Apostate Café


By joshua

Pubished:

Posted in: meaning-beauty-whimsy

HEWEB09 Notes

<span class="caps">HEWEB09</span> Notes
Session notes from HighEdWeb09 ============================== > See also [my conference recap][], > my photos ( > [set 1][], > [set 2][]), > the [conference Flickr set][], > and > [the conference Twitter stream][]. Here, in mostly chronological order, is a big dump in one giant page of all my session notes from HighEdWeb 2009. Most of the presentations themselves will be available for download [on the conference site][]. These are just the points, links, and quotes I found interesting enough to type into [Evernote][] while attending the sessions.   APS1: ADA and Section 508: Best Practices for Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities —————————————————————————————————————————————— This was my first session of the conference, and it set the bar pretty high. Lots of good stuff about accessibility. The main point seemed to be that while standards compliance is good, just fixing the errors in your page to get a clean run through a validator tool doesn’t create usable, accessible web pages. It is much better to learn to code in an accessible manner, and to take the time to understand *why* the accessibility guidelines are there. Coding HTML in a usable, accessible manner produces better, more usable code. Loved the quote from a designer, “I learned this stuff because of Web accessibility. I use this stuff because its better Web design.” - Instead of coding around the errors from accessibility evaluation tool, use design pattern that support accessibility. - People w/ disabilities want an accessible / useful site, not just a site that passes validation tool. - Try using opera — turn off images, turn on high-contrast style sheet. Can users w/ low vision tell what site they are on? - Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Guidelines — technical best practices document with what/why/how. - UIUC — iCITA Best Practices & FAE & FireFox extensions - Check out ARIA — Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite — - UIUC FireFox extension allows you to send rendered DOM from Web app to FAE for validation. - Great quote: “I learned this stuff because of Web accessibility. I use this stuff because it’s better Web design.” - cf. [www.admissions.illionois.edu][] for visually compelling accessible site - Accessibility users group:   APS2: Website Editing Using Ruby on Rails ————————————————————- I’d never seen RubyCMS before. Never used rails, never coded in Ruby. About the time Ruby became a *thing*, I was making the transition from mostly-programming to mostly-managing. This was an interesting session. Not sure RubyCMS is the right tool for the tasks we use a CMS for, but man, some killer features. Talked to the presenter after the session to ask about the scalability issues (which is the biggest criticism I’ve heard of Ruby), and he acknowledged it is an issue, but they are making great strides in that area. In any case, good to know it’s out there, and it might be a good option for some side projects, or for doing rapid prototyping of interfaces to be fully fleshed out in some other system. - Goals — make editing site easy for user; simplify uploading/sizing/captioning of images - Looking at RubyCMS - Ruby - dynamic scripting languages written in C programming lang - elegant, easy to read/write, requires less code; won’t make you a better programmer, and definite learning curve, and some syntax not as intuitive as claimed; once you get hang will become your favorite scripting language - Rails - Web framework written in Ruby - Favors convention over configuration; is “agile”: minimal planning, lots of prototyping, frequent revision — working software more important than comprehensive documentation… “Show me something that works.” - Rails: [twitter][], list apart, basecamp all built using rails - - Put /edit in front of URL to log in — LDAP connected. /staging for staging version, shows most-recent draft, versions - RubyCMS — inline editing, appearance schedule, killer image & document manager. Drag & drop images. Navigation on-page drag & drop editing. Forms not done yet. Object embedding not done yet. Awesome way of using hashtags sort of like Views in Drupal - Mongrel - http server written in rails - Passenger - module for Rails on Apache - Question: Are images & docs tied to a page? Any sort of asset library so you can use same image on multiple pages - Question: Is there a publishing workflow so a copyeditor can review / release the page? - Question: This is very cool, lot of interesting features. Issue with scalability and enterprise use? That’s the one criticism I’ve heard of Rails specifically and Ruby in general? APS3: Implementing Reason CMS with Small Teams and Small Budgets ———————————————————————————————— This was a session about Reason, a home-grown CMS developed at Carleton. For certain purposes it looks great. They have some