David Berman Communications
David Berman will help you repeat your successes

Creating Sites That Matter: Effective Web Information Design

Course Description

In this course, David Berman shares his experience as a senior design consultant to some of Canada’s largest and most successful Web presences in organizing site content in a way that is meaningful to visitors.

This course teaches you a framework within which to develop information design for your Web presence which responds to strategic goals and audience needs. Results-oriented design will help your organization communicate its messages effectively to the audiences you need to influence in order to fulfill your objectives. Participants learn how navigation design, information design, and graphic design combine to take full advantage of how humans interface with interactive media. This framework, coupled with a detailed exploration of the practical technical and behavioral aspects of graphics, equip you to apply an effective approach to developing the best interface for your Web presence. Take this course to learn a step-by-step approach to choosing navigation strategy and usability best practices, identifying information design elements, and keeping graphic design in context (avoiding the “comp treadmill”).

“He’s awesome: very knowledgeable & charismatic…keeps us interested”

– Jude Lapointe, House of Commons

The approach is equally valid whether creating a Web site for the first time or redeveloping an existing site. By recognizing where design fits (and where it doesn’t), you can be a more valuable Web team member and gain a handle on the process that turns content into memories. This results in Web sites that are highly usable for users, which is the key to repeat visits.

“Very good speaker.”

– Seminar attendee, Ottawa

The Problem

As visual creatures, when it comes to designing a Web site, we tend to focus immediately on the visual. In fact, the reality is that the majority of design work required to develop an effective Web interface is the information design and planning which precedes the development of the graphic design. No matter how attractive, the visual design will not be effective if visitors become confused or feel lost in trying to locate or engage with the content they seek.

“David made a possibly dull course into a very interesting one. Thanks!”

– Seminar attendee, Ottawa

What Makes This Course Unique

This course starts where all Web design should start: with navigation and information design, rather than graphic design. Though this approach results in beginning the graphic design later, it inevitably also results in being able to start programming earlier: from a complete design that is far more likely to fulfill the project’s strategic objectives. By tying Web design principles to metaphors in our common experience, this course positions design within a cognitive psychological framework. It takes into account the technical environment of the Web, while acknowledging that the eye is the largest bandwidth pipe into the human brain.

“Very interesting and engaging teacher.”

– Seminar attendee, Ottawa

What You’ll Learn

Gain a philosophy of seeing design as a tool to fulfill business objectives. Specifically, you will learn:

  • Where navigation design, information design, and graphic design fit in the process of developing strategically effective Web sites
  • How to take advantage of Web 2.0 constructs in your site’s reach
  • How to design for a purpose, and recognize effective design
  • Properties of an excellent navigation plan
  • Components of an information design plan
  • Aspects of the overall design interface, including an understanding of human interface and graphical user interface
  • Technical constraints that must be respected to produce excellent Web graphics
  • Principles of graphic design
  • How to choose the best overall design for your Web presence

“Great to know the best ways!”

– Seminar attendee

Benefits to You

By taking this course, you will be able to take a leading role in ensuring that the role of design for your site moves from decoration to audience expectation fulfillment, as well as creating an environment which reduces programming and maintenance costs while maximizing the fulfillment of your strategic objectives. By unlocking the role of design in fulfilling your project’s business goals, you will be more sought after for future projects, wherever you work.


Benefits to Your Organization

  • Higher site visitor satisfaction
  • Reduced programming and maintenance costs
  • Quicker approval for site designs
  • Reduced costs of design development
  • Enhanced team morale
  • Enhanced perception of team members as goal-oriented problem solvers
  • More effective use of time and other resources
  • Sites that are more likely to fulfill business objectives
  • Sites that remain evergreened

Course Goals

At the end of this course, you will know how to:

  • Understand the role of design in excellent Web site development
  • Recognize excellent Web site design
  • Use design to encourage repeat visits to your site
  • Participate effectively as part of a Web design team
  • Help develop a navigation plan
  • Choose the best kind of navigation structure for your site
  • Organize a site from the user’s perspective
  • Choose the best kind of home page for your site
  • Develop an information design plan
  • Recognize effective, optimized Web graphics
  • Know what kind of graphic file types to choose
  • Understand principles of Web typography

Content Highlights

  • Design as a response to strategy
  • Design’s position in the Web process
  • Navigation plan development
  • Working from a content outline
  • The role of usability testing
  • Approaches to navigation structure
  • The information design plan
  • Home page types
  • Persistent navigation
  • Pitfalls of poor design
  • The role of cognitive psychology
  • Using visual metaphors
  • Applying design consistently

Who Should Attend

This course is targeted to all project managers, Web developers, graphic designers, content developers, production coordinators, programming leaders, controllers, business managers, involved in developing Web or other new media projects:

  • People who manage Web sites
  • People who plan Web sites
  • People who coordinate people who build Web sites
  • People who test Web sites
  • People who design Web sites
  • People who represent clients who hire others to develop Web sites

What You Get

When David Berman Communications hosts this course*, each participant receives:

  • a complimentary, comprehensive manual (also available separately for $89 with optional 1-on-1 distance coaching)
  • complimentary meals, snacks and beverages throughout
  • a thirty-minute personal coaching tele-session within a month of the course
  • the option to attend this course again in the future, as a refresher at no additional cost
  • a money-back guarantee: if, after coaching and refresher, you don’t think you’ve got your money’s worth, we’ll refund your entire registration fee
(*If you are attending one of our courses hosted by another organization, confirm with them which of these items apply.)

