The end-user is just the beginning
By Mike Riches
The way some digital agencies talk, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only focus for a digital project should be the end-user.
But as a digital project manager, I see it as my job to make sure the websites that Gather produces meet the objectives of our clients as well as the requirements of their end-users.
Too often, the emphasis put on the end-user is to the detriment of clients’ needs. This leads to a very rigid website, with little room for flexibility or future development.
Back when the internet was an unknown quantity, content management systems were more prescriptive and clients were generally happy to leave all website updates to their tech team or agency.
Now, everyone is more digitally literate and the power over website management has shifted from tech teams towards the client side. Agencies should not fight this but facilitate the transition as it will allow them to be involved at a more strategic level.
In order for this shift to be a success, the website needs to be built in a way that allows future development and a part of that is giving the client team proper training on how to use it and make the most out of its capabilities. (The old adage about giving a man a fishing rod rather than a fish seems to ring true.)
This shift should also signal the demise of in-house content management systems as clients expect more flexibility. Flexibility that can only be provided successfully by well established tech giants like Adobe or open source development communities like like Drupal or Umbraco.
Of course, not every client has the time or resource to employ such a hands-on approach and this is where consultancies like Gather can draw-up bespoke ongoing maintenance and support packages.