Lesson 1: Surveying the Possibilities


The purpose of this lesson is to begin considering what makes a high-quality website. As a group, we will explore questions such as these:

It is tempting in a web design course to plunge in and start right away creating and developing web pages. However, since our goal is for you to learn to develop high-quality websites, we first must spend some time developing an understanding of what "quality" means. This is important because if websites aren't developed with quality in mind, visitors might be unable to find the content or features they're looking for, or they may be unable to access or use these features. Users don't give websites many chances. If they don't like a site, they may leave quickly and never return. If they like a site, they'll return to it again and again, plus they'll tell others about it.

In addition to understanding website quality, you must spend some time planning a website before you begin to develop its content. Just as there are pre-writing steps that ought to be done prior to writing an essay, there are pre-coding steps to do before you create a website. Planning ahead will reduce the number of mistakes you'll make while constructing the site. In the work world, this will save you time and money.

Learner Outcomes

At the completion of this exercise:


  1. What is a high-quality website? As a group, discuss the questions presented in the Overview section above.
  2. What do the experts say? Visit the websites listed below in the Resources section. Each of these resources provides someone else's opinions as to what constitutes high-quality websites. Which of these resources do you most agree with? Do you disagree with any of these authors' opinions? Discuss this as a group.
  3. Become a web critic. Individually, visit at least two high school websites and at least two commercial websites (look for good and bad examples of each type). Keep detailed notes about what you observe. Look at your own school website, plus other schools in your district, your state, and around the world. Record as many examples as you are able to find. Of those you evaluate, identify which one is the highest quality website, and which one is the lowest.
    • Rate each site from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest).
    • Comment on the site's design. Does the site look good? What is the eye drawn to immediately?
    • Comment on the site's content. What seems to be the main purpose of the site? Is the purpose clear?
    • Comment on the site's noteworthy features. How do the features enhance the site's main purpose?

    Create a table for your notes which looks something like this:








Resources/Online Documents

All done?

Show your instructor your completed list of websites you've evaluated.