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Design for The Web

The only online school that teaches the entire web design and development process from idea to completion: in just a few focused hours per day.

Hello!

My name is Derek Wood

I’ll be your instructor for Perpetual Education’s first-course: “Design for The Web.” It’s so exciting!

I started out designing graphics in photoshop 5 back in 1998 and built animated websites in a program called Macromedia flash. I worked as an intern as the dot-com bubble collapsed in 2000 and I built websites for my friends while at school for printmaking and painting.

Over the last 10 years I’ve worked as a freelancer, as a Jr. developer, as a visual designer, as a contractor, and a consultant – and I learned how to wear many hats at a small web design agency and in a start-up environment. I’ve been a Senior Product Designer and Senior Developer – and I’ve been asked to audit design teams and large codebases. I’ve tutored people around the world, helped nonprofits, local businesses, and worked in fast-paced marketing cycles, and on corporate teams.

Throughout all of those very different experiences – the core design principles were the same.

Goal-drive teams with great communication, creative problem-solving, confidence, humility, shared foundational knowledge – built great products and experiences – made lots of money – and had fun.

Teams full of ego, fear, disconnected talent, distorted expectations and little shared foundation – sold design that didn’t work, blamed each other, hide in their headphones, and were generally stressed out and unhappy.

Somewhere in the shuffle as the internet developed – and marketing and shareholders and buzzwords became king – “Web design” forgot what it is. It’s Design.

It might be confusing – But this course is called Design for The Web, because that’s what it is. It’s a design course for people who want to build a comprehensive foundation for designing and building things for The Web – specifically. It’s a holistic curriculum for people who want to be more than a ‘creative’ or a ‘coder.’ This course is for designers.

I’m a real person. Can you tell??? This course isn’t built by a 48 million dollar venture capital-funded business… The Web is history’s most powerful communication platform. The goal here isn’t to make the investors happy — it’s to produce confident designers – and hopefully / save the world.

When we started building out this platform – we didn’t foresee this pandemic. For many of you this is the perfect time to get involved. Learn design – and get ready for the future. We’re offering special pricing for the first few rounds of beta students. You need to act now as there are only a few spots
left.

  1. What will I learn?

    That's a really good question.

    DFTW teaches a full range of skills to research, plan, design, prototype, test, build, research, plan, design, prototype, test, and build sites and applications for The Web. (See what we did there…)

    We’re not a 4-year Graphic Design school and we’re not a 4-year Computer Science school. We cover a bunch of that stuff but The Web has really grown to be it’s own entirely unique field. It’s just going to take a while for the education system to catch up. We’re a six-month mentorship. Over that six months, you’ll learn a great many things – but just to be clear – you’ll be learning: HTTP, HTML, CSS, scripting, PHP, JavaScript, Server-side rendering, Client-side rendering, JAM stack ideas, progressive web apps, and more. That’s just the “tech part” (but it’s mandatory) and then: the most important things are “Design thinking” and how to think like a designer – and how to make decisions.

    This is totally different than a bootcamp. Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

    There’s so much noise in this space and so many abstract ideas about “What a developer is” and what is “Tech” or “Design” – so, we start out trying to get a clean slate. There’s some work-life balance that we have to address.

    From there I use the history of the web as a framework to teach how each piece of the puzzle came to be and why it is important to you.

    I take a holistic approach that adds layer by layer.

    We’ll talk about discoverability, empathy, usability, typography, communication, accessibility, critical thinking, research strategies, content strategy, prototyping, user-testing, information-architecture, project-planning, how the web works, authoring web documents with HTML, web crawlers, metadata and social sharing, writing, deliverables like site maps, style-tyles, and style-guides, goal-driven design thinking, how to keep projects lean, making things look good CSS, layouts for variable screen sizes, visual design tools, branding, server-side rendering, scripting with PHP, content management systems, interaction and integration with JavaScript, client-side rendering, build-tools, frameworks, user testing, working with clients, value pricing, work-life-balance, your responsibility as a designer, and most importantly – how to learn whatever is next for you.