pretty significant campus Web presences built out in Reason, and it was impressive how much content could be *managed* by a small team. If I was ever in the situation where I had no budget, no manpower, and needed to let lots of people work on a site, this might be an option. - Kalamazoo College for International Studies. Using “Reason” PHP5 CMS developed at Carleton. - - Beloit College runs whole site w/ 2-person Web team - “Our content management strategy was to give the staff assistants DreamWeaver and hope for the best.” \#heweb09 - Design idea: - Luther College » phasing out RubyCMS in favor of Reason, migrating all data SOC3: Talking to Your Boss About Twitter… —————————————————————- This was a best-of-track session, and was really good. Lori presented some great strategies for talking about the value of social media technologies, and for handling one of the great difficulties of higher ed: dealing with brilliant faculty and administrators who aren’t used to being unaware of things. My favorite recommendation was to start talking about the work-related value of your *personal* twitter or facebook accounts. Funny example story: one dean just starting with social media tweeted that he’d give some departmental shwag to the first person who saw the tweet and *called* his office… using new media to drive people back to old media. - We all have a VP or chair, etc., whom it is our duty to keep informed of our activities and elicit their support. - Obstacles: 1. It is called twitter. Tell me what’s going on in myface and spacebook and tweeter. 2. They know… but they don’t know. They are smart people, they’ve heard about it, and think they know about it. But they don’t use it. So they know what it is without understanding what it is. Twitter is easy to misunderstand. People tend to mock what they don’t understand as a defense mechanism against the appearance of ignorance — don’t take it personally. 3. “Justify” often equals “quantify.” It’s tough… how do you quantify the value of a relationship? How do you put a dollar value on a conference backchannel that enhances the conference experience for some attendees. 4. Frequent question: shouldn’t you be working? They think of it as a social thing that students use. You are working… since this is your job. - Strategies & Tips: - These are smart people who are used to being in control and knowing what is going on. They have reasons to be skeptical that twitter is just another pets.com - Statistics can be useful door-openers. These things are real - Value not in information being exchanged but in network itself. - You need to let them know this isn’t Santa Clause, I didn’t make this up, this stuff is real. - Facebook is 5.5yrs old; 300million users; 99% incoming freshman have FB profile; 300K new users added every day; Look at \# fans of university site. - If users of FB were a country, it would be the 3rd most-populated country in the world. Not insignificant number of people who have taken time to sign up for this thing called facebook. - It is much easier to show than it is to tell; let them “see” the conversation instead of trying to explain how it works. - Show difference between “This is me” and “This is me on Facebook.” Demo — log into FB as yourself, get on site, and let them see status updates. It’s simple, but they’ve never done it themselves. These folks are used to knowing things, but this stuff they don’t know. - Let them see the conversation. Start searching for name of institution on all these things. University FB page is only tiny portion of institution’s presence on Facebook. The conversation is going to happen with or without them — you might as well engage. - This is the point at which your boss may get scared. You have to talk ‘em back from the edge — remember its not about control, its about authenticity. It’s about having an authentic message by letting people who are part of your community tell the truth, be it good or ill. - Search for university on youtube. See what is going on. If this stuff was produced by communications office, nobody would be watching it. - Take them for a test drive. Let them (help them) use the tools — help them create a twitter account or facebook page. - Suggestion from [@LoriPA][] on social media strategy — first just do it, then develop strategy. Add layer of virtual community to some event on campus, call it a pilot program. Create sense of ambient awareness. - What about your own social presence, not just the university — make the case for institutional presence by showing work-related benefit and benefit to university from your personal social media presence. Experiment with ways to use twitter in your profession; work in PR? Follow reporters & local media. - The line to draw in sand: participate vs. dominate. You can’t make viral video. Institutions need to find their feet in the virtual world can learn to contribute, not control. You have every right to participate in the conversation, but not