Design students showcase work on personal websites
Catherine Owers | Thursday, January 30, 2014
In a competitive job market, students strive to distinguish themselves from other job applicants. At Notre Dame, taking a web design courses can help undergraduate designers stand apart from the rest by creating personal websites to showcase their work, according to senior Marykate Green.
Green said she used her web design class last semester as an opportunity to develop and show off a new set of skills.
“At this time, I was drowning in digital design agency job applications, searching for a way to diversify myself amongst all of the other competitive applicants,” she said. “As a marketing and graphic design double major, I was especially having a difficult time illustrating to potential employers how I could use my diverse background and skills to help create immense value for their brand. I saw this class as the perfect opportunity and platform to design a meaningful experience for my hopeful employers.”
Green said she wanted her website, nomiddlename.me, to show her personality as well as her marketable skills.
“Every aspect of nomiddlename.me is carefully constructed to exhibit all my design and marketing skills as well as to give insight into my personality,” she said. “My biggest strength lies in finding a harmonious balance between responsive web design, storytelling, sensory marketing and marketing analytics.
“The goal is that the interaction of all of these disparate elements is so seamless that it is invisible, creating a wildly entertaining and positive experience for my audience.”
The website generated a positive response during her career search, Green said.
“A few hiring managers and other business people have told me that it’s refreshing — that I have separated myself from the pack by doing something creative with passion,” she said.
She said she received encouraging feedback about the site’s integration of multiple design elements, from the overall style to the specific computer code.
“[It] is helpful to employers because they can tell how I can help their company,” she said. “I have also gotten feedback that the code is clean and precise, which is crucial for web design. I am constantly updated and editing my code so that it stays up to date with the most efficient techniques.”
Design professor Andre Murnieks said students in web design have a great advantage in cultivating an online portfolio to show potential employers.
“Design students who interview with employers can bring portfolios that show their work, but a personal website can be viewed at any time,” he said. “Now it’s become that if you don’t have an online presence, why would I [an employer] call you?”
Murnieks said the introductory web design course is open to non-design majors as well.
“We have people from all corners of the University,” he said. “For non-design students, their websites can include other information. For example, an English major could display writing samples.”
Although the course is open to non-majors, Murnieks said the course is in-depth.
“We try to do serious design,” he said. “We meet twice a week for two hours and 45 minutes in the design studio. It can be intimidating.”
In addition to creating personal websites, Murnieks said students also learn how to build mobile versions of their websites for touch-screen interfaces, such as those on iPads and iPhones.
“It’s been somewhat of a revolution,” he said. “And part of my mission is to boost what we do in the interactive realm.”