Hiring a Web Developer: What about Images? - Montana Webmaster

Hiring a Web Developer: What about Images?

Should your web developer manage your image portfolio? Assumptions in this area cause frustration for both the developer and the website owner. In my opinion, for small sites, this is a good task to assign to an in-house Content Manager. Someone in-house is more likely to know the nuances of the image to the overall message of the site.

Problem 1: What is the Message in the Photos?

Log Bunks 1
Log Bunks 2

If your web developer is an outside contractor or firm, the developer doesn’t know your products the way someone in-house would know them. In fact, for words that have multiple meanings in different situations, a developer will apply the meaning they know to your words with some crazy results.

For example, one time a client emailed me photos with the subject line, “Log Bunks”. My kids slept on bunk beds made of little round logs, so I made an assumption, based on my experience. I thought he had sent me the wrong photos when I saw that the photos were of parts of a logging truck.

Problem 2: Your Developer May not Know about Internal Changes to your Business

Even people inside a business don’t know everything that happens inside that business. An outside contractor knows even less. That means that someone inside the business needs to keep an eye out for images being up-to-date. A product design could change. Or, a product could be discontinued altogether, and the developer may not have that information. The big problem is that, if the product is still on the website, your company is still marketing that product.

For example, I was contacted by a real estate company that had 250,000 listings for properties that had already sold. Their software had not weeded them out as they sold from the MLS system.

  1. The developer doesn’t know when people who might be in the photos come and go.
  2. The developer may not even know what’s in the photos, especially if there is a series of photos with minor differences.

PROBLEM 3: NAMING, TAGGING, CATEGORIZING

1. Every developer has a mirthless laugh with other developers about that time that a client gave you photos in a shoebox, or sent email after email of zipped files of photos with duplicates and no information, etc.
2. Images are a business asset. It took time to take them. But, like most other business assets, they need maintenance.
3. They need searchable file names.
4. They need keyword tags.
5. They need to be categorized major categories that will make them available to all departments
6. They may need model releases
7. This is content management, not development.
Hint: a content manager is not as expensive as a programmer.

PROBLEM 3: WHAT’S THE HOLD UP?

When the developer has to find, name, label, crop, etc. the images, the actual work that the developer is supposed to do is held up. This makes for a very difficult project for everyone.

There are a number of image management tools available. If you have the Adobe Suite, you probably already have Bridge. Or, you may have Lightroom. If you have hundreds or thousands of images and you don’t have a management tool, you might want to check out this resource.

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