Being a 'Website Coordinator'

Putting the Website Coordinator role in context

Site architecture and overall visual design are the responsibility of Multimedia Services in the Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning, working to accommodate the shared needs of Departments and Corporate Services divisions. 

However, the development and maintenance of each department/division site is the responsibility of the individual department or division.  Local roles are as follows:

  • Website Coordinator – This is the individual who has day to day operational responsibility for the site’s development and maintenance and acts as the decision maker for the site in lieu of the site owner. This role was previously called ‘Web Maintainer’.
  • Website Contributor(s) – This can be one or more individuals who contribute to the development of a site working with the Web Coordinator. The number of contributors to a site needs to be kept to a sensible minimum as too much devolvement of control can lead to chaos.
  • Heads of Department or Division - not normally directly involved in web work but ultimately responsible (locally) for the accuracy and appropriateness of content on their site(s).

The website coordinator is clearly therefore a key role in any department/division and as such demands a certain level of skill and commitment.

Key Website Coordinator skills

  • Good communicator both written and verbally.
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Good organisational skills/planning skills.
  • Good basic web familiarity.
  • Enthusiastic, proactive and pragmatic.

The core responsibilities of a Website Coordinator

It is vital for every department/service to have someone filling the role of Departmental Web Coordinator. The duties and responsibilities of a Departmental Web Coordinator are as follows:

  • To be responsible for all departmental Web data and the file structures in which it is kept.
  • To assist individuals in the department in getting permissions on Plone (or old style web accounts for the CWIS) and to monitor their use of such permissions.
  • To be the departmental liaison with Multimedia Services, in particular with regard to requests for ownership changes on folders within the department, Web account quota increases, account deletions, transfer of data from old accounts, password requests and changing permissions on folders.
  • Ensuring information about members of staff that is displayed as part of the department's Web pages has full consent from those members of staff. This includes amending any staff details if so requested, in compliance with the regulations on data protection.

Additional responsibilities

The above duties form the basic core of what is involved in being a Departmental Web Coordinator. These responsibilities do however assume a degree of awareness and minimum level of Web related skill on the part of the Web Coordinator. Departmental Web Coordinators are often required to:

  • Communicate with the Web Team and the wider Departmental Web Coordinator network (via the Departmental Web Coordinator's mailing list) to keep apprised of developments.
  • You can subscribe or unsubscribe to the Departmental Web Coordinators list by visiting: http://lists.le.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/dept-web
  • To be a source of information to staff members about areas such as getting started in Plone, Web accounts, quotas, passwords and Web space.
  • To have an awareness of Web services and structures - such as how to get Web forms configured, how to get Web stats showing page use and the departmental two-letter code system works.
  • To promote/encourage compliance with Accessibility and Corporate ID on departmental Web pages, which itself assumes familiarity with at least the basics of both.
  • To have a minimal level of Web training - including at the very least to have attended the training courses on web authoring in Plone - 'Introduction to Web Site Development and 'Plone - Introduction'.

This second set of points is by no means compulsory - they are just considered to be advantageous to a person wanting to perform the duties of Departmental Web Coordinator.

This is also why Maintain It is the final section in this site about Web Site development - because ideally a person would become a departmental Web Coordinator AFTER they had developed their Web skills.

So what’s in it for me?

Although there’s currently no financial benefit associated with taking on the extra responsibility of being a web coordinator, there are some tangible benefits:

  • Skill up in Plone and related web skills
  • Become a central source of advice for best practice in site development.
  • As gatekeeper for your web site you become a key communicator in your department /division – and this will only increase as the importance/influence of the web increases.
  • You’re empowered to make decisions about how your site is developed – which gives you both influence and responsibility.

Plone’s shared model of maintenance

Whilst Plone allows/encourages a new more devolved model of site maintenance, it's still vital that there is a single person with whom ultimate local responsibility for the site sits. The existing (but out-of-date) Internet Code of Practice places this responsibility with Heads of Departments/Divisions - but in actual day to day practice this responsibility is passed to the Departmental Website Coordinator. It is perfectly acceptable for a Web Coordinator to devolve ownership of areas within their site to other individuals (a team of Website Contributors) - all the Web Team ask is that the number of people with full 'Manage' permissions over a site is kept to a sensible minimum.

Register your Website Coordinator and Contributor(s)

The Web Team maintain a list of site owners for Plone - but clearly this is subject to change as staff arrive and leave the University. Therefore we've created a simple form which we would like Departments/Services to use to register the names of their Website Coordinator, any additional Website Contributors and their Head of Department.

 

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