the right to squash other participants of the conversation. - Above all else, **be useful**; give people something they can use, do, have fun with — something they couldn’t get from anyone else — then get out of way. It’s like a university-hosted social event: school provides the room and the snacks, but they don’t create or control the social interactions that happen at the party. - Shared governance of institutional facebook page — add admins to fan page to represent areas of university (e.g. one from sports, one from marketing, one from admissions) then soft-coordinate updates page updates; don’t overwhelm fans, try to limit yourself to one update a day. TNT3: Increasing Web Site Usability (With or Without a Redesign) ———————————————————————————————— This session was best of conference, and was really good. In terms of usability and writing for the Web, they didn’t have anything *new* but they presented it in a succinct and memorable way, with great examples and the perfect touch of whimsy. My first attempt to attend this session was thwarted by overcrowding… I arrived about five minutes before the session was to start, and was about \#10 in line out in the hallway, as every available chair and place to stand inside the session was occupied. My favorite thing they talked about was the rollout of a new CMS for their school. They held open training sessions every day for six weeks, and the rule was that nobody got access to the CMS (or their department’s content loaded) unless they attended the session. Because they were willing to hold them every day for a month and a half, they got the backing of the administration: nobody had a legitimate scheduling excuse for not finding one day in six weeks. The training sessions, then, were full days, the first half was all about writing for the web. The second half of the day was actual training on the CMS. I think that is just brilliant. - Obstacles: Information Architecture / wireframes / design / content - Great quote: “Our site could have been featured on Webpages that inhale vigorously dot com” - Information Architecture: content revision may expose problems in the IA; start small then work your way to the upper-level pages. - Information architecture, **then** wireframes, **then** design, then **content** - Only ready for design **after** other work has been done. - Did one-day content/CMS training sessions every day for six weeks. Nobody got on site unless they went to the training. Half day of writing for web, half day on CMS. - People don’t want to ‘marketed *to*’; they want to be ‘communicated *with*’. - Flint McGlaughlin - Write content like a conversation. - Users don’t read, they scan, hunting for keywords they are already have in mind. If you can’t give them something they are looking for in 10-15 seconds, they will go away frustrated. - Don’t waste first sentence welcoming users to a page they already know they’re on e.g. “**Welcome to the dept of who gives a crap.**” - Talking about respecting diversity doesn’t tell users what classes they need to take, what sort of degrees are available, what kind of jobs they can get. - Content — Reference & Research (Jakob Neilsen - [useit.com][] / Bob Johnson - [bobjohnsonconsulting.com][]) - Content — Location, location, location: eyetracking studies. You can assume users believe they are on the page they *think* they are supposed to be on. - Users don’t read text thoroughly. First two paragraphs = most important info. Subheads, paragraphs, & bullets should start with information-carrying words. - Information about the page you are already on does not provide add’l useful information to users. - Place self in position of users: assume users don’t know anything about your org chart, institutional / higher ed lingo, or the program or department to which you’re referring. - User’s don’t know what “core curriculum” - Head it with what they’re calling it + what you call it; e.g. “Basics / Core Curriculum”. Help them find things in their terms & simultaneously educate them about your terms. - Writing for Web: people scan Web pages, not read them. Go for 50% of text on Web as print counterparts. Don’t give half the info — give the same info in half the words. Cut out “marketese” and welcome mat. Don’t be cutesy, make puns, or use clever spelling — nobody will find the information. - Find out what terms students are using. - Users expect underlined or colored test to be a hyperlink. To make key words stand out, use bold rather than underlining. And highlight key words, not entire sentences. When scanning, the eye can only pick up 2-3 words at a time. If you make a whole sentence bold, you’ve eliminated the benefit of making words bold. - Hyperlink keywords — they serve double-duty. Linking out, and color draws attention to keywords. - Keywords in headings vs. warning against bolding whole sentences — headings should not be full sentences. Font differences & whitespace help them stand out. Chunk out