Return of Webmasters?

If someone would told me a year ago, that webmasters are going to return big style, I’d say – that’s crazy. But now, with a portal or two under my belt, the idea doesn’t seems so funny anymore. I wrote about new and how bringing the right person for the job lifted the site from the ground.

Every serious web portal – sooner or later – suffers from the limitations caused by predefined cover designs. Those initial designs usually work well in the beginning of the site’s life-time, but eventually as the content grows, the editorial stuff is crying for more freedom.

What to do in such situation? There are certainly a few noteworthy paths. At web.burza, we even developed a fancy drag ‘n’ drop cover management module. It gives chief editors freedom never seen before, works like a charm in your browser, the learning curve is easy and fast, it even delivers 100% valid markup, … but it has it’s drawbacks, too.

Such semi-automated systems don’t cover all the possible scenarios. The development is rather expensive for such a product. And at the end of the day, for any layout setup that’s not covered, you’ll have to contact the agency.

Most of the time agencies have an expert who can full-fill an editor’s vision, but the procedure is rather slowish. For a breaking news scenario, a response time of an hour or two can make a difference between the winner and the last one in the race.

At portals which are taken care of by a full-time employed webmaster, such inconvenience can be minimized, if not avoided altogether. Webmaster who is a jack-of-all-trades and a problem solver, could replace all the custom cover management systems, no doubt. However, employing such a savvy guy raises the general costs of the web site.

The question remains – is the ability to create custom covers fast worth enough having another employee on a payroll every month?

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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