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Interactive / Web Design 1 - Parsons PAGD 1091Interactive / Web Design 1 | Parsons PAGD 1091

Last class: ONLINE

I am grading and need your folder of materials. I will also accent links to a drive folder. I need pdfs, jogs, and gifs of the work you did throughout the semester, and as you have sent me things in pieces, I need one definitive folder. Also, my hours tonight will be 7:30 through 9:40, on Uber Conference. I will send your grade today, so call in if you want to talk about it and find ways to improve anything if you like. I will be finalizing grades on this Saturday.

Join the call:
Optional dial in number: 716-293-6829
PIN: 61436

Pick a 10 minute slot to talk if you want to discuss your grade tonight. 

Please remember: we decided as a class that having this very last class online was best for the class. If you need more contact with me, please call in tonight!

Today is Presentation Day!!!

Dear class:

Today, you present your work and I begin to grade. I will have office hours available next week for final consultations.

It has been an honor to teach you what I could. I hope it has been a good class for you, I have had a blast!!

Class 13

The End is Nigh!

Tonight we go over last details and issues.


Be ready for the presentation of your work.

Also, have a zipped file of all your work–please make everything a pdf or jpgs, I do not need original files.

CLass 12

Monday, April 25, 8-10pm

If you want to talk with me, I will be online so please call in using your computer (please test your audio ahead of time) or your phone:

  • Online:
  • Optional dial in number: 716-293-6829 PIN: 61436

Have your work ready to go over–if you sent me stuff, I will have feedback for you at that time.


I need to see all the presentations–I got a few by today, but you need something to me by Monday. Here are some materials on slide design for oyu to go over in that regard:

11 Tips

Class Eleven

Reminder: Next week, I will be holding class online due to a family medical issue. You will have materials to go over and work on and I will be online for office hours 8-10pm next Monday night. Sign up to follow.


Some great resources

Work on Presentations

  • Small group crit, everyone needs to work on filling in gaps.

I found some great tips on making a good pitch:
1. Tell a real customer story

When possible, open your pitch by telling a real customer story that addresses the problem your product or service solves in the marketplace. Avoid using buzzwords and tech talk when you tell your story. Instead, use real names and real customer challenges. Keep it simple and realistic. In the end, what people will remember after they walk away from you are the stories you tell, so it’s important to have a few compelling customer stories ready to share.

2. Pare it down to the essentials

I’ve heard many entrepreneurs deliver their pitch as if they’re auctioning off their grandmother’s antiques. It must be because they think they need to address every aspect of their business plan in one fell swoop, but doing so makes them seem anxious, tense, and nervous. I always wish they’d relax and realize that when you’re giving a pitch, less is more. Prioritize the most important things you want to share and stick to those pieces—and take a nice big breath before you speak. Believe me, it will help you deliver a more compelling and thoughtful pitch.

3. Outline your business model

Your business model tells an investor how your idea will (or does) convert into being economically viable. The best way to show you how to communicate your business model is to show you an example of a good one.

Let’s take ZipCar, for instance. Their business model can best be described as:

  • A membership-based car sharing company (they brand their members as “zipsters”)
  • Reservations are easily and quickly made online
  • Customers pay by the hour or by the day
  • Serves US, UK, and Canadian markets
  • Also targeting college campuses
  • In just a few short bullets, you can see how they make money and from whom. Your business model should answer the questions: What do you sell? To whom? How much do they pay? and How do they pay you?

4. Make sure your presentation is crystal clear to anyone and everyone

If you can get someone who doesn’t understand your business model to grasp what you’re communicating, then you’re prepared to give a pretty good pitch. Some of the worst pitches I’ve seen have been filled with acronyms, tech speak, and gobbledygook. Keep your pitch short, sweet, and to the point. Practice your pitch on someone outside of your company, and ask them to repeat what they think your business model is back to you. I’ve done this many times, and it’s always an eye-opening exercise to hear what people repeat back.

5. Talk about yourself

It’s important to know that investors invest in people first, and ideas second. As a matter of fact, I’ve had several investors tell me to keep them posted on my next startup because they’d like to invest in me and my next venture. So don’t be afraid to toot the horn on your and your team’s accomplishments—especially if those accomplishments relate to what it takes to start and scale a venture. Tell (and whenever possible, show) the investors why you are the right people to lead this venture.