    Throughout the process, you’ll learn to write about your approach to problem-solving, build your own blog and website, and complete real client projects with a real team – for your portfolio.

    Some aspects of the design process will call to you. I’ll make sure that you have what it takes to answer it.

  2. How does the course work?

    You'll do the work - but this is how we'll guide you and support you.

    DFTW is a 6-month program with daily accountability meetings, lessons, lectures, videos, challenges, team projects, and office hours. The program requires 2-3 hours of focused time each day. Six days a week, you’ll receive a new lesson. Each lesson has a set of challenges for you to complete and clear ways to determine success. You’ll work in our shared communication space and have the ability to share and video chat etc.

    DFTW is not a “follow along and copy the teacher” course. You’ll be given the tools (tool by tool/day by day) and then you will decide what projects to design and build based on your interests. Between the challenges, projects, and real client work: from day 1 – you are building a compelling portfolio.

    Even if you have a full-time job, we can work with your schedule. Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

    This course is all about timing. It requires 2-3 hours of focused time each day – but the magic happens when you’re in transit, eating breakfast, or talking to a friend.

    6 Days a week:

    • you’ll receive a new lesson
    • Each morning – we’ll have a check-in and discuss –
      • What you did yesterday
      • what you’ll do today –
      • and we’ll address any blockers
    • Each lesson
      • is written out with diagrams and examples for you to read
      • AND has a video like this – where I go over the topic and the concepts
      • How you build your schedule is up to you –
        • But at some point each day – you’ll sit down and work through the lesson challenges
        • You’ll have access to our shared chatroom where you’ll talk to me and your team and even share your computer screen to get help
        • We’ll set up plenty of video meetings, so we all work on things together and ask any questions
    • DFTW isn’t a “follow along and copy the teacher” type, of course. You’ll be deciding what to design and build / and the collection of concepts we’ll teach will be your tools
    • We will also be building real client projects
    • You’ll be able to find what areas you are most passionate about – and I’ll help you craft a portfolio to show your unique value

    I don’t want you staying up all night trying to cram and memorize things. This pace is about building a mindset and changing your frequency. You should set up a consistent learning/lesson schedule and show personal responsibility in following through each day.

  3. Who is this class for?

    It's not for everyone. We don't want just anyone designing our world.

    • Would you like to learn the world’s most powerful language? (visual design)
    • Would you like to learn to wield the world’s most powerful communications platform? (the web)
    • Are you undecided about college or your career path?
    • Have you had a hard time learning code or finding your path in the field?
    • Do you want to learn to “code” but are unsure where to start?
    • Do want to change the world and fight evil with the power of design?
    • Are you a visual designer or project manager who wants to add to your skillset?
    • Do you currently work in another role in the industry and want to pivot?
    • Do you want a job in one of the fastest-growing, highest-paying occupations Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics?

    Does this sound like you? Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

    • Some people want to learn to be “developers.”
      (who often don’t know what that means) (this could be kids just out of school / or people who aren’t already in this industry)

      • Pros / they don’t have any bad habits + they’ll be easy to keep excited.
      • Cons / they don’t know how to choose between the options + it’s hard to explain because they don’t know anything about it yet.
    • There are people with experience – learning online – who have hit a wall
      • Pros / they are ready for help!
      • Cons / they have bad habits and might fight the pacing
    • Some people are visual designers / or project managers – who want to pivot and add more lucrative skills (programming) – or generally become more valuable to the team (social media production artist
      • Pros / they know the value of this / 20-40k pay bump… easy
    • People who want to learn “web design” or “UX” – (usually don’t know what that means… but – heard it was lucrative – and “think apps are cool.”
      • Pros / they know the value of this / 20-40k pay bump… easy
      • Cons / they might not want to learn this much programming (but they need to)
  4. What type of job can I get?

    There's a lot more than just one type of designer or programmer.

