Final Project

Goals

Create a project on the web that

  • combines multiple skills and technologies we’ve learned this semester
  • follows the best practices we’ve covered for those technologies
  • stretches you 15-20% past what we’ve already covered / what you know you can accomplish for sure
  • strategically uses (at least a little) fancy JavaScript
  • includes a brief (450-750 word) critical reflection on what you built and what you learned from building it
  • you can’t wait to show off to others

Dates

  • Proposal due in class Friday 4/6
  • Final submission due:
    • 11:15: Fri., April 27, 12-3pm
    • 1:25: Wed., May 2, 12-3pm
    • 2:30: Fri., April 27, 3:30-6:30pm

Project Menu

Choose one of the following for the final project:

Choose your own adventure

Have a great idea that doesn’t fit one of the options below? Go for it! Just make sure to discuss the idea with me as soon as possible so that we can make sure it’ll satisfy the goals of this project.

Publication-style CMS Mastery

Learn to wield WordPress like a pro.

Create a new WordPress installation. Pick out a theme. Populate the site with meaningful content. But most importantly: get to know WordPress inside and out. Leverage plugins to add new functionality. Master menus, categories, templates, and even users. Bring it all together to create a beautiful publication.

WordPress feature links:

Fun WordPress tutorials:

Speculative Redesign

Choose a site you know well, and build it better.

Reorganize the content, add new features, update the visual design, but above all else, make informed choices that actually (or at least arguably) improve the experience of using the site.

Freelance / friends and family project

Have a friend who’s an amazing author but doesn’t have a place on the web to showcase her work? A family member who runs a business but whose website looks like it was last updated before you were born? Build them a brand new site!

Make it beautiful and functional, and probably make it with WordPress so that they can maintain and update it after you hand it off. This project will also present an opportunity to try your hand at user research and at client communication.

Advanced JavaScript

Go deeper with JavaScript. You might:

 

Grading (25 points total)

Post your work to mysite.com/final-project

Project proposal (0 points / -2 points)

The project proposal will be shared verbally in class, but you should have written notes to guide you. If your proposal clearly defines the project you’re considering, you earn 0 points. If your proposal fails to convey a sense of preparation and consideration, you will lose up to two points off your final grade

Final project (18 points)

The entire final project will be graded qualitatively with an eye specifically toward the project goals. The correct posture for this project is not “What do I need to do?” but rather “How awesome can I make it?”

Specifically, I’ll be looking for thoughtful selection and use of the skills and technologies we’ve learned, designs that follow best practices we’ve covered, independent learnings integrated into the project, a bit of JS thrown in for good measure, and a clear commitment to quality, polished work.

Critical Reflection (7 points)

This should live somewhere on your final project site itself, most likely in a subtle (but clearly discoverable) link in a menu or footer. It’s also your best chance to guide me through your project make sure I see and understand the amazing work you’ve done.

In roughly a page and a half to three pages, walk me through what you built, what you learned from doing so, the challenges you faced, and the things you’re particularly proud of. Feel free to make liberal use of screen captures, code samples, and of course, quality, well-edited prose.

Presentations

Presentations will be given during the final exam period. Guidelines are as follows:

  • Plan on approximately five minutes for your presentation: about 3.5-4 minutes of actual presenting, with about a minute for Q&A afterward.
  • The goal is not to give a comprehensive tour of every single part of your site. Instead, aim for the following breakdown:
    • A brief (30-40 second) refresher on topic / goals of your site
    • 2-3 minutes giving a guided tour of a few (2-5) highlights from your site. These could be design features you’re proud of, tricky technical challenges you overcame, ways you served client needs, etc.
    • 60 seconds or so reflecting on learnings from this project. Focus on transferable learning (skills, habits, etc. you developed) instead of specific technical achievements (I learned how to build this specific layout, etc.). Feel free to include some general reflections on learnings from the course, as well.
  • This isn’t a public speaking course, so don’t feel stressed out about memorizing what you’re going to say word-for-word. However, do rehearse a couple of times (even three times through will take only 15 minutes!) to make sure you know the flow of your presentation, are good on time, etc. Feel free to use notecards, etc. if you’d like.