Master the Web By the Book
HarperCollins' Web site was developed in conjunction with a Web production company about one-and-half years ago, explains Khazaei. Since then it's been a work in progress, "as any good Web site should be in this day and age," he observes, "and that will continue to be the case."
"I think that having a good Web producer is critical," observes Khazaei. "Somebody who has not only visual skills--graphic arts skills--but somebody who can approach the Web site from the understanding of the user interface ... which is not just about layout, but also about functionality." Combining a good sense of design "in the broadest sense" with a range of skills--graphic arts, design, technological skills--is crucial, he remarks. "And I think it's important to be up-to-date with the most current tools, whichever they are, and also to be up-to-date with what are the emerging practices in terms of usability on the Web."
What is the site's purpose?
The purpose of the site determines how it's built and managed. Steve Potash, president of OverDrive Systems, Cleveland, OH (www.overdrive.com), outlines the basics of setting up a book publisher's site. If the purpose of the site, he says, is primarily to post information about your company and general promotion, sales and marketing support, there are a number of standard practices that equate to using common sense to keep files clean and organized. For example, keeping duplicate sites in-house may be a good idea, he advises, maybe on the intranet server, where they can be previewed, posted and managed before they're posted on the World Wide Web.
"But if you're talking about the Web site that services a more dynamic sampling of your company's content, there are a number of additional issues" related to trying to set up how the data from your publication is going to flow through editorial process to a print production cycle over to the Web, says Potash. Ask yourself following questions, he suggests: How are you currently preparing your publication for print? What is the desktop publishing format? What is the final digital product that might be available to you as a company that, once all of the editorial and blueline (work) and all of the markup is done, you can get back in a format that translates to the Web format easily? In other words, Potash summarizes, "if you want to be more aggressive and make your Web site be an access point to your information within your print publications, you have to go back to your manuscript process and put repurposing of content for Web publishing as an objective."