Web Site Architecture and Design


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Course Description

This course focuses on the construction of a web site. Students will learn how web sites work, and how to design good web sites. Students will be provided with free web space where they can design their own sites. This web space will be available even after the course ends.

The course will not be conducted using an application package to generate pages. Instead, students will be taught how to hand-code the pages. The emphasis is on the use of standard compliant HTML 4.01 and CSS level 2.0. Validity control will be an integral part of the composition process. Students are allowed whatever tool they wish to use to create their sites, but final project sites must be standards compliant.

In addition, the course will cover the base ground of background knowledge that is required to understand how the web really works. Students will listen to presentations about http and URIs, as well as on the apache web server.

Finally students will be introduced to the subject of information architecture.

Course objectives

After taking this course students


There are no other formal prerequisites for this course. However this course is not suitable for technophobes. Students should be familiar with the World Wide Web, and should be able to use a MS Windows computer, i.e. click on an icon to run a program. Students should also be familiar with basic concepts of computer hardware and software, concepts like files, memory, as well as an understand of the Internet and of client/server architecture. Everything that goes beyond that will be explained in class or by personal tuition from the instructor. No prior knowledge of HTML and CSS is assumed.


Thomas Krichel
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548–1300
work phone: +1–(516)299–2843

Private contact details may be obtained from the online CV.

Class structure

Classes will be held in the computing lab of the of the Westchester graduate center between 12:00 and 17:00. Each class will have a lengthy presentation by the instructor. For some small part of class time the students will work directly with their computers under the supervision of the instructor. Students may stay in the lab after the end of the class for supervised practice, but this will only be possible until the end of the opening time of the lab. The instructor will stay as long as there are students who want to work and as long as the lab is open. In addition, the instructure will be in the lab one hour before each class to answer questions.

Class details:

0 2003–11–01, 12:00 to 17:00 introduction to web design
1 2003–11–08, 12:00 to 17:00 HTML I
2 2003–11–15, 12:00 to 17:00 HTML II
3 2003–11–22, 12:00 to 17:00 CSS I
4 2003–12–06 snow, class cancelled
5 2003–12–14, 9:00 to 18:00 CSS II, http, URIs

To print the slides in Microsoft powerpoint, press control-p to print, then under "Print what" choose "Handouts", and under "Color/grayscale" choose "Pure Black and White". You can also use openoffice to print the slides.


As far as the design of web sites is concerned, Krug (2000) and Nielsen (2000) are classic references. Morville and Rosenfeld (2002) is a good book on information architecture.

The technical specifications of HTML and CSS are on the web. HTML 4.01 is defined in Raggett et al. (1999). CSS level 2 is defined in Bos et al. (1998). http is defined in RFC 2616. URLs are defined in RFC 1738, but that definition was updated in RFC 2396. MIME types are documented in IANA 2002. The documentation of apache is online at

If students want a textbook on HTML and CSS, they are spoiled for choice. Castro (2002) is a widely used and reasonably priced book for beginners. Werbach (2002) is a good online source. A book that the instructor likes a lot is Musciano and Kennedy (2002). But it is expensive.


Before each class except the first, there will be a quiz on the issued covered in the previous class. The average of all the quiz results will count for 50% of the assessment. On the second class meeting, the students will hand in a one-page typed statement about the web site that they want to build. This statement should cover both the purpose of the web site and the site's architecture. The assessment of this statment will count for the 10% of the grade.

The remaining 40% will be assessed through the student's ability to build a web site. The site must validate against the strict version of the HTML 4.01 specification. The site must have a style sheet with the main presentational elements. The site should provide an information source about a topic, though it need not to be comprehensive by any means. The informational contents should go beyond simple link collections or pathfinders. The total amount of information contained should roughly be equivalent to a conventional student essay. The web site will count for 40% of the final grade. It has to be finalized one week after the last class.

Student sites

Angela Cornwell
Alice DeWaters
Gloria Meisel
Mary Anne Franco
Janet Ranucci
Erin J. Senig
Linda Higham
Steven Lippman
Christina Pusatere

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