Monday, August 20, 2007

The Triumvirate of Web Skills

I recently (very belatedly!) noticed a posting by Jeremiah Owyang from last year, describing the three areas that a "Web Strategist" needs to understand.

He identified them (my very abbreviated excerpt) as
  • User -- "what users want"
  • Business -- "(alignment) to business or market objectives"
  • Tools -- technology options
When I was giving presentations on the Web to Sun customers back in 1994, I described the requirements as
  • UI -- though now I would prefer to characterize that as User Experience
  • IA -- Information Architecture; making sure that relevant information was available and findable
  • Infrastructure -- the hardware, software, and maintenance activities involved in running the site
I 'd say the major difference is that I see both UI and IA as passing through a Branding and Marketing filter; the company wants to provide a positive experience and real information, while communicating its own message(s). Done right, it's not an either/or situation. Done wrong -- well, we can probably find lots of examples of that, eh?

Perhaps the biggest difference between then and now is the proliferation of technologies to keep up with. Quoting Jeremiah: "Lastly, a Web Strategist needs to know how each and every tool and technology work, they’ll need to know the strengths, benefits, limitations and costs." Best of luck to all of us on that one!