I got a note from a prospect the other day saying, roughly, “We don’t think we need a site architect. Our IT department is going to work with our designer.” Yikes. That short exchange raises so many concerns. I’ll start with the last one first.
- Your IT department won’t work with your designer. They will abuse them. Trust me. Unless you have someone from marketing involved, your website will turn out like that car that Homer Simpson’s automotive exec brother let him design – with disastrous results. The smart people in IT are technology focused, and technology is only a tiny part of an effective website. By analogy, an electronics guy is ideal for fixing your television, but you wouldn’t hire him to produce a TV commercial for you. Your website is a communication tool that uses technology to deliver the message.
- An IT department and a designer, even if they manage to achieve some sort of workable detente, are not enough. Your process should be led by someone who possesses a broad understanding of websites as communication tools. In addition to that project leader, you’ll need people on your website team who are skilled in
- website usability
- content development
- search optimization
- project management
- visual communication of information
- website development (which is specialized and different from most of what your IT department does all day)
Some people can do more than one of these things well, but nobody can do all of them.