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Blog Posts by David Kitzmiller

Mastering the Web: An Old-Fashioned Notion?

by David Kitzmiller, Internet Working Group Chairman
August 12, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:161:height=100,width=70]]Dammit Jim, I’m a Webmaster, not a Digital Government Web Content Communications and Application Development Knowledge Management Specialist! ...or am I?

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Is the term webmaster an accurate description of the responsibilities of today’s web professional, or is that moniker just a quaint artifact from the simpler, earliest days of the web where someone akin to a similarly quaint notion of a Ringmaster juggled a circus of unwieldy text, spinning logos and blinking text?

Those were the 1990’s, and while the profession is still undecided on what to call it’s folks formerly known as webmasters, the web community has in fact moved on to figure out that it takes an entire web village – and now even other villages near and far – to run a modern web presence. This seems to be the consensus from recurring threads on the Web Content Managers Forum, the leading forum for  government employees who manage the content of government websites. This blog highlights many of the themes from those on-line discussions.

One comment in particular on the Web Content Managers Forum illustrates the incongruity of the old, one-person web shop by comparing the web to traditional print media processes. Does the IT staff of a newspaper or magazine manage the design and layout? Do the newspaper’s reporters deliver their stories to the paper’s back-shop IT for editing? Of course not.

These mismatched roles and responsibilities in the web world are the inevitable result of attempting to use limited resources to cover all of the various job titles depicted in the illustration. The titles in the illustration are all really just focused on two broad categories: content and technology, which can be broken down into the following basic components of running a modern website:

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Redesigning the FCC Website

by David Kitzmiller, Internet Working Group Chairman
January 7, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:161:height=100,width=70]]The FCC website was launched in June 1995 and redesigned in June 1999. The most recent redesign, initiated in March 2000 and completed in September 2001, achieved a common look-and-feel across all static pages of the site by introducing a standard agency-wide template supported internally by a style guide, design standards, posting policies and other web resources.

Incremental Improvements and Expansion
Although there have not been subsequent redesigns, there have been additions and improvements to the site content and associated systems (if not the design) continuously over the years. Some of those improvements include the introduction of a Google-based search tool, new web servers, interactive complaint forms, items-on-circulation reporting, and greatly improved functionality for EDOCS, ECFS, DIRS, eSupport and many other systems.

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