Software giant features York/Sheridan designers on Web site

Design students from the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design earned international Internet exposure recently when a project Web site they designed became an education showcase featured on graphics-software maker Adobe’s own site.

Distillery project siteThe idea for the project came from students in Professor Wojtek Janczak’s class in Design and Information Architecture in the Faculty of Fine Arts’ Department of Design.

Right: Sample art from project Web site

In fall of 2003, Janczak and his students selected a real estate development firm involved in redeveloping the historic Toronto distillery neighbourhood as the client for an effective site. The students researched the history of the area, examined the nature of the client and of the possible audience and looked at other sites for ideas. Janczak then asked the students to examine sites for similar kinds of customers and develop and circulate a questionnaire to the developer to determine potential target audiences. The information was used by the project teams to develop the scope and purpose of the site after which, each team worked on individual components using a shared system architecture and Adobe software.

Adobe regularly features student design projects to show how educators and institutions use their products to produce innovative, interactive Web sites. Eligible designers are invited to submit their projects as potential features for the showcase.

From the Adobe feature on the site:

Wojtek Janczak teaches students the importance of research and analysis in the interactive design process. He shows them how their creativity with visual design must be applied to a structural foundation based on thoughtful consideration and anticipation of audience needs and reactions. Steven Balaban declared, “Wojtek’s course in Design and Information Architecture proved to be an invaluable experience in my development as a designer. As designers today become more and more a hybrid of designer, programmer, architect and artist, a knowledge of the design process taught in that course is essential.”

Janczak’s professional design practice has included interactive multimedia, exhibitions and wayfinding systems for clients such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto Historical Board and Metropolitan Toronto Social Planning Council. For the past decade, he has been a principal of Janczak/Mandel Associates Inc., a company specializing in internet and multimedia communications. His current research at York, where he started teaching in 1978, focuses on developing and evaluating information architecture, interactive systems design, and time-based visual communication.

To see more about how the York/Sheridan team’s project site was developed, click that link.