On Monday, I started a new job. I am no longer in IT, I no longer have the proverbial keys to the kingdom (or the responsibility that follows). It is weird and I imagine that I will feel a little strange about it for a while, like checking my email and not having a significant number of messages, and not being on call.
Needless to say, this does not mean I am in happy at my new job.
What is my new job?
I am the Assistant Director for Web Services, or as I have come to understand the position, I am “they guy who will make the website awesome”.
This is a daunting task. Not because the people I work with are incapable (they are not), and not that the website is so uniquely special that it will be hard to change. It is daunting because of two factors:
- IT neglect / indifference:
In another life time, before I joined the University, the webmaster (hate the term, but it is appropriate to the era) worked in IT. She worked with a Web server Administrator to keep the site online, but through position moves and politics the Web server Admin position was lost to the stacks of HR paperwork.
This combined with institutional indifference to the content on the website relegated the website to the back burner.
- “Design by committee”:
A university is weird beast. Every section department and division on campus believes that they are either the reason the university is there, or so critical to the university that if they are not on the homepage, the entire operation will cease.
Any reasonable person can see that neither of these are true, but politics and ego enter the equation and a website redesign results in variations on what we currently have instead of what we really need.
So why am I writing about this? Because I imagine this change will alter the focus of this blog slightly. I will still be interested in design and technology, but I envision topics focusing more on web design and technologies, narrowing in on some of the specifics that I use everyday, including Cascade Content Management System and creating value in a university website.