UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

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Posts Tagged ‘iwmw2016’

Planning For IWMW 2017 (comments from #IWMW16)

Posted by Brian Kelly on 24 Oct 2016

About This Post

Having established the IWMW event series 20 years ago I am very aware of the importance of event evaluation, which can help to identify successful aspects of an event, areas which can be improved and how the event can be shaped for future years. This latter aspect is particularly important in the rapidly changing environment of university web management: just as we are coming to terms with the impact of austerity measures we now have to make plans for the implications of #brexit :-(

Since the IWMW event series prides itself on the importance of community, a series of blog posts have been published which summarise the feedback received for the IWMW 2016 event, the 20th in the series of institutional web management workshops. These posts have covered:

As this series of blog posts reaches an end today we summarise the feedback received on plans for next year’s event.

Planning For IWMW 2017

The online evaluation form for the IWMW 2016 event invited feedback for the following issues:

  • Suggestions for the content at IWMW 2017
  • Suggestions for the format of IWMW 2017
  • Topics would you like to see covered at IWMW 2017?

The following responses were received.

Suggestions for the content at IWMW 2017:

  • One problem our university has is not so much content sprawl as systems sprawl. We buy lots of e-services. Most of these have overlapping functionalities (as smaller institutions buy only one or two systems, they often request developments that replicate things other products do). So, for example, we have an in-house developed student portal, an employability portal, a second employability portal within the employability portal, Blackboard (a learning portal), a student records portal, soon a CRM system with portal-like capabilities, and library course-specific portals. Our user experience for students is a confusing mess if they don’t know what’s where, and which system to use. How can we combat this sprawl?
  • I’d like to explore how other institutions are structured – a lot of people I spoke to at the conference do ‘web stuff’ but not within the IT department. I’d also like to see how other web development teams work – people are bored of the ‘agile’ buzzword, and more people seem to be using kanban and trello but it’d be good for this to be covered at next year’s event.
  • Case studies are always good and welcomed. I think there needs to be a good balance between high level talks, and more practical things as well. I tried to speak to quite a few people during the event on what they thought, and many wondered if doing things like lightening talks might help cram more in, but encourage others to take part and demonstrate things they are involved in
  • Martin Hawksey driven, partnered with a non-google expert, case study
  • One or two plenary speakers from outside HE
  • UX, digital strategy, content strategy, user engagement
  • I’m sorry I don’t have time to fill out a lot of this!
  • What one thing would improve my website? Do students still want a website?
  • As mentioned, would be good to hear from people working in web management outside of the HE sector.
  • Already made suggestions
  • What are people doing after they have been digital transformed?! What worked, what didn’t, what didn’t make any difference and why?
  • Ethnographic UX research techniques explored/experiences shared etc. Content and support for current students and staff as a way to strengthen reputation and brand.
  • Perhaps more focus on website content? There wasn’t much mention of it in the talks, and only a couple of masterclasses. It felt like the majority of talks were focused on the digital team’s journey, or transformation. (Which is fine as it linked to the overall theme of IWMW 16 – however, content plays a major role in this).
  • – dev and content track
  • Thought this year was a good balance. Personally would like a few more technical talks, but can completely understand that not everyone would want that.
  • Web Content Management Customer Experience Management Quality Assurance / Digital Governance / Content Audit Stakeholder management Building a business case Writing for Web Usability / UX Leadership Brand Mobile Analytics How to select a CMS How to select a service provider
  • Keep doing what you’re doing. Up to date, industry specific discussions and presentations.
  • More diverse range of speakers, a mixture of topics, and more people from outside HE (or agencies working with HE) if feasible.
  • Shorter workshops — that Wednesday one was a killer. I felt like I was stuck for hours.
  • More of the same! Personalisation approaches (and data protection) will remain very topical. Something on the legal side / regulation? How do people approach T&Cs, privacy policies etc? How can we avoid the six pages of legalese that no-one reads?
  • Something on content/editorial/managing devolved editorial workflows would be good.
  • More hands on, tactical advice. What tools people use, how to get the best out of products. For example, we use Funnelback, and it frustrates me that we’re probably under using it’s features.
  • More case studies from across HE re: digital transformation and change. Vendor/agency and HEI mix-ups buy antibiotics online from mexico work well Would be good to have a ‘very inspiring’ keynote from outside of the sector to get the juices flowing Given what is happening to HE right now (restructures, cuts etc) who knows what we might need to cover next year!

