Debates over technology, technique, and process often go nowhere because the participants are arguing from different levels of aspiration.
You’re unlikely to convince someone they should switch to programming Ruby for its beauty, if they’re merely looking to make a living as a single consultant serving local businesses in Schaumburg, Illinois.
I don't know what else I can say. We come across those folks. I pity them. They probably don't read relevant blogs, so they'll never see this post. At the end of the day, they just wanna keep their job.
The Hired Help
While this level might "tweak" the text in some irrelevant way, they don't consider whether the content is useful or not. At the end of the day, they just want to look useful.
I really hate that word, "tweak." People use it for everything from editing gramatical errors to developing sweeping changes in the website.
When I started this job, I thought what was most important was being The Gatekeeper, and while that is the base level of what makes for a good sustainable website, being seen as only a gatekeeper doesn't build good relationships.
I knew it was important to understand everyone else's goals, but I didn't recognize it was important that other staff and administration viewed me as a stakeholder in goals. Being seen as a stakeholder means that others come to you with a goal, rather than a list of things they want on the website. They're asking you for a solution to the problem they're trying to solve, rather than viewing you as some tech person with special software they don't have.
Something special happens when you work at this level. At the previous three levels is where you find staff in bars after work making fun of the people they work for. "You won't believe what they asked me to do today! Seriously, you should have seen this dumb idea." I can't be that person.
Yes, sometimes staff still bring some … sub-optimal ideas to the table, but it's generally because they're grasping at straws to solve their own problems (and their problems do not include designing great websites). If you're seen as a stakeholder, that you're all in it together, they'll listen to alternate solutions.
I also expected faculty and staff to come to me with opportunities for content creation, but I learned that being the web office meant that we could see all the connections better than siloed staff in disjointed offices. The Generator creates tools and content that nobody else ever dreamed of.
It's frustrating to communicate with people on different levels if someone isn't interested in moving up in the world.
I find it exceptionally challenging to communicate with someone at the bottom two levels who can never get out because they've set the expectations low for content and design. Even if that person wants to break out, it's going to be challenging to suddenly take a stand on things.