    After you complete DFTW you will be well suited for one (or many) of the following roles: developer, visual designer, product designer, project manager, UX designer, research/strategy, UI designer, and quite a few others.

    Throughout the process, you will build an impressive portfolio that proves your value and highlights your unique skillset. The course is so hands-on that you couldn’t complete it without becoming educated well above the current average competency. You will be in excellent shape to enter the field in a way that suits you. When you’re done, there’s an optional 6-month apprenticeship to further build your portfolio and we’ll personally help you with the job application process. We are also working on an exciting team-up with a great placement team.

    We’re not going to lie to you like the other schools. It’s up to you. There are no guarantees.

    What job do you want? We want to hear all about it. Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

    The private education sector for “coding” is angled toward “Full-stack web developers” and “UX” designers right now. When people hear about the super high paying jobs in “Tech,” they are usually located in expensive cities – and salaries of 120k – 170k. People tell me they want to work at Google, but none of them have been able to explain what they think they’d do there – if they did. It’s a brittle mental model when you start.

    You’ll learn all about what “full-stack” means – in the course / but those jobs are for people who don’t need directions. Most of the people coming out of boot camps just don’t really have that much experience – yet. The industry is changing. It requires designers and not just ‘coders.’

    Throughout our course – you’ll learn more about yourself and the design process – and figure out where you fit. There are entry-level jobs from 70-100k all over the world for many different roles – and especially for people with a critical thinking foundation.

    The truth is – that every job and every industry are so different that you do most of your learning on the job. The core foundation is what we teach here – so that you can excel in your unknown future career or business when you get there.

    Starting in a junior role is just smart. You don’t want to be responsible for big projects or large code bases in your first position, do you?

    So, the answer – is: you can get a job that’s right for you. And – while I will not guarantee you anything – your writing, your experience, your portfolio — the confidence and character that you develop during this 6-month course — will put you on top of the stack. Provide value, and you will be highly valued.

  5. How do you select students

    Set up a meeting to find out more.

    Students are accepted based on personality and enthusiasm. If you’re a jerk, or you’re boring, It’s not in our best interest for you to become a designer: because WE will have to use the things you design.

    Design is about communication and creative ways of reaching goals. That takes a certain type of attitude.

    We do not have a pre-screening technical test because that would be counterintuitive to our teaching process. We believe in experience over aptitude. And – you’ll be getting that experience in the class.

    Are you curious? Do you like trying new things - and solving problems? Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

    Students are accepted based on personality and enthusiasm. If you’re a jerk, or you’re boring – It’s not in my best interest for you to become a designer – because / I’ll have to use the things you design. So, it’s not about technical skill. Design is about communication – and creative ways of reaching goals.

    We don’t have a pre-screening technical test because that would be counterintuitive to our teaching process. We believe in experience over aptitude.

    Based on goals and interests, students are divided into diverse teams. Being on a team of people who are all the same – doesn’t lead to nearly as much learning. Since most of the design process is a learning process itself – we all end up all teaching from our unique perspectives.

  6. Commitment and cost

    Time is your most valuable asset.

    DFTW is a personal experience. We are not just showing you some code and letting you follow along – and then pushing you out the door. While this course is “part-time” in a sense, it’s imperative that everyone on the team shows up – and does the work. Your heart and focus are essential to the success of the group as a whole. If you aren’t dedicated this is not the right course for you!

    You need to have 2-3 hours a day + 6 days a week + for six months.

    Tuition is ten thousand dollars. We offer a range of limited partial scholarships and can help line up financing options.

    We're looking for people to help save the world. Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

    DFTW is a personal experience. We are not just showing you some code and letting you follow along – and then pushing you out the door. While this course is “part-time” in a sense, it’s imperative that everyone on the team shows up – and does the work. Your heart and focus are essential to the success of the group as a whole. If you aren’t dedicated this is not the right course for you!

    You need to have 2-3 hours a day + 6 days a week + for six months.

    Tuition is ten thousand dollars. We offer a range of limited partial scholarships and can help line up financing options.

