Computerworld - Employee Spotlight
Name: JUDY THOMAS
Title: Online business consultant
Employer: Electronic Data Systems Corp., an IT services firm in Plano, Texas
30-second resume: Graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station with a degree in journalism and a minor in business. Completed an internship at a public relations firm; designed its Web site. Became assistant webmaster at Texas A&M; learned design and maintenance issues. Joined EDS's advertising department; analyzed online ad campaigns. Took a temporary position with EDS's online marketing and communications group last year, focusing on Web metrics; position became permanent last December.
Overall responsibility: Helps company determine whether intranet and external sites are helping achieve business goals, focusing on integrity, performance and usability. Evaluated Web metrics software for purchase by EDS. Works with internal and external clients to establish metrics; creates performance reports; designs and manages user feedback mechanisms.
Skills boost: "Understand how to design and maintain a Web site," Thomas recommends. It's not necessary to be a "code junkie," she says, but it is important to understand the implications for users of the design and internal workings of a page or site.
Thomas says she continually meets with business groups to understand the goals for their sites and surveys users on how they interact with a site. "You don't want to be the Web analytics person who's stuck in the closet," she says.
Thorough knowledge of how a specific site works is critical because statistics alone can mislead. For example, internal tests and Web spider and cache server hits can inflate total page-hit numbers. "You will never get exact metrics," says Thomas. "It's as much an art as it is science."
- Watson is a freelance writer in Chicago.
Basic hard-skills portfolio: Web design and programming; information architecture and design; interaction design; user-centered design; usability testing, including running and evaluating representative user test sessions.
Be aware that the analytics/metrics/usability field is young and fluid. Different approaches to metrics demand different skills, with some companies seeking tech-heavy "Web analysts" with hard-core database skills. Others want candidates with strong business skills.
Bonus tip: Don't work for a company that doesn't support metrics and usability. Such companies will be sold on usability only when they see it increasing sales elsewhere.
Build at least one Web site, starting from business concept to tracking user behavior, to get a good overview of metrics and usability. Vendors offer training on their own metrics tools, although out-of-box solutions won't cover everything.
Read up. The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman, is a good place to start. Check out www.useit.com and www.usableweb.com for information and links to other usability and design sites.
Most Web metrics/usability positions pay from $75,000 to $120,000, although a top usability expert can command more. Some metrics job titles include Web analyst, user experience manager and manager, database marketing.
Sources: Jakob Nielsen, Web usability expert and principal at Nielsen Norman Group, Fremont, Calif.; Robert Hatten, IT director at Domain Source Inc., Irvine, Calif.; and Judy Thomas, online business consultant at EDS
- Hard-Workin' Web Sites
- The Story So Far: History of Web Sites
- Ways to Speed Up Slow Web Sites
- Content Tools to Fit the Task
- Shoemaker Cole Haan Cuts Web Site Costs
- Web Outsourcers Offer More Services to Meet Demand
- Web Caching
- Time for a Makeover!
- How to Thrive in the Web Metrics Market
- The Next Chapter: Web Sites of the Future
- Mastering Your Web Domains
- The Inside Dope on Corporate Portals
- Wanted: 'Dashboard' for Web Site Analysis
Read more about Applications in Computerworld's Applications Topic Center.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Increase IT Performance from the Enterprise to the Cloud with WAN Optimization Massive consolidation and data mobility, enabled by virtualization, have radically altered how we build servers, design applications, and deploy storage for the emerging...
- Live Webcast Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- Live Webcast
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior This scientific white paper, using statistical data from Amakai's streaming network, analyzes how changes in video quality cause changes in viewer behavior.
- Service-Enabling CICS Applications: Best Practices This informative webcast provides an informed, thorough look into CICS service-enablement options and how they can affect your environment. You'll learn how to...