ST. LOUIS– Nearly two dozen journalism faculty with varying levels of experience with Adobe Flash got a lot more than software training Tuesday as a trio of web and visual design experts offered their views on the next generation of web design and how to teach it.
The setting here at Saint Louis University was ideal for a mix of hands-on training and faculty dialogues and exchanges with Elon University’s Byung Lee, Nevada-Reno’s Larry Dailey and Jeremy Gilbert of Northwestern University.
“This is a very powerful story-telling medium,” Dailey told the faculty members, who teach everything from broadcast news to copyediting for print media. “If you do it right, it is the story.”
Dailey was referring to Adobe Flash, a platform that has fallen out of favor with many as Flash is not currently able to be viewed on some of the most popular mobile devices– Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
His comments came after a fairly intensive hands-on exercise designed to teach ActionScript and the attributes that come with writing code that makes graphics animate.
For Dailey’s Northwestern colleague, Jeremy Gilbert, it wasn’t so much the debate about Flash vs. Apple, but the larger implications of journalism students understanding what Gilbert called “Time-Based Multimedia Storytelling.”
“Think less about the tool and more about the technology,” Gilbert said.
The self-described “media product designer” has a portfolio products that includes the redesign of multiple newspaper Web sites and the Poynter.org site for the Poynter Institute.
These days he’s focusing his attention on preparing students to do human-centered design and to get comfortable with new things like HTML5,
On Tuesday, his students were faculty members like yours truly, who are struggling to keep up all that’s changing with the proliferation of the tablet PC and emphasis on mobile platforms.
“Do you ever sleep,” asked one of those faculty members who listened intently as Gilbert ticked off a long list of Web sites with resources for what’s changing with typefaces, responsive web design and interactivity.
Gilbert’s strategies and suggestion were the basis for a working lunch that, in my mind, was as valuable as the hands-on instruction that Dailey and Lee provided on multimedia, animation and symbols.