Don’t look back in anger – back to school for Liam and Rebecca

By Justin Darley | 17/01/2014

We blogged last year about the recruitment of some top notch talent from UCLAN’s Web Design and Development course.  This resulted in a couple of guest lectures recently delivered by Rebecca and Liam to the course's second years.

Liam Richardson on Responsive Design frameworks

Towards the start of November, Liam returned to UCLAN in Preston in order to deliver a guest lecture on the topic of responsive design. Speaking to a room of second year Web Design and Development students, Liam covered the fundamentals of the subject, discussing media queries, device-specific layouts and frameworks. 

Using Zurb’s excellent Foundation framework as an example, Liam set a number of tasks (http://www.richardsonweb.co.uk/responsive_tasks.pdf) which allowed the students to create their first responsive website, complete with fluid images, videos and a navigation bar that changed form on mobile devices.

“Responsive design is an integral part of the modern day web industry, and is therefore an essential tool for any front end developer to have in his belt”, said Liam. “With today’s multi-device culture, a website is no longer confined to the desktop, and every new project should be designed and developed as an experience that scales gracefully across all devices, regardless of size. I believe that knowledge of responsive design is an important skill for any new developer to have, and was therefore thrilled to be given the opportunity to provide the students with this workshop. I’m personally obsessed with everything responsive, and having spoken to some of the students after the session, many seemed to be just as excited about utilising what they’d learned in their upcoming projects and assignments.”

Rebecca Topps on Guerilla User testing

At the beginning of December Rebecca did a lecture on ‘Guerilla user testing and paper prototyping.’ Rebecca started the lecture by discussing what guerilla user testing is and how the students could potientally carry out their own usability tests. Throughout the lecture Rebecca set the students tasks to do, including asking them to pair up and conduct their own usability test. The tasks used in the lecture can found at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4bx1bb1baey61ae/student%20tasks.docx. 

After talking about user testing, Rebecca discussed paper prototyping before asking the class to sketch out several designs and create their own interactive prototype using the POP paper prototyping application (https://popapp.in/)

Rebecca explains why she chose her subject for the lecture. “At university I discovered guerrilla user testing whilst on an internship I did before my final year. Until then I had never heard of user testing and I noticed how much can be improved on a website just from watching people use it. After the internship I did user testing on all my work in the third year. I wanted to share my knowledge with the students about user testing and paper prototyping so that they could use the methods in future work and assignments.”

Students visiting Sigma

We have maintained our ties with the course, thanks to the on-going enthusiasm from Mark Porter for students to engage with industry. At the start of this year, a group of UCLAN’s second and third year students visited the Sigma offices in Macclesfield.

They all had a slot with each member of the Sigma team, who spoke to the students about what their job entails, their roles within the company, their route into the industry and recent projects they had been involved in. Through discussing different aspects of the industry, our services and roles in the company, the students got a feel for the varied work that we do here at Sigma, along with the pace and scale of client projects. It also gave the students the opportunity to ask any questions they had about the areas they were interested in working in.

Everyone at Sigma enjoyed meeting the students (and the free lunch) and we wish them all the best for their remaining time at university!

If you’d like to know more about undergraduate internships, work experience or graduate training schemes with Sigma, come and see us at Camp Digital in March for a friendly chat or drop us a line at UKCareers@Sigma.se