content w/ headers that break out keywords. - Consistency — contact info same written format, text style, and page location on every section of site. - Good writing for web will end up laying out content in F-shaped pattern w/ important stuff toward top and toward left… which matches the way people scan web pages. - References - [useit.com][] - [blackartofwebpublishing.com][] - [poynter.org][] - Comments — While talking about using the language of your visitors, they used example that people search for “masters degree”, not “graduate degree”. I had to chuckle because we tend to use the term post-baccalaureate. Lots of people searching for that one. Jared Spool Keynote: Cooking Up Gourmet Experiences On A Fast Food Budget ————————————————————————————————————- First… my moment of geek glory… Jared Spool [retweeted my joke about his height][]. Very entertaining and mildly snarky, had a couple good routines about the TSA as an example of standards turning into dogma. He also had a bunch of slides illustrating what he called the design trap of higher education: girls under trees. School homepage after homepage showing pictures of girls sitting under trees. Too funny. One of his main points was the results UIE has found of some extensive on-going research of what makes Web team successful. On the process spectrum of tricks, techniques, methodology, and dogma, they expected the best, most successful teams to be in the “methodology” camp, but the tighter a team adhered to a methodology, the less likely they were to be successful. Not that methodologies are inherently bad, but institutions that implement them promote a mindset that stifles creativity. The best thing to do is to find your vision, then give your developers and designers the toolbag of tricks and techniques that enable to fulfill that vision. Probably the most controversial thing Spool said was something along the lines that templates kill success, that the point of Web design is not filling content into boxes, and that extant research provides no evidence that templates result in good design. That’s not be the exact quote: Spool was very careful and nuanced in his language. But his point is that attempts at excellence which have, as their foundation, *reliance* on a template or methodology, are doomed for failure. - Process spectrum: Tricks → Techniques → Process → Methodology → Dogma - The great higher ed design trap: girls under trees. - No research-based evidence that templates result in good design. - Research on successful web organizations shows the best don’t have methodology or dogma, but rather focus on techniques and tricks. - » Give your Web team lots of tricks & techniques. - Three core UX attributes: vision, feedback, culture. - » Can everyone on the team describe the experience of using your design 5yrs from now. - » In the last six weeks have you spent more than two hours watching someone use either your design or a competitors? - » In the last six weeks have you rewarded a team member for creating a major design failure? - Amazon.com is not a university. Look @ data, not at what someone else in some other industry is doing - 5-second page test. It’s called a 5-second page test because it takes 10 minutes to do. Look at page for 5 seconds then write down everything you can remember about page, On scale of 1 to 5 how well does page communicate the mission of page (e.g. “Customer Service” or “You can trust us” or “We’re here to help”) - Great when pages do specific things — identifies if pages quickly communicate their purpose. Take a page comp down to the student union and ask the kids to do 5second page test. - Book to get [“Paper Prototyping” by Carolyn Snyder][]. - Focus on a few quality ingredients in order to produce the best stuff. - Inuksuk: a sign that someone has been there before. “I have made this journey before you and you can make it to an be happy.” - News feed on campus home page is usually just stuff that only the marketing department cares about and usually isn’t news. Doesn’t reassure students or parents that others have succeeded. - There is a difference between being creative and being clever. - Its not about the money you spend It’s about focusing on what you want to do and building the toolbox of tricks and techniques that enable you to do that. - You need to focus on developing great tricks and techniques — don’t let methodologies and dogma bog you down. - Look for opportunities for creative approaches. - First step: get all people who work on public facing site together and talking. - Great quote: Rick-averse organizations produce crap. Session 4 ————- For the 4th session I went to a vendor demo of OmniUpdate. They have an interesting SaaS model. Pros: use push (or baked) model of content creation, XML & XSLT, very fast, lots of higher ed experience. Cons: lack of pull (fried) model of content delivery creates difficulty attempting to deal with user-generated content (e.g. Web forms, comments, user