Benjamin S Boyle, Multimedia developer / Employment history / Department of Education /

Web content master - role description

At an Information Management Branch forum on 19 June 2001, I gave the following overview of my role in Web Management Services. It was part of a team presentation and starts off explaining that my role is not that of a web developer. And yes, it rhymes.

They'd have you believe this is where I come in,
but really, its more of an AccessEd thing
the developers there will plan, edit, design,
develop and deliver a web site just fine
but when they get started, my phone usually rings
they say "hey Ben - we need one of them URL-y things"

'coz a web site requires a persistent and stable location
as the basis for reliable hyperlinked navigation
its not easy to change later - there's too much at stake
most notably, every link to that web site would break.

Once that's been determined, the next step required
is to set-up the folders and access desired
then the site can be found through the search and site map
and maybe one day we'll do something with LDAP.

In addition to these tasks, I will often advise
on appropriate content formats and file size
it's gotta be fast - we don't like to wait
and some of our clients are in Torres Strait.

Maintenance is an issue never far from our minds
its easier to build a site than look after it, we find.
It may seem too easy to make changes and its true
that this is quite simple - if we're talking one page, or two
but if these changes affect twenty pages or more
it quickly escalates to a rather large chore.
Planning from the start is our noble intention
for long term change management, its both protection and prevention.

To assist with this task a number of utilities exist,
which we explain to clients in case they have missed.
There's the search that helps users find the documents they need
when users are lost it can give them a lead.
The calendar of events, schools directory and phone
store - and we maintain - all knowledge that is .. known.
Leveraging these apps can keep our web - and publishers - sane.
Without them there is no doubt that chaos would reign.

We advocate templates and consistency of style
to turn the user's experience into something worthwhile.
Other issues are fast becoming international legislation
and need to be considered during content creation.

Usability enables us to get the job done
saving time, saving money, we might even have fun.
We've all had experiences end in bitter frustration
but we're working on making that a rare situation.

Accessibility demands equitable access for all
to make web sites that work whether you are short, thin or tall.
For visually impaired users web pages must be read;
without a mouse, you'd rely on your keyboard instead.

Simple techniques make it work if the page is done right -
there is more to the web than you would think at first sight.
Our procedures and guidelines are absolutely essential
to realise the full benefit of our webby potential.

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Copyright Ben Boyle 2003.