  7. Who is the teacher?

    It's a human! His name is Derek

    Derek (@sheriffderek) – has been designing and building websites and in a sense this class – for 10 years. Before that, he went to school for painting and printmaking at the California College of the Arts. He’s going to teach you everything he knows about designing and building websites – and it’s going to be really fun. Do the other schools have that kind of personal pact with their students? ALSO – there are more teachers. Yep. It’s not just Derek / and it’s going to evolve every session. This class is a self-improvement machine. But – until further notice – Derek will be your trusted guide through the world of Design and The Web.

    Ok. That's the end of FAQ videos. What else do you want to know? Set up a meeting - or keep reading to learn more.

Wait... you haven't heard of us? (We're new!)

Studies[1] show, that 9 out of 10 adults prefer “new” ice cream cones - to “established” ice cream cones.

Every day: a new bite-sized concept to explore.

If you take it step-by-step, you'll be surprised how quickly you stack up. Each day, we teach you the most critical concept to learn - and nothing more. Before you know it - you'll be thinking in an entirely new way. Bulldoze right through your blockers with a dedicated teacher and your team of passionate students. Small groups and limited sessions per year.

Daily team check-in Lesson arrives Read the article Watch the video Apply to daily life Discuss with team Tackle challenges Conquer challenges Share experiences Fully assimilate

Oh, the things we'll learn

The fact is - that you can't learn everything about a topic - and you can't learn all of the topics either. So, we introduce all of these concepts in order of importance and let the projects decide. The goals of the students determine how deep they want to dive into any given subject - but everyone leaves with a solid foundation in everything listed below.

  1. How our brains work

    Programming is hard!” Or so we sometimes think… but it’s modeled after our simple thought processes. You already think like a computer – and that’s really helpful to understand early on.

  2. Work life balance

    It doesn’t matter if you are the best programmer in the world if you burn out. To maintain a sustainable work-life balance and be an effective designer, you’ll need to manage your schedule and build healthy habits.

  3. How computers work

    Although this isn’t a Computer Science class, you’ll need a clear sense of how computers work – because they are the internet – and our primary tool.

  4. User experience

    You don’t need to go to UX school to learn User Experience. You are a user! Learn how to think about your experience.

  5. Systems

    Interact with the computer through the command line, Graphical User Interfaces, browsers, and learn about the OS and file system.

  6. Usability

    Test out ideas and prototypes with real users. Learn to spot common pitfalls and build interfaces that are enjoyable and intuitive based on real-world evidence.

  7. Effectively leverage your computer

    You’ve probably used a computer for a long time already – and you might think you’re an expert. Learn to optimize your workflows and save your time for what matters most.

  8. Goal driven development

    It’s impossible to tell if a design is successful without a goal. Learn to leave the ego out of the process and guide yourself and the team with clear goal-driven decision making.

  9. Teamwork tools

    Learn tools like Google Drive to stay organized and collaborate on ideas in real-time. No more emailing zip files and chasing down outdated PDF’s. Save your time for what matters.

  10. Research and strategy

    Just the right amount of research – can save you hundreds of hours, or even millions of dollars. Fight the urge to start building and learn how to set the stage for successful projects.

  11. Content hierarchy

    Organize content and craft clear messages and stories. Learn how the browsers use this information for cataloging and how visual design plays its role.

  12. How The Web works

    It’s taken for granted. “The Internet,” right? You use it. But – how clearly understanding what is happening will open up that black box and save you from years of blurry mental models.

  13. Hypertext Markup Language

    It’s HTML! The primary tool for building web pages. Learn the what and how and why by revisiting its history. Build your first websites like it’s 1999!

  14. Expressive and accessible markup

    HTML has gone through many changes. It’s the best it’s ever been – and you can write wonderful markup to appease the computers and ensure everyone access to your site’s content.

  15. Typography for a fluid context

    Explore typography for print and how wordprocessing and visual design programs describe text. Tell your story with class, and confront a world with no fixed paper size.