profiles) on dynamic or social-network-type sites. Sounds like they are doing something to address the user-generated content issue, ala RedDot’s LiveServer. Definitely worth looking into. MMP5: Starting a Web Office from Scratch: Trials and Tales ————————————————————————————— This was a pretty interesting session co-presented by two relatively new Web team managers in two very different organizations, talking about what does and does not work when setting up a Web team. I’m not sure there was so much that I took away from this other than an appreciation for how good we have it in Outreach Marketing. But if I was ever able to split our web technology team out from Creative Services into a separate team that worked across silos, some of the “how” in the presentation would be useful. - Committee policies and guidelines oh my - HE Web — everybody wants to be able to have their say and touch everything in case its a success. - Creating a Web team is about getting the right people in the room at the right time: this means the people who are paying. - There is a compliance group, which is never the right group to start this conversation. - Committees are good when they server a function, but if they hinder instead of enable they are a problem. Governance can be effective as advisory or best practices, not as compliance enforcement body. - Politics — don’t talk about them - “Matt, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Wayne State had the best Web committee of all time.” - Completely decentralized — every dept has own web team, tasked w/ bringing everyone into unified group and single CMS. Find IT folks who have been roped into Web as “other duties as assigned” and position centralized CMS as way to get them back to concentrating on IT stuff. - When plowing a field, if you hit a rock, just plow around it. - Structure of Team - Project Lead oversees - \* Tech Team: Sys Admin, Programmer, HTML Coders - \* Design Team: Graphics Designer, Photographer, Multimedia Developer - \* Content Team: Communications Specialist, Editor, Writer - \* Quality Team: QA, IA, UX Designer - Function: Service oriented group (works on projects) vs. global functions group (oversight of enterprise web). Can they be the same team? - \* Service group can build relationships with people who really want to make a difference at university and can steer around roadblocks. Notre Dame has good agency model. Can produce things of quality with focus on user. - \* Central group cannot always set timelines and have luxury of time to create quality stuff. - W-S Location Unknown — IT vs. Marketing vs. Hybrid - “A CMS is not a magic bullet that will fix every problem in your organization.” Technology will not fix your people problems. - Point of CMS is to remove technology barrier that prevents end users from updating the Web pages for which they own the content. - WebDev mail list — Having somewhere people can send an e-mail to w/out getting a negative response or flamed builds trust and facilitates communication. - Starting group — started ning group, hunted out people who do Web, have meetups. Everyone has some talent, get them to present on it. Start internal awards. Encourage people to share their talents. TNT6: Get Your Easy Button: Web and Marketing Working Together ——————————————————————————————— This session was more fascinating as a success story than as anything with real strong takeaways for our team — because we don’t do any undergraduate admissions work within our team, there wasn’t a whole lot to apply in my day-to-day job. But what Xavier was able to pull off with a small team with tight deadlines and minimal budget is very impressive. Their average freshman class was around 850. They were shooting for a very agressive 950… and ended up with a freshman class of over 1100. Were I ever to work in admissions, I’d go back to this presentation and steal ideas. I also appreciate the fact that they tracked *everything* and were able to pull out good statistics, like the fact that on average 20% of accepted students actually attend, but that number jumps to 40% if they received a peer phone call, and 70% if they attended an on-campus event. Also an interesting idea with their “Road to Xavier” site, which is basically a social networking portal for *accepted* students to get to know each other and learn about the campus and their program between their acceptance in Spring and move-in in the Fall. - Charge - drive applications & deposits — focus on recruiting for larger programs, and marketing struggling programs - Project: Marketing (University Relations) / Admissions (Enrollment) / Web Services (IT) - Transition from high budget local awareness campaign to program-specific and outcome focus. - “[Road to Xavier][]” intranet for accepted students. Financial aid, interact w/ other new students. - Plan: 3 print pieces (create awareness, promote events, highlight outcomes) / Landing pages (for each academic dept, use