Session Summary: “Are web managers still needed when everyone is a web 'expert'?”

9:14 am in plenaries by guest

Amy Chamier gives us her summary of the plenary session: P2 “Are web managers still needed when everyone is a web ‘expert’?”, presented by Susan Farrell.


Will web managers be the first to go when public sector cuts bite? This was the unsettling question put to us by independent web consultant Susan Farrell.

Susan, a former head of web services at Kings College, London, explained how those with front-end skills are most at risk. Although we make the web work for visitors – with our knowledge of writing for the web, information architecture, usability, accessibility and search engine optimisation – these skills often go unappreciated.
The rapid spread of easy-to-use web tools, such as content management systems, is leading senior managers to look on everyone as a web expert now. Departments keen for a bigger slice of the web cake, are quick to endorse this view. So how do we communicate our value as web specialists? Susan’s advice is to demonstrate the competitive advantage we deliver in turbulent times. We must show how websites run by web managers cut the cost of: (a) generating new customers (b) back office administration and (c) service delivery. And also, how websites run by amateurs can put an organisation’s reputation at risk. In wrapping up, Susan left us with a final question. Without recognised qualifications and a professional body, do web managers and their specialist skills run the risk of extinction, as our duties are absorbed into other roles? Answers on a post-card for next year’s workshop, please.


  • Susan’s presentation (on Slideshare)
  • If you liked this session, you might like this article (by Gerry McGovern)

By Amy Chamier, Web Editor
Institute of Education, University of London