Web 2.0 – Accessing the right skills for the job

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had my fingers burnt in the world of new media.  And it’s taught me a couple of valuable lessons about accessing the right skills …

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6th March 2008 at 8:33 pm

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had my fingers burnt in the world of new media.  And it’s taught me a couple of valuable lessons about accessing the right skills for the job and taking the high ground on the quality of your marketing communications, regardless of media.

In the heady world of web 2.0, it seems that almost anything is possible.  As you cruise around sites, large and small you are tantalised by slick graphics and engaging animation.  But none of this happens by accident and if you’ve tried to achieve any of these things on your own web site, you’ll know that it can be a rocky road to success.

That’s because such a broad spectrum of skills and expertise has to be combined to create excellence in web design.  You’ve got the quality of the actual content, the quality of the visual execution and design.  You’ve got to understand the cognitive processes of the audience, if you want to create structure and experience that is intuitive.  You’ve got technical skill sets in animation and code and you’ve got the SEO stuff to consider – which I’m cautiously happy to admit, I understand very little about. . .

The point (and the challenge) is this. . . . very, very rarely do these skill sets come in handy packages.  If an individual can do two or more of these things effectively, then BINGO, you’ve got a head start. But I doubt if many people in the whole world can do them all.  Hence why there are so many sites out there that fall short of excellence, and why companies that can and do deliver s**t hot websites can charge hefty rates for your pleasure.

So here’s the nub of the issue.  Pulling together a really great on-line experience requires real collaboration and project management.  It also requires a clear vision of what you want the user experience to be. . . because it’s also very easy to get seduced by the possibilities of web design and end up with a spangly product that fails to connect.

For anyone looking to produce an advanced web presence, my advice is this:  Make sure your partner can demonstrate creativity and technical excellence in equal measure.  Check their credentials and look at live examples of their work, making sure that they’ve delivered the whole thing and not part, thereof.  And make sure that they’ve got the breadth of skill base to be able to deliver what you ask (which means there’s probably going to have to be at least 2, 3 or more people with complementary skill sets working together as a fairly tight unit to get your job done and done well).

Oh and one final thing. . . be prepared to wait.  Guys (or girls) who have the skill sets you are after are likely to be in demand.  Which means you may have to wait a little while before you get to take your turbo-charged web site for a spin.

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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