Suggestions for the format of IWMW 2017

  • More of it. (3-4 days).
  • 4 days instead of 3 – shorter days, 10-4 is my suggestion. Coffee breaks can be 15mins, a full 30mins is not necessary.
  • I think the masterclass is a bit too long, so perhaps shortening that down a bit and running things more than once would give people a chance to get involved in more.
  • Broadly the format works for me. The devil, as ever, is in the detail.
  • Format this year was great. Always like the opportunity for parallel tracks though, so ideally more of this, even if it’s just 2 or 3 talks.
  • One day really with top external speakers
  • Keep as is.
  • As said I will like to have the workshops repeated on day 3 morning so to have the opportunity to do two during the conference.
  • Format works.
  • Already made suggestions
  • Location in Canterbury looks great. So a similar sort of social event with a dinner and an informal way to mix e.g the Titanic exhibition would be great. I prefer shorter workshop style format rather than long master class sessions. But I guess that’s a personal preference.
  • Shorter presentations – 30 minutes, so that the day can either start slightly later and/or finish a bit earlier. and/or an extra break given.
  • The mixture of talks, workshops and masterclasses was good.
  • – keynote speaker – theme for a particular day – more hands on activities
  • Format is good. Let’s add a morning run in the morning, and it will be perfect ;-)
  • Maybe an additional workshop but otherwise, good format wise. Good break time to talks ratio.
  • I’m not sure I would change anything. It might be nice to be able to attend multiple parallel sessions, but this would tie up the session facilitators too much. More interactivity in the final panel session would be good.
  • I liked the BOAF sessions from a few years ago. Perhaps content and PM streams?
  • Don’t change a thing – the format is a winner
  • This time was about right. Tweaks I’d wonder about: – reducing the number of talks and providing more break time; or running some semi-plenaries (two talks on different angles at the same time) – repeating some workshop sessions to allow people to make different combinations of topics.
  • Similar to this one – thought it worked very well.
  • I thin the current format worked, but maybe a little longer days to build in a bit more chat time in the breaks.
  • Same! Worked really well and gave people opportunity to travel to and from the event (largely) on the days themselves.

Topics you would like to see covered at IWMW 2017?

  • Development workflows How other web teams ‘service’ other departments and schools. More process oriented.
  • Would love a bit of future gazing around where things could potentially go. Especially if we think the web will be dead in ten years.
  • CMA success / horror stories Remarketing example/case study Legal expert presentation on CMA Legal expert presentation on cookies and sophisticated marketing/remarketing/personalisation techniques Accessibility current best practice Live demo of assistive technology user in action
  • UX, digital strategy, content strategy, user engagement
  • Difficult to say this far in advance. Good to see content related to the current trends, new ideas and challenges of the industry and the sector at 2016’s events, so more of the same at 2017, please!
  • Project management methodologies (Agile but also wider than this. Interesting to see DSDM mentioned this year. Also how to manage continuous development). Content strategy (but really more about raising the quality of writing, the relationship between web teams/academics and marketing etc.) Some radical approaches (if they are around?! Has anyone mastered content reduction rather than having a very large website which covers absolutely everything?)
  • More content-related topics, also, working as an effective team when it comes to managing digital projects.
  • – more code related workshops – more hands-on related content workshops
  • Not specific topics, but I really liked Martin Hawksey’s Analytics talk as it covered a lot of things that I’d never heard of before, so more of the ‘out there’/’what the future might hold’-type talks would be good.
  • As above (content at IWMW 2017)
  • Should this say 2017? Whatever is relevant next year! Suppose some post EU exit challenges might be appropriate!
  • More about wider digital issues (not just the web) and more case studies from outside HE – we could learn from other sectors.
  • Project management
  • As above! Ie Personalisation approaches (and data protection) will remain very topical. Something on the legal side / regulation? How do people approach T&Cs, privacy policies etc? How can we avoid the six pages of legalese that no-one reads?
  • More on UX, content, managing change, migrations, the issues involved with being part of a huge university
  • User testing Career Progression Visual Design Innovation
  • Agile, mobile, apps vs. web

The posts published recently will be analysed and used in the planning for the IWMW 2017 event. Feel free to leave any further suggestions as comments on these posts.

 

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Use of Technologies at #IWMW16

Posted by Brian Kelly on 17 Oct 2016

About this Post

A recent series of posts on this blog have looked back at the IWMW 2016 event. This post reviews the use of technologies at the event.

Background

The IWMW series of events has provided opportunities to evaluate a variety of online technologies, which may help to enrich the event experience and provide opportunities for delegates to evaluate technologies which may be useful in their own institutional context.

