Opera Web Standards Curriculum

Opera announced their Web Standards Curriculum is now available. This is a big deal to many of us working on web standards and education. Here’s their intro:

Learning Web Standards just got easier. Opera’s new Web Standards Curriculum is a complete course to teach you standards-based web development, including HTML, CSS, design principles and background theory, and JavaScript basics. It already has support from many organizations (including Yahoo! and the Web Standards Project) and universities.

The introduction and table of contents, written by Chris Mills, explains what is there now and what is still in development, who will find the curriculum useful, and how to use it.

Chris Mills is also a member of the WaSP Education Task Force that is also developing a web standards curriculum.

Useful Links: search Flash, WaSP EduTF on Facebook

TechCrunch reports that Adobe is providing Google and Yahoo with the technology to search and index Flash files. Flash websites will no longer be invisible to the search engines. Well, that certainly changes things. Now that Flash won’t be the whipping boy of web design, in the same category as table-based layouts, we have a lot of rethinking to do. What do you think this is going to mean to the look and feel of the web?

WaSP Education Task Force decided it needed a Facebook page. Which means that I finally joined Facebook. I’m probably the last Facebook holdout in America. I’m so beyond the high school/college demographic I’ve never been tempted by Facebook. In my world, Facebook has officially become ubiquitous.

Added 7/2/08: Adobe’s FAQ page about searchable SWF files.

Useful links

College Degree.com is a portal for all sorts of online college information. They recently put together a list of 60+ Killer Open Courseware Collections for Web Designers. This includes courses from schools like Miami Dade, the U of Minnesota, Berkeley, and the U of Indiana.

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 is an important article for educators by John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler at Educause.

A Command of Headings: Usage and Styling from Mike Cherim is a terrific article about headings. Examples with both HTML and CSS for everything you might want to do with a heading and some tricks you may not have heard about yet.

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.

Useful links for today

Zappos shares secrets of 75% Repeat Business at Christine.net explains why this company is famous for having the world’s best customer service. Christine says, “I’m starting to think that customer service may be sexy after all.”

10 Principles of Effective Web Design at Smashing Magazine is a good article. It would make a good handout in any class discussion of this issue.

Opera Releases Opera Mobile 9.5 with all sorts of new enhancements and faster speed.