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WOW Certified Professional Web Designer (CPWDS)

Program Overview

Based on research of industry needs and competencies and skill sets identified as essential for Web technology workers, WOW has designed the following guidelines, learning objectives, and resources as a foundation for those pursuing knowledge, experience, and/or careers as Web Designers or Webmasters. The guidelines, objectives, and resources are designed to make the learning experience comparable to one experienced in college-level courses by providing exam descriptions and learning objectives.


The WOW Certified Professional Web Designer (CPWDS) examination measures essential competencies for practicing Web Designers. Examinees know most, if not all, of the information found within the following described domains. Typically, they have at least two years of professional experience. The examinee must demonstrate knowledge of Internet basics, HTML and WYSIWYG editors, Web graphics, Web multimedia, Web site design, Web site management, and legal issues at the standard defined by this test specification. The skills and knowledge measured by this examination are derived from an industry-wide and worldwide job task analysis which was validated through a survey of hundreds of designers. The results of the survey were used in weighting the domains and ensuring that the weighting is representative of the relative importance of that content to the job requirements of a WOW Certified Professional Web Designer. The intent is to certify individuals in a body of knowledge that is identified and accepted for a professional-level Web Designer.

The exam contains 70 multiple choice questions and other types of questions (such as matching). Examinees have 60 minutes to complete the exam. The exam is currently only available in English and available online.

NOTE: is examination blueprint for the WOW CWDSA examination includes the weighting, test objectives, and example content. Example topics and concepts are included to clarify the test topics and should not be construed as a comprehensive listing of all the content of this examination.

The table below lists the domains measured by this examination and the extent to which they are represented in the examination.

Topics of the exam include:

Domain % Of Examination
Internet Basics 6%
Security Basics 3%
Web audio and video 5%
HTML 25%
CSS 25%
Web Graphics 10%
UX and UI 10%
Accessibility 10%
Web Project Management 3%
Legal and Business Issues 3%
TOTAL 100%

Examination Description

The examinee selects, from four (4) or more response options, the option(s) that best complete(s) the statement or answer(s) the question. Distractors or wrong answers are response options that examinees with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose, but are generally plausible responses fitting into the content area. Test item formats used in this examination are:

Multiple-choice: The examinee selects one or more options that best answer the question or completes a statement.

Matching: The examinee matches one option with the definition that best answers the question or completes a statement.

Sample Directions: Read the statement or question and, from the response options, select only the option(s) that represent(s) the most correct or best answer(s).

Content may include the following. Since questions are pulled from pools of questions, not all aspects may be covered on every exam. Below is a list of topics for each course objective.

Examination Domains and Topics

  1. Internet Basics
    Content may include the following:

    • eMail fundamentals
    • IP addressing (IPv4 and V6)
    • Browser layout engine differences
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • How to use search engines
    • Absolute vs. relative URL
    • Domain registration and DNS
    • Site hosting
    • File naming conventions (including case sensitive names)
    • Protocols (TCP/IP, FTP/ sFTP, http/ https)
    • Sitemap
    • Code validation
    • Captcha
  2. Security Basics
    Content may include the following:

    • Anti-malware
    • Firewalls
    • DOS and DDOS
    • SPAM
  3. Web Audio and Video
    Content may include the following:

    • Streaming server concepts
    • Creating and optimizing audio and video
    • Podcasting
  4. HTML
    Content may include the following:

    • HTML elements and attributes (including comments and proper coding techniques)
    • Deprecated HTML elements and attributes
    • HTML coding fundamentals (paragraphs, headings, quotes, entities and related)
    • Differences between head and body tags
    • Links and anchors
    • Data tables
    • iFrames
    • Forms (including Get vs. Post) and data validation
    • Lists
    • Semantic markup
    • History of HTML
    • Presentation vs. content
    • Images
    • File Paths
    • Information architecture
  5. CSS
    Content may include the following:

    • CSS syntax
    • Selectors, properties, values
    • CSS transitions
    • CSS transforms
    • CSS animation
    • Pseudo-classes
    • Pseudo-behaviors
    • Media queries and breakpoints
    • Responsive design techniques
    • Box model
    • Colors, backgrounds, borders
    • Specificity
    • Cascade
    • CSS units
    • Fonts and font families
    • Positioning
    • Gradients
    • Flexbox and Grid
    • CSS variables and mix-ins
    • CSS Pre-Processors (LESS, SASS)
    • Advanced CSS concepts (blends, shapes, exclusions)
  6. Web Graphics
    Content may include the following:

    • Color theory
    • Image optimization
    • File formats
    • Resolution and file size
    • Whitespace
    • Corporate identity and logo use
    • Canvas vs. SVG
    • Proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast
  7. UX and UI
    Content may include the following:

    • User interviews
    • User stories
    • Customer journey map
    • Task analysis
    • Affinity map
    • Personas
    • User flows
    • Prototypes and wireframes
    • Usability
    • A/B testing
    • Smokescreen test
    • Patterns
    • Hick’s Law
    • Fitt’s Law
    • Function vs. feature (don’t do it because it is cool)
    • Mouse vs. keyboard vs. touch interactions
    • Visual hierarchy
    • Responsive vs. adaptive design
  8. Accessibility
    Content may include the following:

    • Types of disabilities
    • WCAG
    • Semantics
    • ARIA
    • Accessible styles
    • Focus and DOM order
    • Accessibility tree
    • Accessible tables
    • Contrast
    • Accessible devices (screen readers)
    • Accessible non-web documents (i.e. PDFs)
    • Alternate text
  9. Web Project Management
    Content may include the following:

    • Project management, program management, portfolio management
    • Code commenting and documentation
    • Scope (and scope creep)
    • Time management
    • Cost management
    • Risk management
    • Communication management
    • Version control and change management (including Git)
    • Backups and recovery
    • Website planning
    • Site goals and target audience
    • Communicating expected outcomes (site maps, wireframes, style tiles, mood boards)
    • Releases (model, location, media)
    • Requirements
    • Local vs. remote vs. testing servers
    • Deliverables and supporting materials
    • Post-mortem/ retrospectives after project completed
  10. Legal and Business Issues
    Content may include the following:

    • Basic elements of a contract
    • Copyright issue, fair use, and trademarks
    • ROI and similar business concepts
    • Social media
    • Creative commons
    • Intellectual property
    • Licenses
    • Attribution