This blog is dedicated to the web managers

This blog is dedicated to the web managers

The web is a new industry built on old expertise and new technology. We all come from somewhere else – coders from computer studies or something else, designers from PC games or print media or somewhere else entirely; the web draws people with a huge variety of experiences and skills.

Where do you come from? While at the university I studied how people use media – each in their own way, with their own agenda, but clearly also with many features in common with other people. For me the computer came in to the picture around 1988 in the shape of interactive video, consisting of a video tape recorder and a PC. It was highly interactive – for those with the patience to allow the winding and rewinding of the tape.

Later, the web grew in influence. I saw that most of what I had learned about the interaction of mind and media also applied to the web – and I became a usability specialist.

The web is the work of professionals with all sorts of qualifications and backgrounds, regardless if the web site belongs to a private person, to an association, an organisation, or a company, and if it is a commercial web site, a web-application, an intranet or an extranet. The internet has become an arena for many new and exciting professions, such as e-business managers, web masters, web editors, information specialists, content managers or something else entirely.

This blog is dedicated to these people: the web managers.

To be able to develop and run a successful web site in a company or an organisation (e.g. a municipality), the web manager is often required to know about or be in close contact with many areas of expertise:

  • Information and communication, e.g. as an editor or writer;
  • Technical development, e.g. programming;
  • Visual design, e.g. designing the layout;
  • Business management, e.g. fiscal or legislative matters;
  • Organisational matters;
  • Project planning (perhaps even systems analysis) and project management; and
  • Marketing.

This blog is not about web design or programming. It reveals neither clever design tricks nor smart code tips. Nor is it a book about business development. However, the topic of this blog is an integral part of the web manager’s day-to-day work and the results hereof; providing a web site that users can and will use.

My experience from more than five hundred tests and interviews with users of a large variety of web sites is that until specific studies have been made of the users and usage of any given user interface no one knows if it works or not. Thus you will find no “Ten golden rules of Web design” or “210 things that every web sites can do right now” or “How to make your website usable in three weeks” in this blog but a host of ideas and practical methods of how to study or think about the people who use your website.

The purpose of this blog is to help those responsible for web sites see their web sites from their users’ perspectives, in addition to understanding their users, their users’ requests, requirements and qualifications. This blog is meant to make it easier for the web manager to serve his or her users well and efficiently. This is simply because satisfied users are the key to the success of the web manager.

This blog is conceived to help the web manager to consider his or her users. It is a reminder that it is of minor importance whether the web manager him- or herself likes that web site and is able to use it. It is of course a good thing if that is also the case, but it is not crucial to the success of the web site (unless of course the web manager is the only person who is meant to use it).

Although this blog talks a lot about various media or platforms, mostly about the web and a bit about interactive TV and mobile, what this blog is really all about is thinking about and understanding users.

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