Road to Xavier design, ability to create profiles, videos, event reg) / Events (admissions working w/ faculty) - Add’l elements: profiling of students / alumni, e-mail, alumni phoning, faculty calling, feeding back data. - Division of Labor: - \* Admissions (events, faculty contact, fact sheets, phoning - conduit to academic side) - \* Marketing (print, email, profiles, photography/video, alumni involvement - work on content) - \* Web Services (landing page framework, incorporate road to xavier, data back to admissions, event registration system). - Messaging: I am… (role currently) / I am… (role in service) / I am the Power of X: - I am a teacher-in-training / I am a shelter volunteer / I am the power of X. - 3 print brochures for each program: outcomes (big deal for parents), program specifics, corresponding Web site, visit opportunities. Mailed in clear envelopes. Each one tells a story — Focus on current students & young alums (no more than 3yrs out), tell a story. - URLs: [roadto.xavier.edu][Road to Xavier] » [roadto.xavier.edu/montessori][], [roadto.xavier.edu/art][], [roadto.xavier.edu/physics][] - Faculty member contact for each dept w/ name, photo, quick contact info - Mail pieces followed up 2wks later w/ e-mail. Teaser about student/alumni profiled, link to video, links to accompanying Web page and event registration. - Phoning campaign. Student phonathon call accepted students 2nights a week for 1month. Connect w/ Alums campaign → 110 alums participated, each assigned 3-5 students based on location — provided calling scripts. Faculty → if they want students, they need to put on events and make a few phone calls. Got support for deans. Took panic of economy and push from administration to make it happen. Website w/ online calling reports. - Students who attended events 70% enrolled, 40% students contacted ended up enrolling, vs overall 20% of admits enrolled. Some combined departmental events w/ general open house event to give students more bang for buck on trip to campus. - Enrollments went from 860 to 1174. - Question: how did you measure success? - Question: Recruiting in Cleveland - Question: Cultural question — Was this a cultural transformation? did marketing/admissions/IT have good relationship before, or did this only happen because administration put the pressure on? TPR9: An Argument for Semantics — Why Developers Should Give a Hoot about OWL ——————————————————————————————————————- Without question, the session from which I learned the most new information. The session was presented by Brian Panulla, whom I’ve known *about* for several years (he used to work at Penn State) and who I’ve followed and conversed with on Twitter for quite some time… but I’d never met him, or had any real idea what he actually did. Anyway, this session was all about the semantic Web, or Web 3.0, or whatever. Which I’ve heard about, but wasn’t real clear on: I knew it was something to do with tagging data, and [FOAF][] was Web 3.0, but [microformats][] weren’t, and it was all very confusing. By the end of Brian’s presentation, I was able to say, “oh, I get it now.” On a side note, I was a philosophy major in college. The intersection of RDF ontologies and philosophical ontologies was particularly interesting. Brian made some comment about how ten years ago it was the library scientists who were able to usher in whole new ways of looking at information on the Web, and that over the next 10 years it might be the philosophers who have something to offer. It will be interesting to see where this goes. The part that was missing — and this was only a 45-minute presentation, so there wasn’t really enough time — was some real-life examples of how this was actually being used in a way that made people’s lives better. - Semantic Web - Anti-social Web - Looking for smarter web - ontology: the “o” word - Semantic Web / Web 3.0 / Linked Data — all same thing - New W3C langs: RDF / RDF Schema / OWL - each builds on another, but all fundamentally RDF - RDF - mark up information in ways that are useful to machines (not particularly humans) to ease pulling / aggregating / connecting / displaying information to users. - If humans can’t get implied meaning right, how are machines supposed to get it right (context & baggage when dealing w/ language)? - Google is very very clever, but it’s not very smart. - \* Why do we maintain local copies of public information (state/country codes) - ? Is there a public API or updated database of record for state/country lists? - Semantic Web - parallel infrastructure - design patterns for smarter infrastructure. Web content, pages, and sites do not need to change to be made ready for the web 3.0. - More meaningful markup allows software to make more robust decisions. - Roadmap to smart data: entities as resources / specifying relationships / drawing inferences. - Differentiating between conceptual entities creates the need for an identifier: indefinite article (a college of