Web Design & Development Guide
The webmaster (feminine: webmistress), also called the
system administrator, the author, or the website
administrator, is the person responsible for designing, developing,
marketing, or maintaining a
Webmaster as a profession
Webmasters are practitioners of Web communication. Typically, they are
generalists with HTML expertise who manage all aspects of Web operations. On a
smaller site, the webmaster will typically be the owner, developer and/or
programmer, in addition to the author of the content.
On larger sites, the webmaster will act as a coordinator and overseer to the
activities of other people working on the site and is usually an employee of the
owner of the Web site, hence webmaster can also be listed as an occupation. If
the webmaster is hired by a larger Web site, or promoted to the position, they
could do things from web design, to project management, or employee supervision.
The range of activities to be undertaken by a webmaster may be estimated using
the concept of Website scale.
In the early days of the use of the term "webmaster" (a take-off on the term
"postmaster", the administrator of an e-mail system), this role encompassed
all aspects of planning, coding, production, and user interface. The webmaster
may have many of the duties of an information architect, including ensuring site
usability, user experience and menu taxonomy.
However, since the late 90s, this type of webmaster role was typically only
found working on small Web sites that could be managed by one person, or in
environments where there was not a great deal of role definition. The current
model tends to be more team oriented with a
website manager or online producer leading a team consisting of web developers,
designers, programmers, QA lead, Adobe Flash developers and often at least one
usability expert or a UI/UE team. In established web development companies, especially those
existing since the 90s, the term webmaster may be used by senior officers of the
company, and may include usage such as "Webmaster-in-chief."
A broader definition of webmaster is a businessperson who uses online media
to sell products and/or services. This broader definition of webmaster covers
not just the technical aspects of overseeing Web site construction and
maintenance but also management of content, advertising, marketing and order fulfillment for the Web site.
Core responsibilities of the webmaster include the regulation and management
of access rights of different users of a web site, the appearance and setting up
web site navigation. Content placement can be part of a webmaster's
responsibilities, while content creation is typically not.
Typically, the webmaster is the agent who reads user feedback and complaints
about site functionality.
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