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Interactive Web Design

A New Design Discipline with Exciting Career Options

The graphic design industry has been shifting over the last 15 years to include a new branch of design: interactive web design. This branch includes the following careers:

  • Graphic/Web Designer – Typically a combination of traditional graphic design and web design. Experience with print-based approaches as well as web layout and HTML/CSS is normal.
  • Web Designer – A focused web design position that usually expects strong design skill as well as advanced abilities with HTML and CSS. JavaScript skills may be required as well. Knowledge of how to structure sites and develop content strategically can also be a part of these roles.
  • Front-end/UI Designer – Similar to the Web Designer, but most likely to require JavaScript skills and a knowledge of programming environments including the ability to collaborate successfully in application development settings. These designers will likely work on projects beyond just websites such as mobile applications, web-based applications, and even desktop applications.
  • Front-end Developer – Typically a more programming-focused position that expects HTML/CSS and JavaScript skills and might also expect additional programming skills. However, the emphasis is more on the aspects of the system — be it a website or application — with which the user sees and interacts, so strong abilities with aesthetic elements and user experience are in demand.
  • Interactive Designer – Most likely to require skills similar to the positions above but with a greater interest in user experience.
  • User Experience Designer – Likely to expect applicants to have abilities with design and front-end development, but the emphasis in these positions can be more focused on planning, researching, and testing concepts with users.
  • And others!

Common Skill Sets

As the field matures, these positions and others should continue to settle into more distinct domains. But right now, the lines are blurred. What is in common between them all is…

  • a strong sense for effective visual communication and interactive design
  • value for the crucial role that good content strategy plays in an effective site or application
  • intermediate to advanced skills with HTML and CSS
  • beginning to intermediate skills with JavaScript and other programming skills
  • experience with designing and implementing interactive solutions using these skills in combination
  • a high value for user-centered design and experience with usability and user testing
  • the ability to learn on the job and take on new challenges
  • the ability to collaborate well with peers from other disciplines

Our new Interactive Design Curriculum aims to prepare students to succeed in entry-level positions that require these skills.

Concentration Course Sequence

The following diagram shows the course sequence and offering plans, effective Fall 2016. 

Curriculum sequence and offering schedule for new Interactive Web Design courses.

Note: VCD-2700 will be offered out of normal sequence in Fall 2015 and VCD-3600 will be offered out of normal sequence in Spring 2016. VCD-2600 and VCD-3700 will be offered every semester beginning Fall 2015.