  16. Cascading Style Sheets

    Uncover the secret styles your browser is giving your HTML page. Learn the magic of the Cascade and how to bring your sites to life with CSS.

  17. SEO and how sites are crawled

    Dig into how your HTML is read by browsers and search engines. Learn how to write optimized pages from the start – instead of hiring an “SEO” person to come in and fix it later.

  18. Rich metadata for sharing

    You know those images and links and titles that show up when you share a site on social media or even in a text message? Take full advantage of rich sharing assets to stand out above the rest.

  19. Responsive layout techniques

    CSS was never meant for layout. It’s a hot-bed of frustration – but that time is over! We now have new tools like flexbox and grid that allow us supreme control over the fluid world of the web browser.

  20. User testing

    Get out there and test those prototypes. There’s no need to “guess” if it’s working. The users will tell you if you ask. Make it a core part of your design process even if you just ask your mom.

  21. Writing about your process

    Being able to talk about your thought process, goals, and the evidence that helped you make decisions is more than any given programming language. It’s also what will get you hired.

  22. Project management and leadership

    Get acquainted with tools like Trello and setup timelines to mark progress. Learn how to manage people and their expectations – while supporting your team, instead of hounding them.

  23. Version control and staging

    Use Git to manage your code and work on collaborative teams. Learn how to ‘stage’ websites and how to build things locally and ship to the live site after sign-off.

  24. Server-side scripting

    Learn the basics of programming with PHP. This common language will directly relate to other Object Oriented languages and to JavaScript as well. Learn how server-side rendering works and explore component architecture.

  25. Understanding tech stacks

    Check back in with HTTPS and learn how the most common server software generates and delivers your website to the end-user. The less ‘stuff’ the better!

  26. Dynamic data and databases

    At some point, you’ll grow out of the core HTML features – and you’ll want to take the next step. Learn how user-generated data-driven sites work – and how pages are built from data in a database.

  27. Personal websites

    Take everything we learn and add it to your personal website. Learn about DNS, domain names, and hosting. Start building out your portfolio from our daily challenges.

  28. Building authority with a blog

    Build your own custom theme with the world’s most popular CMS. Learn all about CRUD and how to build out complex Content Management Systems for your clients.

  29. Libraries and frameworks

    A ‘library’ is just a collection of pre-written code you can use. A framework is a set of conventions and structures. Cut through the hype and learn how to choose your tools with confidence.

  30. Finding your role on the team

    We don’t think everyone should be striving to be a “full-stack” developer. It’s not that black and white. We’re here to help you find your passion and where you can provide the most value.

  31. Content management systems

    You may have heard of ‘front-end’ and ‘back-end,’ but what about the front of the back-end? Learn about building the interface that non-programmers will use to fill out site content.

  32. Visual design concepts

    We have major respect for great visual design, but it isn’t magic. It takes practice like everything else. We’ll give you the tricks to keep it fun and effective.

  33. Navigating group critiques

    It takes empathy and respect to communicate with your team members. Staying on track and focusing on the goal can help guide you through messy feelings and personal styles. Evidence is queen.

  34. Page speed and performance

    Keep your sites lean and mean by understanding the bottlenecks and how pages are delivered and rendered. Learn to weigh the cost of common and unfortunate design decisions.

  35. Client-side scripting and rendering

    Yes, yes, yes. JavaScript. We’ll be learning and using lots of JavaScript. You’ll learn how to learn from the official documentation. At a real job, no one is going to give you directions.

  36. User interface and animation

    Create fun and interactive experiences. Although we believe that content comes first, there’s no reason why it can’t also make you say “Whoa! that’s so cool!”

  37. Working with clients

    Whether you plan on getting a job at an established company/agency or you want to work freelance, you’ll need to understand how to work with stakeholders, explain your decisions, and build trust.

  38. Selling your work

    As a designer, it’s also your duty to sell your design to the client. You’ll need to explain the value of your decisions and instill confidence in your design.

