Did you ever wonder what it’s like to work for an Interactive agency? Have you ever heard of jobs like “Developer” or “Strategist” and wonder what those people do? Well, I did, and that’s why I’m the new intern at LevelTen Interactive...that, and I’m also excellent at making coffee.
What did I learn on my first day on the job? Whoa! The web development process is complex! It isn’t as easy as they made it look on that Squarespace ad. There’s a lot to consider before you even start building a site. Here are a few of the key players that make it all happen:
The sales team makes sure that the client’s vision of success matches what we can deliver. They’ve been in the business long enough to know what is and isn’t realistic. They choose our clients carefully to make sure we’re a good match, because no one is happy when expectations aren’t clearly defined and agreed upon.
PMs keep all the project plates spinning - timeline, budget, and quality. They make sure everyone on the team understands what needs to be built, when it needs to be done, and how much time they have to do it. Part of managing a project is managing the team and client expectations, so you can say they are pretty busy people.
Web strategists answer the question...just what are we trying to accomplish here and what’s the best way to do it? They study the business goals, end-user goals, and the competitive landscape through research, interviews, and prototyping. They create the site layout and user experience (UX) but most importantly, they define how we’ll measure success once the project is launched.
Once the audience has been defined, how are we going to reach them? That’s the challenge of the online marketers and social media experts at LevelTen. Like Strategists, they ask a lot of questions and sift through a lot of data to find the right approach to market the website. They rely heavily on analytics to measure the success of their plans. They also spend a lot of time on social media sites promoting the project.
Designers create the look and feel of the project. They may work with the client to create the visual identity of a new business or they may design the website to align with a company’s current brand. Photoshop is their weapon of choice and they use it to create everything from logos to web page layouts to the graphics for ad campaigns.
Testers do just that - they test things and make sure they work properly. This can and should be done throughout the development process. There is manual testing, carried out by real people testing certain aspects of the site, and automated testing run by software. Both are used in order to reduce the rate of mistakes seen on the finished website and catch any bugs that may affect the website’s functionality.
The last and most important takeaway of the day: site launch is not the end of the project! In fact, that’s when the whole cycle starts again. Is our approach working? Are people responding to marketing efforts? Is the end-user able to do what WE want them to do? Are they able to do what THEY want to do? Could we streamline a process and make it more efficient or enjoyable? What can we do better? Measure, refine, repeat.
No wonder these guys drink so much coffee.