What’s a wildcard for? It varies from team to team, but basically it’s an extra pair of hands, or a specialist skill, or a bit of everything. Here’s Neil Turner to explain what he’s been doing…
“The Wild Card helps out where ever possible with all the miscellaneous bits and pieces so the other team members can concentrate on their speciality. That can mean fixing a bug or testing pages, setting up email or a social network presence. It’s a fun versatile role.”
Here’s Cory-Ann to tell you all what a content writer contributes to the making of a great website:
As a content person I’m trying to make sure that the site will be designed and built in a way that:
Meets the client’s needs: i.e. it’s no good if they promote four things at one time and they only have one static area on the homepage
Reflects what they want to achieve: Most people want everything initially, but after talking to them you can extract one or two key messages that are much more important than everything else. Once you have those you can start assigning priority/space to them in the designs and deprioritising the rest.
Is easy to update: Author/migration journeys are sadly neglected – if you have a particular area that needs updating all the time it should be labelled clearly in the CMS and set up in such a way that it’s as easy as possible to make changes.
Will meet their needs over time: Things change – for example your team of 4 might become 5,6,7 or 8 – and the designs need to be flexible enough to accommodate this. Hopefully knowing these things in advance will negate the need for code changes every time you need to add content to a page.
I also get stuck into content production and migration – writing copy so that it meets the client’s style and tone, and also making sure it’s optimised for the web, which is short, snappy and driving people to action – as well as specifying links.
Then I’m often responsible for getting the content out of whatever it was typed in into the actual site, which is a lot of copying and pasting followed by reviews, edits and testing.
Just want to give another quick thank you and shout out to Blacknight, who are providing hosting and domain names for our charity websites. Pleas send them thanks, follow them on twitter, and be sure to check out their offers!
It’s the halfway point. Programming has begun in earnest – designs are being turned into HTML and CSS so they go from pictures to web pages. Programmers are plugin these HTML and CSS pages into Content Management Systems and applications so that the charity can change the content, keep it up to date, and allow people to interact and do useful things with it. (We’ve some backend applications being developed for some of the charities)
John Rainsford, working on Ashoka’s Change Nation, explains what a designer does:
Website design doesn’t simply refer to just the aesthetic look of the website, but also the functionality of the website- keeping the needs of the visitors to the site, paramount.
The main tasks of a web designer include maintaining a consistency in branding (logos, colours) throughout the site whilst keeping the message of the site clear and concise. The site must appeal visually to it’s visitors without compromising on clarity of content. The designer usually creates additional iconography and promotional graphics as well as ensuring accurate translation of their designs into valid HTML and CSS by the front end developers.
Anne Magner from the team working for Almost Home explains what a project manager does:
I’m responsible for the overall planning and execution of the project, setting deadlines on each stage of the project, while ensuring that the brief that the client has provided is followed. This is done by having meetings or sync ups every few hours so that each member is aware of what the other team members are doing. I make sure that the schedule is adhered to, that tasks are delegated to each team member effectively and I lend a helping hand to whatever portion of the work needs most attention.
Here’s what the programmer does when building a website, by Colm McBarron:
What a programmer does:
As a programmer, my job to to ensure that the site works as well as it looks.
The first task is to establish what technology we need (CMS, custom webapp, third party apps/widgets).
We do this based on requirements and initial thoughts from the project team.
Once we have the technology stack (in the case of our 24TheWeb project – CMS, Webapp and Forum), it’s a matter of getting that setup, and in our version control system, so the rest of the development team can help out with the workload.
Once the stack is ready, and we have wireframes and designs to work from, it’s all about configuration (CMS and Forum), integration (of the HTML), logic (Webapp).
Then it’s test, tweak and deploy.
“As the HTML and CSS code monkey I get to make a baby from the marriage of the UX wireframes and Photoshop designs. Logical, square boxes in the wireframes are pushed through the sausage maker of design into soft, beautiful, rounded layouts. The result is a functional but static set of pages that work in your browser and which will be integrated into the WordPress codebase at around 3 in the morning when we are at our fighting best. The content is largely Samuel L Ipsum at this stage so there is sure to be much tidying up and rejigging of layouts once the real content is inputted. I also get to fix Internet Explorer which is less fun than it sounds.”