Design principles

Bellevue College

Explore the planning and design phase of creating a user-focused website. This course covers the steps to take before you start building, including defining the purpose and audience; outlining the structure and navigation; and designing the look and feel. In this class you will create a detailed plan for your site. Your site should not be an ecommerce site (we are not designing applications) and should not be so large that a preliminary redesign would take more than two weeks.

There is information on Canvas as well.

Upon completion of this course,
you should be able to …

  • Understand how to design a website
  • Explain best practices & guidelines for planning a website
  • Discuss navigation techniques and terminology
  • Analyze a website and critique what “works” and what doesn’t
  • Use usability principles and a checklist to help you create user-friendly sites

Course Outcomes

  • Establish the purpose and goals of a website
  • Identify the characteristics and needs of the website’s audience.
  • Create a site architecture diagram that describes the website’s information architecture
  • Develop a navigation plan for the website
  • Write the design specification for the website
  • Determine the publishing environment for the website

Course Prerequisites

Students should have a basic knowledge of the web and browsers. Participants should be proficient with navigating to folders and files; opening, saving and closing files; and using menus, toolbars and dialog boxes.

Course Text

The Elements of User Experience, 2nd edition
Jesse James Garrett. New Riders, 2011.

Web Style Guide, 3rd Edition
Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton, Yale University Press, 2009
Available online at

Course requirements

Participants must attend a minimum of 70% of class sessions and successfully complete course assignments. It is essential to be present and punctual.

Much of the work in this course will take place outside of the classroom. Class sessions are principally progress reports and troubleshooting. Students must have assignments completed when they are due.

  • Skill-check assignments (2)
  • Final quiz

Please remember that certificates are issued at the discretion of the instructor.


A | High quality work demonstrating outstanding skills, craftsmanship, and innovative approaches to the problem.
B | Satisfies the minimum requirements of the project and demonstrates thorough understanding of concepts and principles.
C | Satisfies the minimum requirements of the project.
D | Does not satisfy the minimum requirements of the project. Problems with quality and/or knowledge of concepts.
F | Falls well below expected standards in solving the minimum requirements of the project.

Recommended books

  • Cooper, Alan; Reimann, Robert; and Cronin, Dave. About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Wiley Pub, 2007.
  • Lidwell, William; Holden, Kritina; Butler, Jill; and Elam, Kimberly. Universal Principles of Design: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design. Rockport Publishers, 2010.
  • Moggridge, Bill. Designing Interactions. MIT Press, 2007.
  • Norman, Don. The Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded. Basic Books, 2013.
  • Norman, Don. Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. Basic Books, 2004.
  • Tufte, EdwardEnvisioning Information. Graphics Press, 1990.
  • Unger, Russ and Chandler, Carolyn. A Project Guide to UX Design. New Riders, 2012.


Web sites, resources