Web Design Job Roles & Responsibilities
|Requirements Modeller||Branding Serviceser|
|System Architect||Configuration Manager|
|System Developer||System Tester|
|Content Worker||System/Site Administrator|
|Web Designer||Prototype Developer|
|Putting it all together|
The Requirements Modeller is responsible for the collection and maintenance of system requirements. One significant difference that typically exists between a Web Requirements Modeller and a modeller for a conventional system is the relationship to the design process. Most web development takes place within the context of rapidly evolving technology, a poor client understanding of the consequent changes to their business model and an overall lack of understanding of their own requirements. Typically, the design artifacts, or even partial solutions, are used to drive the elicitation of requirements – leading to an increased need for requirements modellers to understand how to utilize the design activities and to facilitate clarification of requirements.
The system architect constructs the structure on which to build the entire web project. Without a good architecture it will be difficult to expand the system in the future. Due to the speed of change on the Internet (few web projects remain unchanged for more than a couple of months), a sound architecture is needed to allow for further system development and can be a key element in the success or failure of a web project. The skills required for this role include excellent modeling skills as well as plenty of experience with various systems and their design.
The system developer fills in holes and connects the framework together. They are responsible for integrating components, developing new components and conducting the detailed design of the system. This is the role that produces most of the final functionality of the system.
There are several kinds of Content Worker. There is, in web development, often a need for a Content Creator, a Content Approver and a Content Editor, as well as Content Management. A Content Editor is an optional role for many web projects. It is often left as the responsibility of the client to ensure that the content has been correctly edited and reviewed. In many cases, this and other Content Worker roles are not explicitly named but the tasks associated with the role(s) are divided amongst the team. In projects with a large amount of content, someone may be assigned to this role more permanently. Other named roles might be Content Publisher and Content Writer. Defining this role clearly can also be important in terms of clarifying the different client and developer responsibilities.
The role of strategist encompasses technology strategy, business strategy and, of most relevance here, brand strategist. The brand strategist is the most relevant to web design, being the role played when a person develops the digital brand strategy for a customer’s business.
The web designer needs to have a general skill level in a wide variety of areas. Ideally, they have some artistic ability for creating things such as simple graphics as well as general programming experience. The web designer helps to bind the gap between the artistic world of print media and the programming world of software engineering. They work with the graphic designer as well as system developers to make the proposed content and layout a reality. Skills in web-based technologies are a necessity.
Due to the amount of rich content that goes into many web projects there is a need for this role of a graphic designer. Their responsibility is to help prepare the content and layout for the final system. This can include photographs, music clips, video clips and much more. The graphic designer needs to be artistic and imaginative and possess strong skills in creating and altering computer media.
The role of Configuration Manager is not unique to web development, although it may well have an added significance due to the fine-grained incremental nature of much Web development and the immediate availability of changes. The role is played by a person who is responsible for the configuration management programme including configuration identification, control, auditing and status accounting. Version control may also be under their responsibility or a separate role may be created.
This is another generic role from software development. The system tester is responsible for verifying and validation that all the components of the system meet their requirements. They work closely with the requirement modeller and system developers. The system tester should be methodical and have an eye for detail.
As web projects gain their strength from their ability to provide up-to-date information, there is a need for constant maintenance of the content (as distinct from maintenance of the system technical components). This role can be completed by the team building the system, in-house by one of the client’s team, out-sourced to an external team or some combination of these. The skills required are highly dependent on the system that is to be administered. Skills usually required include a high level of computer literacy, with basic programming skills being an advantage but not a necessity.
This is a standard role in any project. They are responsible for the organisation and co-ordination of the team, ensuring things get delivered on time and on budget. Skills required are those of any project manager including things like leadership, communication, organisation and so on.
Although the role of prototype developer is useful for application developments, it is included in OPEN with a web focus. This role is filled by the person who is responsible for creating and testing the white site i.e. the prototype website which does not yet have the full rich textual content necessary in the completed website.
A Quick Analogy (Putting it all together)
The following analogy portrays the roles and responsibilities of web producers in a more familiar environment. To use an analogy of building a room:
- the requirement modeller decides what type of room you need;
- the system architect provides the foundation and framework;
- the system developer provides the brick walls;
- the web designer provides the plaster over the brick walls;
- the graphics designer paints the plastered walls;
- the system tester makes sure the room will not fall over and that it is the room that was originally asked for;
- the system/site administrator is responsible for changing the pictures hanging on the wall; and finally
- the project manager (a.k.a. foreman) can be thought of as the ceiling that oversees everything and makes sure it comes together in a square (unless of course you are building a round room.
Haire, B., 2000, Web OPEN: an extension to the OPEN framework, Capstone Project,
Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology, Sydney.
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CEO, Flying Cow Design
Attended University of Auckland
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