IST) / definite article (THE college of IST at PENN STATE). — how do we get those proper nouns into our data? - Implicit semantics: USPS state code / ISA country codes / 2-letter symbols for chemical elements - Two columns called “state” could be USPS state code or FSA state or Workflow state - In the absence of a good key, we make one up, but how to we differentiate between entities even if they have the same name? URIs. We can create string that works as global identifier. - “You need to be careful about the difference between a URI and a URL when you’re dealing with semantic web people. They get real touchy about those things.” - There is no guarantee a URI will be accessible from a browser… but it usually is. “I link therefore I am.” - Normally entities identified by two different URIs are distinct but you can override it. - RDF: fundamental knowledge representation declaring resources (nouns) and specifying properties (verbs). — specifies is-a, is-a-member-of, has-a relationships. - RDF/OWL stored as triples. Subject (Penn State), predicate (is a), object (university). - Creator of ANT has apologized for using XML as the configuration syntax. - RDF can be expressed as XML, or as N3, or other formats. - Types/properties in RDF can be defined in RDF schemas or Web ontologies — think of classes in RDF schemas (RDFS) as sets than than OOP classes. RDFS adds limites set theory properties subClassOf, subPropertyOf, Domain, Range. - Ontology - the study of a being or reality. Higher level of a schema that describes a being. Computer Science profs saw word in thesaurus, saw it was bigger than schema and said “we’ll use that.” A Formal Ontology is a representation of a true ontology in some sort of communicable format. - Schema describes structure / Ontology can describe structure and meaning. - OWL classes adds expresivity of sets. Can say psu:College and umich:College are the same thing. Enables us to get over differences in terminology. - War brewing between taggers and top-down hierarchical ontology wonks. Class structure is not a strict hierarchy: it’s all about sets; classes can belong to more than one parent. - Inferences are statements that are derived from other facts — getting at new information based on what is already known; by declaring relationships as transitive/inverse we can get information w/out storing it separately (as you might need to do in RDBMS). - Using these: add a semantic data to your existing app by reading RDF/XML, using an API (Java,Python,Javascript), using a semantic source, and query ontologies using SPARQL. - \*Look for an ontology for your domain before you create your own. - \*Don’t try to model the universe. It gets the philosophers mad, because its their job. - \*Don’t use the word “ontology” in mixed company. - \*Do use an upper/foundational ontology — BFO, Cyc, DOLCE — Easier integration later, makes philosophers happy. MMP10: This Is Not A Brand —————————————   This was a co-presentation by Doug Gapinski from mStoner (who I’ve met before) and Patricia VandenBerg from Mount Holyoke College (who I’ve never met). Doug presented *via negativa* what a brand is not, and Patricia presented the successful implementation of some branding strategies on the Mount Holyoke site. The big takeaway for me was that your Web presence needs to tell prospective students what it’s like to go to school there, what other people think of the school, and what’s in it for them.   - Using the Web to better present your institutional brand - The Treachery of Images: “Leci n’est pas une pipe.” It’s not a pipe… it’s a painting of a pipe. - What a brand isn’t: not a marketing platform, not advertising messages. Blue is not a brand — it is part of a brand. - What a brand is: what is it that is special about this institution to our various constituencies, and what is it that will add value to what they looking for that will make them choose us? - Web is *the* brand medium: - place for authentic content - experience-oriented (rich media as storytelling devices) — storytelling one of best ways to carry brand - effective distribution — investment on front end, but no recurring printing costs - convenient - Brand answers three questions: - What’s it like to be at *your institution* - What do other people think of *your institution* - What can *your institution* do for me? - Ask yourself: are you answering what’s it like to be there, what’s in it for me? - Mount Holyoke — appeal to international students — have current students in videos speaking in native language, use English subtitles. Reaching out to parents of non-native English speakers. - MHC — tested w/ background colors. Found incoming students had no association w/ blue, found it cold. Testing found yellow worked best. Alums up in arms. Put blue on alumni pages. - Color is a symbol, but only if it means something to you if you have a relationship with the university already. - This is the first generation that will go to Facebook