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Web Design Studies That Further Your Career

Pursuing an undergraduate degree in web design? Now that the Internet has embraced social networking, blogs, and other Web 2.0 components, designers have to be nimble enough to adjust to the business requirements of their clients and employers.

Although the Web is a living, ever-changing entity, basic design principles will always apply in the workplace. If you're enrolled or considering entry into a graphic design degree or web design degree program, you may want to select a range of online courses that provide training in the essential components of design.

Here are some essential elements to consider:

Look and Feel versus Operability
Your website should not only look great, it should function intuitively and efficiently. Look over the course list to balance your training in both graphics design as well as in search optimization (SEO - Hi Rand) skills sought by many employers. Be sure your courses cover graphics optimization, image maps, vector graphics, and typography.

Navigation and Usability
Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen says consistency is the key in usability. Whenever a site breaks users' expectations, they're frustrated, they click off, and go elsewhere. Take courses that show you how to create sites that flow easily and efficiently without sacrificing appearance.

Adobe Flash is the animation program of choice for many web designers. It allows you to embed fonts, stunning colors and images, and dynamic sound and video into your site design. But it also has plug-in requirements and has many restrictions in functionality over HTML. You'll need to know why.

Static versus Dynamic
Static pages require updating by designers or content managers. Dynamic pages can be modified on by databases and scripting languages. Broaden your appeal to employers by taking courses in PHP, ASP, JavaScript, Perl, DHTML, Coldfusion, JSP, or Python.

Now, here's the good news: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that "graphic designers with website design and animation experience will especially be needed" through the upcoming decade. Get going! Search distance learning schools offering graphic & web design degrees.

Jakob Nielsen
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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