Colleen E van Lent

School of Information
University of Michigan
4365 North Quad
105 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Complex Web Design (206/539)

In both the graduate and undergraduate versions of the Complex Web Design Course we cover HTML5, CSS3, responsive web design, and server-side web processing.

Course Description

In the first half of this course we will look deeply into the ideas and concepts behind web design; particularly recent changes to HTML and CSS standards, as well as the importance of responsive web design. In the second half we will look at how we can use JavaScript and PHP programming to move to a MVC approach to web design.

Learning Objectives

The undergard course is aimed at students with no technical background and is a prerequisite for SI 664, Database Design. For the undergraduate course you must have completed SI 106 or another programming course as a prerequisite. The purpose of this course is to provide students with all necessary skills for building and deploying web sites as well as utilize exiting software tools. The Learning Objectives are to help students develop solid competency in:

  1. Understanding the use of programming to solve problems and develop web resources
  2. Understanding the importance of standards-based practices in web development
  3. Understanding the importance of separating structure and semantics from presentation, as well as how this is accomplished in professional web development
  4. Creating web pages using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
  5. Styling web pages using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  6. Understanding the interactions between web browsers and web servers using Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP)
  7. Using PHP in programming to control the view of large-scale projects

After completing this course, students will have a working personal portfolio website in production.

Is this course for you?

The assignments in this class are based on strict rubrics, particularly in the first two thirds of the semester. These rubrics will help students complete the work required to get a B in the course. To receive an A or A+ requires extra (unguided) work that goes beyond expectations.

As is the case in most School of Information courses, this class has a strong group component. You will be required to work effectively in groups. Therefore, attendance is mandatory at all discussion sections.

Enrolling in SI 539 and SI 206

PLEASE NOTE: I can not grant overrides for this class to non-SI students. You will need to contact the Registrar at to be placed on the waiting list. I add students strictly in the order of the Wolverine Access waitlist. Due to the high demand it is unlikely that I will be able to respond to any email requests for special consideration, but you are always welcome to stop by my office hours to talk. My office hours can be found on my Google Calendar.