  39. Pricing your work

    It’s easy to feel ‘new’ or ‘inexperienced’ and for that to reflect in your pricing, but the value you bring to the project is what really counts. Start out on the right foot with conviction in your worth.

What we will not learn

We have opinions. We've also got opinions about having too many opinions. It's tricky. As you mature as a person - and as a designer, you go through many stages. Many of these are imperrative for your growth - but some of them are just yucky and are better avoided. We will teach you how to stay focused and choose what tools work for you.

  1. How to be a Ninja

    We won’t be teaching you how to be a ‘rock-star’ or a ‘Ninja.’ Technically… Ninja sneak into houses and poison people… and rock stars play music. We teach Design.

  2. Brogramming

    As fun as programming is, it’s just a tool – and the outcome is what we’re excited about. You can’t “win” programming. We won’t be creating a culture for ‘bros’ – unless you’re talking about the video game kind.

  3. Bad habits

    No bad habits allowed. Your team will cross-reference everything – and together, we’ll decide what that means. We’ll be fighting the urge to connect to random rituals and OCD feelings.

  4. Android, iOS, or React.js

    We believe in a free and open web. We prefer Progressive Web Applications over proprietary tools. You can certainly go and learn Swift, etc. after this, but you might find – you don’t need to ; )

  5. CSS frameworks

    We will be going super in-depth with CSS and during that time you’ll create your own CSS ‘framework.’ From there – it’s up to you, but we doubt you’ll want to learn Bootstrap, Tailwind, or Foundation in 2020.

  6. Bitcoin and blockchain

    Yeah. We’re not teaching that. But you can learn to build a really great website for your blockchain company!

  7. Artificial intelligence

    You’ll learn ‘if else’ statements… and control flow, but it’s up to you to build your own world-destroying robots. We already have enough humans for that.

  8. Enterprise level applications

    Online classes and tutorials make it seem like one person can build out their ultra-complex web application all by themselves. You can’t. No one goes to school to learn to build “Buildings” all by themselves, right?

  9. Paid advertising

    There are plenty of ways to market things and cross-promote. We’ll teach some of that – but these ugly ads tracking us around the internet have got to go. We’re not going to be adding to the trash heap.

  10. Computer Science

    You’ll get a great start in our program – but if you want to go down the hard-core programming route, you’ll need to take some additional steps. We can help you – when it’s time.

  11. Classic video game development

    As cool as this is, we’re not going to be doing anything like this in the core curriculum. We will have lots of game-like interaction opportunities though.

What the future holds!

Instead of buying a tiny yacht, we're going to keep making this course better and better perpetually! Not only will we constantly update the DFTW course curriculum, but now that everyone is on the same page - we'll be able to teach advanced topics with a level of control and shared knowledge that few other schools are able to achieve. As a DFTW alumni - you'll ALSO have free access to all future elective courses as they are created:

  1. Advanced JS frameworks

    In the core course, you learned a lot about JavaScript and tried out a few frameworks. Now that we’re all on the same page, we can specialize in something like Vue or Ember – but, you tell us!

  2. Advanced visual design

    Get a personal look into the processes of 10 different visual designers. Learn about other mediums and how our branding and message carries over into product design and packaging in real life.

  3. Advanced API design

    As you’ll learn, most web applications are making requests for data and then using that data to build out the front-end. But what about when things get complex – and you need to build out a custom server for that?

  4. Real time applications

    We’re having fun with this real-time web game version of Codenames. We want to dig into more collaborative games and sharing ideas. Maybe Node, maybe Go. We’ll see.

  5. Progressive web applications

    We’ll be learning about PWA’s in the core curriculum, but we’d love to dig deeper into this and get some hard-core applications built outside of the walled gardens.

  6. You tell us!

    Your experience will help shape where we go next.

Did you just read that whole page?

There are more than 50 little paragraphs up there! If you did – then you are serious about this stuff. Let’s talk about it.

Now accepting applications for our next session