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Website Design 101

Make The Change is at CHIJ Katong Convent to conduct a website design workshop with them! As many of the students came for this workshop without a design background, they were quite curious but also skeptical on designing a website from scratch.

As Saul Bass, an American graphic designer and Oscar-winning filmmaker, once said “Design is thinking made visual”, we assured the students that with the right tools and imagination, website design can be fun and interesting.

To get them warmed up, we played a game of Kahoot as an icebreaker activity. Soon, we could see the girls participating excitedly, coming up with quirky nicknames for themselves and fighting to be first on the scoreboard. The then awkward environment slowly became filled with laughter and chatter.

We began our workshop by introducing them to the term UI/UX. Based on their reaction, it was safe to say that the students had not heard of the term before, and we secretly heave a sigh of relief. We knew that if we were to explain to them what UI/UX is in technical and complicated terms, we played a video that explains it for us. Creating a website is not just about beautiful layouts and design, it should and must be user friendly. If your website does not have a navigation bar or your font is too small, it is going to discourage users from using it.

While UI/UX is important, it was equally important to learn the thinking process before building a website. This is where Design Thinking comes into play. There are 5 vital steps in Design Thinking that helps a designer determine his creation journey. It is easy to jump straight into a project without planning and anticipating problems but the chances of succeeding is relatively low. Design Thinking helps you see the bigger picture. According to Interaction Design, it helps you “understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding”. We were thankful that throughout the entire sharing, the girls remained keen and attentive.

For the last part of the sharing, it was time to introduce tools that can be used to create and design a website from scratch. There are 2 ways we can build a website, either by coding or using an application. Obviously, the girls are not professional coders nor they have the time to code an entire website within 3 hours, hence we introduced to them something called Content Management System. CMS is a software application that can be used to manage and modify digital content, which includes creating a website. The CMS we introduced to the students was Wix. A simple yet lucrative software that can create beautiful websites. Without going into too much detail on how to use Wix, we encouraged the students to try it out by themselves, tasking them with a mini assignment of creating an online flower shop.

At first, they were quite unsure on how to use the software as there were so many tools available for them. However, as they went along to create their own online flower shop, they slowly got the hang of Wix. They were participating actively and asked many questions to better their website design. At the end of the workshop, we saw many beautiful online flower shops, each had their own distinct features. We were proud to see what the girls had come up with within the 3 hours of the workshop. Even though it was difficult for some of them, all of the students still put in their greatest effort to design their website.

The workshop ended with a short survey and a recap on what we have taught the past hours. We hope that the girls enjoyed designing their own website, as much as we enjoyed teaching them (: We look forward to them using the information we shared to create more wonderful websites or even digital portfolios in the near future!


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