Ethan Watrall

Ethan Watrall


Ethan Watrall is an Assistant Professor at Matrix: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters & Social Sciences Online, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Michigan State University. In addition, Ethan is a Principal Investigator in the Games for Entertainment & Learning Lab, and co- founder of both the undergraduate Specialization and Game Design Development and the MA in Serious Game Design at Michigan State University. Ethan teaches in a wide variety of areas including cultural heritage informatics, user centered & user experience design, game design, serious game design, game studies, and ancient Egyptian social history & archaeology. In addition to a wide variety of academic papers & conference presentations, Ethan has written a number of books on interactive design & web design. When heʼs not being professorial, heʼs a world class comic book nerd (Killowog is so his favorite Green Lantern), a sci-fi dork (heʼll argue to the grave that Tom Baker is the best Doctor ever), and an avid player of all sorts of games (digital, board, and tabletop). Ethanʼs digital alterego can be found at Captain Primate.

Areas of Expertise:

  • cultural heritage informatics
  • serious games for cultural heritage learning
  • user experience
  • social history of the future
  • game studies
  • social history of digital games
  • digital storytelling
  • open courseware



“If you've mastered XHTML and CSS, but feel your web designs are still lacking, this is a great book for you!”
— Lezly Harrison, Laserdog Productions
“Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and working through the exercises. The conversational style and pictures helped reinforce the ideas behind each chapter, and I feel I got more out of this book than I would have with a dry, boring manual. ”
— Yvonne J. Beever, Austin Adobe Users Group
“What I most appreciate about Head first Web Design, however, is the insider tricks and tips that usually take designers years to accumulate...a very helpful primer for designers looking to make the leap into the business world, as well as advanced Web design students at the university level. Its accessible tone, step-by-step instruction, detailed visuals, and insider tips and tricks make it the go-to book for all things Web design.”
— Nicole St. Germaine-Madison, Technical Communication, Volume 56, Number 4, November 2009
“I definitely recommend Head First Web Design to all of my fellow programmers who want to get a grip on the more artistic side of the business. ”
— Claron Twitchell, UJUG
“Is it possible to learn real web design from a book format? Head First Web Design is the key to designing user-friendly sites, from customer requirements to hand-drawn storyboards to online sites that work well. What sets this apart from other 'how to build a web site' books is that it uses the latest research in cognitive science and learning to provide a visual learning experience rich in images and designed for how the brain works and learns best. The result is a powerful tribute to web design basics that any general-interest computer library will find an important key to success.”
— Diane C. Donovan, California Bookwatch: The Computer Shelf
Head First Web Design is your ticket to mastering all of these complex topics, and understanding what's really going on in the world of web design...If you have not been baptized by fire in using something as involved as Dreamweaver, then this book will be a great way to learn good web design. ”
— Robert Pritchett, MacCompanion, April 2009 Issue
“Both books [Head First Web Design and Creating a Web Site: The Missing Manual] are excellent for their intended audiences (novice web designer and more advanced web page designer) and complementary to each other; both are appropriate for public and academic libraries.”
— J. Sara Paulk, The Tech Static
“This is an excellent and most necessary book for the design of sophisticated, information architectures, and usable beautiful web sites that serve both the user and the organization that commissioned them. ”
— Ira Laefsky,