Join Laurie Burruss for an in-depth discussion in this video How the internet works, part of Web Site Planning and Wireframing: Hands-On Training.
When I first started teaching Web design, I jumped right into teaching Dreamweaver. But I quickly realized that most people don't understand how the Internet or the World Wide Web works. We are looking at a visualization of what the Internet looks like. Looking at this image, does it remind you of anything? The usual answer I hear is this picture looks like a living organism and that's exactly right. It's not straight lines going from box to box, covering the globe. It's actually a system of networks and where there is more traffic, you see the hot spots.
For me it looks like a galaxy with smaller system within, like planetary systems, and within these are individual planets and stars. And all of these systems or networks are all connected in some way. A common mistake made is to use the phrases Internet and World Wide Web interchangeably. The Internet is a network of networks and all kinds of people can contribute to this. And there can be domestic networks, academic networks, business networks, government networks, etcetera. Through those networks, services are delivered to people at their personal computers. The kinds of services with which you are familiar might include email, online chat, file transfer, linking to web pages and lots of resources from the World Wide Web. One source to start learning this vocabulary is Wikipedia. You can see the definitions put together and submitted by people around the world. But the important concept to remember is that Internet is a network of networks. The other phrase to understand is World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web is not the same as the Internet. It is a system of interlinked hypertext documents. Hypertext documents means that texts or words when clicked will link to other documents. In order to see these documents you need a browser. Within these hypertext documents you can display text, images, videos and other types of multimedia. The World Wide Web is still a teenager. It's not even 20 years old. It's evolved quickly from being simply a text document that displays on a network to being a full-service, rich media, immersive experience.
How do the Internet and the World Wide Web work? How do we not just have a jumble and scramble of networks and no communication and people making rules all over the place? We have a group called the World Wide Web Consortium. Notice that its extension is .org. It's an organization; it's not a business. It doesn't make money and many, many institutions, businesses, industries, individuals all over the world submit, test, try out examples, work on committees to come up with standards and recommendations. Think of it as being an online manual. It is sort of the guide to the Internet. It's a working living document that people are constantly updating and providing new information to. It may be ugly but it is simple to read and use. I tell new people on the web to start by looking at the left column. Most of the topics that you would need to know in a Web design course or even at your own Web design business are right here. So for example, if we click on HTML, that takes you to everything that the Consortium has to say about HTML. It has places to share, articles, historical information, places for learning, examples, recommendations of what versions we should adapt. Essentially everything that is related to HTML, the common knowledge and research and the agreed upon practices show up on this page.
I am returning to the homepage now for just a moment. And there is one other link that I recommend called New Visitors. This link informs you about how the World Wide Web is organized and what it does. Do you have to pay for this service? No. Do the people who work in the service get paid? Some do but it's basically like this huge non-profit organization. It's really to our advantage if we want the Internet and our web sites to work correctly to agree on how the rules are set up. What we are going to adopt. What are best examples of best practices. We are really lucky to have the W3C and we as web designers should support its research and recommendations.
Before the Internet not everybody had access to information, not everybody could communicate with each other. The great thing about the W3C is it's a collection of people agreeing to how they want to communicate throughout the entire world. It's a global experience. The World Wide Web is an example of pure democracy in action. Anybody can put up a web page. Now granted, not everybody's web page is going to have thousands of hits per day, but even getting your message out to one person is some form of communication. Wonderful things develop on the web. We hear how ideas that we thought would not succeed as a web site have indeed succeeded beyond what we could ever envision.
E-bay is a great example, the best garage sale site in the world where people make their livings. I feel fortunate to live in the age of the Internet. The World Wide Web Consortium makes my job as a Web designer easier. So, at the end of this movie bookmark this link because you will use it again and again. It's your online textbook to all things web.
Download the free support materials here from the Exercise Files tab.
After learning the tools and techniques demonstrated in this course, viewers can continue on to the next course in this series: Creating a CSS Style Guide: Hands-On Training.
- Seeing, scanning, and reading a web page
- Understanding naming conventions
- Creating file structures
- Understanding page hierarchy
- Using Acrobat and Photoshop with wireframes
- Building a professional wireframe from scratch
- Identifying and using web standards in site design
- Usability Testing