talk about how different people approach the organization of ideas and how essential it is to be absolutely clear about global menu categories, link text and usability.

Have them make a web page with data about one of the other members of the class. They must interview the person. Then they put the info into a page of their own design and share what they did with the class. Here you can do teacher talk about how certain colors, design elements, fonts, or whatever help represent the “idea” of a particular person. In the ensuing discussion students present their pages and the group can talk about how well the page succeeds in capturing a person.

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