brian on 2004.09.09
at 01:10 am
When I was searching for a position in web development, I had two major interests. Interacting with clients so that they could get the most out of a project would be a natural fit for me. I have an unusually uncommon ability to discuss technical issues in meaningful ways with non-technical people (this is why and how I have my current job). In the new media area its so important for clients to have good communications with their developers, to get the most out of their investment they need to truly know what's going on, and communicate their needs and desires, and get the proper content out.
Point one is illustrated in this blog post by Drew McLellan. I believe that good client liasions are hard to come by, and why I thought I'd have an easy time getting a job in the field. In contrast, I had a terrible time even getting interviews, where I could then demonstrate that talent. Of course the state of the economy was pretty awful, too, so I'm sure that didn't help.
The second big interest I had can be generally called Information Architecture. Basically, I had the belief that there are plenty of pretty (from a design standpoint) websites built by the "best" studios in the world. But they were also plenty ugly when it came to actually use by humans.
It is my theory that better forethought and planning (along with usage of web standards, so everyone can play) would make pretty sites usable. Organizing information is another strength of mine, but I struggled to show that in my portfolio. I have a keen knowledge of what makes a site successful in comparison to other sites that are unusable, but couldn't figure how to demonstrate that knowledge in a portfolio.
Michael has a great blog post on how to set yourself up to apply for these IA-types of positions. Info I could have used two years ago.
Problem with the post is the whole experience to get a job to get experience to get a job to get experience... the vicious circle is so difficult to penetrate. That's where networking and luck come into play.
There are still so many shops making pretty sites for big dollars, which ignore standards, IA, usability... but these shops have connections and relationships with clients... and the clients don't know any better, so the entrenched continue to get paid while the clients keep getting sub optimal work, and the real losers are the public who are trying to spend money with the aforementioned clients.
It goes to show, the more technology advances the more things stay the same... companies continue to invest in poorly deployed technology, because they think technical innovation can exist in a vacuum from basic communications principals.
What's the connection between my two points here? Easy. An IA who plans the basis of site who has great client communications can better lay the groundwork for a successful site.
But as long as the job application loop stays closed, the more the workers in the pool stay the same...
Posted in: Web
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