This is part two of “Where Do Websites Come From?” For some context you might enjoy reading part one, and see who else could be involved in a web project.
The content/copy writer is the person who writes the site — body copy, headlines, captions, menu items, link copy etc. Again, depending on scope they can write much or they can write very little. They work with the planner, the IA and the designer to craft content that fulfills the client’s business needs (this includes communicating wiht the end user, and considering SEO) , is understandable to the user, assists navigation, and fits with the design. One of the main mistakes clients make is not hiring a writer — they think that they can write it themselves. Based on past experience, we recommend against “client driven content creation.” Having someone write your copy for you is our preferred method as a third party can bring a more objective eye and a more ruthless editorial sensibility to your site content. While often overlooked, the written part of the site is often the most important.
The developers are the guys who take the designs, and the IA and convert them into code that becomes your website. They are the wizards who make sure it all works for users. There are different types of developers — front and and back end. The front end guys do the work that you see in a browser when you visit a site. The backend guys typically do the work the underpins what you see… most of the projects we do don’t require backend work (though we subcontract on some large engagements that do require extensive backend development) but can provide such help if necessary. Development is where the rubber hits the road on a project and where all of the work done to date comes alive.
In the past, in larger organizations this role has typically been split, but more frequently they are blending, and at exUrban, Inc. this is a blended role. Account people manage the clients. Producers manage the teams and communicate with the account person who communicates with the client. Producers do the scheduling, and resource gathering and make sure the team is moving ahead as needed, and hitting deadlines — then we give the client updates about progress and communicate client needs to the team. We also are involved with the project from the start and contribute both tactical and strategic guidance during the project.
In any successful site development engagement the client is key and must take an active role. Unless the client is the proud owner of a fully realized brand, and is just looking to update his or her site, the client must participate and help t make decisions. The client also serves as the main gateway to their business and needs to have a strong point of view about what they want the site to do, and how it should function. The client must also have a definition of success in mind in order to judge the efficacy of the finished project. While an owner can sit back and leave the decision making process to the agency team this is not going to yield the best results. A passive client can also lead to much longer project timelines, scope creep, and cost overruns. If serious about a site redevelopment project, be prepared to participate, make decisions, and engage with your agency team.
Websites come from people, working together, to achieve a defined set of goals. There will be people on the agency side, and people on the client side, and they need to communicate and work together to reach the goal of a site that serves a business’s needs. Please keep an eye out for the next post in this series that explains how all of these people work together: process