About the Expert Speaker

David Berman is the principal of David Berman Communications in Ottawa. He has over 20 years of experience in graphic design and strategic communications. David brings both graphic design and information technology expertise to his Web work. He has been involved in the strategy or project management of numerous web projects, including strategy for the World Bank, Canada Revenue Agency, Health Canada, the National Research Council, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Industry Canada, Statistics Canada, and Treasury Board as well as many other government, private sector and non-profit organizations. He has worked extensively in the adaptation of printed materials for electronic distribution, including Web design and plain writing and design. He is also the architect of project management software applications.

David is an internationally-celebrated speaker, having taken engagements in over 10 countries. In recent years he has also recommitted his career toward sharing his knowledge and unique talent as a designer and strategist through professional development courses for creative organizations. David is a National Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). He is the Ethics Chair of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, and was named a Fellow (the highest professional honour for graphic designers in Canada) in 1999. David has been featured in the Financial Post, Marketing, and Applied Arts magazines.

Prerequisites: All you need is some basic experience on the World Wide Web.

Language: English, French available upon request

Duration: Two-day or one-day overview

If you would like to be notified via e-mail of when new instances of this course are scheduled, subscribe
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Reviewed August 3, 2011


“Very useful.”

– Maureen Quirouet, House of Commons

May 26, 2010 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$495* (1-day)
May 5, 2009 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications SOLD OUT
October 2, 2008 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications SOLD OUT
May 3, 2007 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$495* (1-day)
January 18, 2007 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications SOLD OUT
February 9, 2006 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$495* (1-day)
November 1, 2005 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$495* (1-day)
August 9-10, 2005 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$990*
December 9, 2004 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$495* (1-day)
November 9-10, 2004 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications CDN$990
July 30, 2004 Ottawa, ON David Berman Communications SOLD OUT

*Discount packages for non-profits, and travel subsidies available. Additional discounts available for groups over three people. If you refer at least four registrants to one of our courses, we'll give you a complimentary registration to a course of your choice. Call (613) 728-6777 for details.

All prices, offerings, and dates subject to change without notice.

To register for a course given by our own organization, register online or call (613) 728-6777.

Event Schedule (all events)

“Great course! David is a very dynamic teacher!”

– Seminar attendee, Ottawa



For the convenience of course attendees, we provide this list of companion hypertext links, books, and other resources cited in this course:

Content Outline & Evergreening Grid, 2006 edition:
Content Outline in Word format(100K)

Background on 2007 Jakob Nielsen study of high range of Web speed compared to other computer use:

Interesting interface ideas:
Lucy speaks
AT&T speech
Vidak Design
Ikea's avatar
Billy Harvey Music

OpenType User Guide for Adobe Fonts:

Unicode:beyond 256 choices… a unique code for every character in every language

Stix fonts: project to produce free Times Roman Type 1 fonts that include over 7,000 symbols, by and for journals

MathML:beyond TeX… a W3C XML application for rendering mathematical formulas semantically

Specimen sheets for Web-safe fonts:

Additional browsing:

@issue: The Journal of Business & Design: opens in a new browser windowwww.cdf.org

Additional reading:

Information Architecture:
“Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-scale Web Sites, 2nd Edition” (by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, 2002, O’Reilly, ISBN 1-56582-292-4)
“Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web” (by Janet E. Alexander, Marsha A.Tate, ISBN 0-8058-3123-1)
“Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points” (by Matthew Linderman, 2004, New Riders, ISBN 0-7357-1410-X)

“Conceptual Blockbusting”( by James L. Adams, ISBN 0-7382-0537-0)
“Creativity for Graphic Designers” (by Mark Oldach, 1995, ISBN 0-89134-583-3)
“Graphic Design: Inspirations & Innovations” (by Diana Martin, 1995, ISBN 0891346406)
“Thinking Creatively” (by Robin Landa, 1998, ISBN 0-89134-843-3)
“Juice” (by Evan I. Schwartz, Harvard Business School Press, 2004, ISBN 1-59139-288-8)

“Stop Stealing Sheep” (by Erik Spiekermann, ISBN 0-201-70339-4)


Take This Course On-Site: This course is also available customized and on-site for your organization. Please contact us for details.


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