6. Tell us, what have you done lately?

By this I mean that you should share the successes and traction your team has had since the inception of your company. It always surprises me how frequently this is left out of pitches. Investors want to hear about your first customers, other investments put into the company (including your own sweat equity), key media placement, signed letters of intent (LOI) to purchase/partner, product and customer milestones, key hires, etc. As the CEO of your own company, you will be expected to be the lead sales person, so show the investors that you know how to sell them on your own company.

7. Address competition head-on

First of all, never say “I don’t have any competition.” This is a rookie mistake, but many entrepreneurs say this. Everyone has competition, even if it’s indirect competition. Think about when Henry Ford built the Model T. Were there other cars on the market at that time? No, but he had to find a way to steal people away from other modes of transportation (horses, trains, and walking, for example). One of the best ways to illustrate that you understand your competitive landscape and your differentiators is to present your competition in a matrix format like this one:

8. Give the numbers that are behind your numbers (when relevant)

Don’t say you’re going to be a $50 million business in three years, because most investors won’t even believe it—unless you’ve done this before in another company. What’s more compelling than big talk is to show exactly how you will reach those millions—what information about your company do you have that’s made you forecast those kinds of sales? Share what your assumptions are about your business model.

9. Show your darn product!

I’ve seen so many pitches where the entrepreneur doesn’t even show their actual product. For some businesses, showing their product is not easy to do, but for most people pitching for funding to investors, it is. Even if your product is not yet built, show mock-ups. It’s amazing what a visual representation of your product and your business can do for the overall effectiveness of your pitch.




  • Due by this coming Friday so I can give feedback
  • Have your first draft of your presentation worked out
  • Check the site on this Friday, sign up for an online chat time

Class Ten


Let’s look at secondary presences!

Meta Moment:

Beginning to assemble the material for your presentations

Here are some things to think about:

Designers are increasingly being seen as part of the strategy team. When I started in the industry, we were held off in the background, brought in at the end to make whatever had been decided upon pretty. This usually resulted in a lot of lipstick on pigs: the sites were poorly structured and terribly conceived from a usability standpoint. Now, we get to help at every stage, and this is a very good thing for you if you are willing to be articulate and proactive. You can rise much faster in a company structure than before. Of course, we will talk about priorities and such because not everyone is gunning for a corner office. Success is defined many, many different ways.

When you present your idea, you will need to have the following details covered:

  1. Your elevator pitch: the one sentence wrap up of what your idea/site/product can do and for whom. I always start with this, just to make sure everyone knows where we are going
  2. Your conclusion from your competitive analysis: remember the initial research you did? Have some key examples ready to back up your claims. Show why your idea will solve a problem better than what is out there, prove it.
  3. Illustrate your knowledge of the target audience: tell a little bit about what you know about who you are trying to serve. Show respect and compassion.
  4. Walk through your sketches (rough or polished), being sure to highlight features or moments where you really serve the audience/user group well. You can talk about any surprises or challenges you encountered here.
  5. Wrap up: tell us how your solution solves the issue at hand. Once again, remind us of the elevator pitch and tie the whole presentation up as a lovely, resolved narrative.

Samples from previous students:


Begin working on your final presentation. Next week I want to see your outline, or your rough draft of your slideshow. These can be rough, but I want to start seeing it develop as the last weeks of class progress. Also, continue on your sketches. You will be expected to present a slideshow which you can compose in InDesign, Keynote, Google Docs Slides, or god forbid, PowerPoint.

The final presentation will be on the last day of in-person class, and you will have up to 7 minutes each to present. Minimum of 5 slides.

Class Nine

Homework Due Today

Finish the major screens for your main presence and be ready for a full class crit for all who have not gone yet!

Secondary Presences

We need to get your secondary presences underway. I will troubleshoot with each of you in person.

Meta Moment: Internships

Future Plans

Class of April 25:

I will have all materials online and will be available for online chats that night (unless the wifi in VA is crap, in which case, I will open up more office hours). I will have homework assigned and you need to turn what I expect for that class.


Try to have as many screens of your secondary presence worked out for next week. We will start assembling our pitches and finish our HTML/CSS demo.

Class Eight


Secondary Presences

We need to start planning out the secondary presence of your site.

Landing pages:

Designing for the Phone

Small Group Crit (could be whole class if you want)

Discuss screens and user paths so far, start sussing out the details on your secondary presence.

Meta Moment

Asking for Rec Letters

Portfolios you can build your early career upon: 1  |  2


Finish the major screens for your main presence and be ready for a full class crit next week (unless we do it this week)! We move onto the secondary presences then!