and Youtube before going to your main school site, so you need to watch how you are represented there. - — great example of true authenticity in truly unmoderated way. - **Books to check out** - [Strategic marketing for educational institutions][] Philip Kotler / Karen F.A. Fox - [Zag][]: Marty Neumeier - [Beyond Branding][]: Nicholas Ind - Link to presentation: MMP11: Maybe the Purpose of Our Redesign is Only to Serve as a Warning to Others ———————————————————————————————————————— This was Anthony Dunn of [CSU Chico][], author of the snarky [Tales From Redesignland][] blog. This was a hoot, but Tony delivered what he promised in the session description: an open discussion of a painful redesign process with honest discussion about things that worked amazingly well and things doomed from the start. This session had me laughing more than any other, but it also had lots of good info about how to organize an institutional Web redesign team that works, the value of testing, and the importance of a content strategy. - “Our information architecture hasn’t changed since 1999. Next month we’re throwing a 10th anniversary party.” - “Our current site design was launched in April 2004. It is entering kindergarten this year, and we’re all very proud of her.” - Institue a Web governance structure. - Cabinet Level ITEC » Web Management Committee & Web Content Committee » Web Design Team. - Web Management Committee examines recommendations of Web Design Team to see if they fit the mission of the University. They do not direct, they approve. Web content committee is not decision-making body, but a communication channel (advisory body) who communicates out to constituents. - Academic Politics: Their viciousness is only matched by the insignificance of the stakes. - Engagement — not as interesting as watching COPS. - Creating a competent and sufficient team is VITAL. A team of Web nerds is not necessary but not sufficient. - skillset.org “Web Team” Kristina Halverson (book on content strategy) - Danger: getting stick in the mode of brainstorming. Bright ideas — too many of them give you a headache. - Need outline of steps, milestones, and deadlines. “The journey of a thousand miles often ends in a mud hole.” - Budget problems provide constraints that create focus on results. - **Do the research** — you can’t fix it if you don’t know what is broken. - Used crazyegg for heat tracking. Heat map of home page was single most valuable piece of information. Visual representation of how people using home page. Totally internally audience. - User survey important from political standpoint — went to every single faculty & staff member — let everyone feel they had a voice, and that you are doing something. - Best Practices — took 20 top sites, and inventory every link and piece of content on home page and create a matrix who is doing what. Useful as research to back up decisions… 80% of successful competitor sites do this, only 5% do what you’re asking form. - “If people *think* you have done the research they will believe anything you say.” - What were jettisoned due to budget constraints: personas. usability testing of current site. - Focus groups — sometime their body language is all you need to know. Two types of prospects (early (jrs) / soon (about to pick campus), faculty, staff, current students. Invaluable to get real information about what users want from homepage and top level pages. - Stakeholders: there’s a lot of them, and they are angry, but hey, at least they’re wearing campus colors. The top-level pages need to be a clearinghouse for information; needs to communicate to audiences in their language, and guide them out to the complicated processes managed by disparate groups on campus. - **Plan your content** → \#1 reason redesigns fail is content. If “under construction” is your content strategy, you’re doing it wrong. - Mindmap for info arch of top-level site. - Great quote: “Prospective students can smell 1 part per billion of marketing on a Web page.” - CMSs will not magically create your content. Someone needs to write all that copy. Someone needs to load it all into the pages. Have content strategy and plan for implementing content, or you will spend rest of your life trying to wrangle content. - Just because you wear a suit doesn’t mean you are qualified to critique Web design. - Research helped w/ design. Big battle ended up being over CSS frameworks. “I’m not going to recode that to make it work w/ Yahoo grids.” - **Takeaways** - Get buy in and high-level ownership. If you don’t have that, you aren’t going anywhere. - Make sure you have the right people on your team. - Clearly define the project and it’s scope or you are doomed. - Do the research. Do what you can. Anything is better than nothing. - Get input, feedback, and buy-in from EVERYONE, or at least everyone you can. - Have content strategy and plan for implementing content, or you will spend rest of your life trying to wrangle content.