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TECHNOLOGY => Computing and Internet => Topic started by: salalite on Oct 14, 2009, 07:32 PM

Title: What are the skills needed to be a WebMaster
Post by: salalite on Oct 14, 2009, 07:32 PM
The World Wide Web (WWW) is becoming quite influential this days and the numbers of Users keeps increasing at an alarming rate.

Though, It is not advisable to take website design and administration as a primary career but its good as a supplementary option.

As a newbie in Website design and Admin, i would like to know what the needed skills and tools are to become a competent WEBMASTER...
Title: Re: What are the skills needed to be a WebMaster
Post by: MyInfoStride on Oct 18, 2009, 09:31 AM
Hello salalite,

Please find below resources that answer your questions. Review them accordingly:

Who?

A webmaster is the designation given to the person responsible for designing and maintaining the coding and proper functioning of a website. In the case of a personal website, the webmaster is most often the person who owns the domain. Small businesses often employ someone in-house to be the webmaster, or they might hire an independent contractor who works part-time on the project from his or her home or office. Large companies might contract a third party to handle their online presence. In these cases the webmaster is not responsible for content, only for design and function.

Please click here (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-webmaster.htm) to read more.

What are the Skills?

The word "webmaster" derives itself from the obvious "web" and "master," where "web" relates to the World Wide Web, and "master" implies control, responsibility, management or ownership. A short definition would be one who manages a website. But that explanation is blatantly deficient for today's business world.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (M-W.com) goes further with this definition:

"a person responsible for the creation or maintenance of a World Wide Web site especially for a company or organization."

Please click here (http://www.clickfire.com/becoming-a-webmaster/) to read more.

Do not hesitate to give your feedback about the contents or in case you need more clarification.
Title: Installment 1 - what are you working with? foundational background
Post by: gyroscope on Oct 21, 2009, 07:34 PM
To be a competent webmaster means quite a bit, even if we are just talking about web-designer.  Whatever area you specialize in, some background awareness is needed in the other areas. 

The foundation is XML.  It and CSS are the basis of the web.  You do not need to be an expert in SGML or XML, you do need to know how it is used to structure your content.  Learning how to parse XML, maybe in the context of applying stylesheets (e.g. XSLT), will give you that background knowledge. 
 
So, if you do nothing else, learn how XML parsing works.  You don't need to be an expert at XML parsing, but you do need to know how it works.


The foundation is content.  The WWW is a document retrieval system, nothing more, hacks and kludges notwithstanding.  Your writing is what your web site exists for, whether that is news, product descriptions, data streams or other publications.  For prose, the writing style follows the traditional "inverted pyramid" used in journalism.  You have seconds to lead the visitor to what they want or they go back to Google.  You have to learn to apply the "inverted pyramid".

Purdue OWL  (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/735/04)

The foundation is the web server.  It can serve static pages, it can serve pages with server-side includes, or it can produce output from scripts and complex programs or anything in between.  More than knowing what the pieces can do, you have to know that there are pieces, and most of all, that they are modular and interchangeable.  Anything that locks you in, you do not want as it limits your options too much.  Anything that even hints of closed source, you do not want.  The web started open source, the successful parts (e.g. google) remain open source.  Master either finding the modules yourself, or figuring out which people to tap for sub specialties.  Sadly, the former will be far easier than the latter.

The foundation is your user base.  The question is about being a competent web master.  Your clients are the ones paying you.  What they say they think they want is going to be different, or sometimes very different, from what their web visitors need to get the job done.  To be competent, you have to address the latter.  To be successful, you have to address the former.  To be both competent and successful you must address both, without compromise, and maneuver situations to where there is no mutually exclusive dilemma. 
Title: Installment 2 - Usability - K.I.S.S.
Post by: gyroscope on Oct 27, 2009, 08:02 PM
The take-away from the first installment was knowing what goes on behind the scenes.  That means learning how to parse XML, maybe in the context of applying stylesheets.  That's not something you have to master, but it is something you must understand the principle of.  After that, usability skills can be looked at.


Usability skills are absolutely essential to not just know, but to master.  Master the content of Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug.  If you master nothing else as a webmaster, master the contents of that book. 
There are few books on the topic and fewer good ones.  If you find better, please post it here. 


Also, learn to incorporate usability into every phase of your web activities.  Learn at least Heuristic Evaluation and Cognitive Walkthrough.  Grab large sheets of paper or a spot on the whiteboard and map out the site navigation, hierarchy and workflow.  Again, K.I.S.S. You can get 90% of the way through a proper design, if skilled, without touching a keyboard. 


Managers want gewgaws, boondoggles, widgets, blinkenlichts and dancing badgers.  The manager's customers want it so simple it does one or two things only and does them fast and does them well.   So, here is a repeat of the warning from installment one: Your clients are the ones paying you.  What they say they think they want is going to be different, or sometimes very different, from what their web visitors need to get the job done.  To be competent, you have to address the latter.  To be successful, you have to address the former.  To be both competent and successful you must address both, without compromise, and maneuver situations to where there is no mutually exclusive dilemma.

Google rose to the top of the hill being simple and efficient.  iPod and iPhone rose to the top of the hill being simple and efficient.  From an engineering standpoint, K.I.S.S. saves time and effort, saving loads of money.  From a sales standpoint, K.I.S.S. brings in loads of money. 

Altavista and dozens of forgotten search engines, Samsung and dozens of forgotten music players, etc. all had the market.  They were swept out of the way by a clean interface that accomplished what the user wanted -- easily.