The use of online technologies dates back to 2005 when a WiFi network was available at an IWMW event for the first time: the IWMW 2005 event held at the University of Manchester. Although probably fewer than 20 delegates had a networked laptop at the time, the availability of online access at the event was significant because the 7/7 London bombings took place on the morning of the second day of the event and news of the event was first known and discussed on the event’s IRC channel. This led to an appreciation of the potential need for an online environment at future events in case of other disaster, difficulties or simply changes to the programme or similar alerts.

In addition to a communication environment which has been available every year since 2005 (initially using IRC and subsequently using Twitter) a variety of other technologies have also been used over the years, such as podcasts at IWMW 2005, a ‘chatbox’ at IWMW 2006, a wiki at IWMW 2007 (no longer available), the Ning social network at IWMW 2008, a blog for IWMW 2009 and also for IWMW 2010 and IWMW 2011, Lanyrd for IWMW 2011, the Shhmooze mobile app at IWMW 2012 and the Bizzabo mobile app at IWMW 2013. At the relaunched IWMW 2014 event a simplified approach was taken based primarily on use of Twitter and Lanyrd. This simplified approach continued for IWMW 2015 apart from the initial introduction of the Whova app.

A number of technologies are now established at IWMW events including (a) use of Twitter with an #iwmwnn hashtag (and an additional hashtag, such as #pn, #an or #bn to identify tweets for a particular plenary talk or parallel session); (b) Slideshare for sharing speakers’ slides (either on the IWMW Slideshare account of using speakers’ personal Slideshare account – with the iwmwnn tag helping to aggregate slideshows); (c) the IWMW Lanyrd account which provides access to event programme, timetable, speaker profiles and links to related resources for all IWMW events and (d) Eventbrite, which has been used for the past three years for event bookings. In addition the IWMW YouTube account has been set up recently for live video streaming and subsequent access to video recordings..

Links to further information about the technologies used at IWMW events since 2005 are given in the following table.

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Technologies [Link] [Link] [Link] [Link] [Link] [Link] [Link]

Technologies at IWMW 2016

Overview

Thanks to the kind sponsorship of the Digital Clarity Group this year we were once again able to have a dedicated event amplification team: Kirsty and Rich Pitkin of TConsult Ltd (with Kirsty perhaps better known on Twitter as @eventamplifier and blogger on the Event Amplifer blog). Kirsty managed the live Twitter stream at the event as well as the video interviews with a number of participants and speakers at the event, with Rich managing the live video stream and subsequently processing the videos which can now be viewed online.

A summary of the technologies used this year is given below.

IWMW Web Site

The IWMW 2016 web site is hosted on the main IWMW.org site. The Wordprerss.org software is used to manage the site. Note that following a hack of the site several months ago and the limited amount of systems expertise available it has been decided that only a limited number of plugins will be installed on the site, which will limit the functionality available on the site. In particular the numbers of accounts for the site will be restricted.

Slack

This year the work of the IWMW 2016 advisory group primarily touch place using the Slack communications tool. This proved successful and it is intended to continue with use of this tool for next year’s advisory group. It was also suggested that a Slack channel be set up for the wider web management community – a suggestion which will be explored shortly.

Lanyrd

As mentioned above the Lanyrd social directory of events has been used not only for recent IWMW events, but also for providing a summary of the content of all 20 IWMW events. However recently access problem have been noticed with the site, so its long-term future seems to be uncertain. This suggests that the approach of using multiple services for providing access to historical information about the event series should be continued.

Whova

The Whova app was used for supporting communications at the event continued this year, thanks to the kind sponsorship provided by Whova.

The following comments about the Whova app at IWMW events have been made:

  • Keep using Whova or equivalent. Seemed like a great networking amplifier.
  • “[Best things about the event]: 1) The talk by Marieke on/about QAA was completely new, and very valuable information to me. 2) Networking opportunities during workshops, masterclasses and social events were flawless. Whova is the icing. 3) I like the format of this event (two half-days and a full day in between). It’s just right – not too short but not too tiring.

The following point was also made:

  • I thought it was organised very well. One thing to note was that I was a little confused about where to go get information just before the event as at that point we had email, the IWMW website, Eventbrite, Lanyard and Whova as points of contact.

This blog post seeks to explain the purpose of the various technologies used, but there will be a need to signpost more clearly the roles played by the various technologies at next year’s event.

The final comments about Whova are provided by Alberto Guglielmi (University of Birmingham) and myself, on YouTube videos which are embedded below.

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Commercial Involvement at the IWMW 2016 Event

Posted by Brian Kelly on 11 Oct 2016

About this Post

A recent series of posts on this blog have looked back at the IWMW 2016 event. This post reviews the feedback received regarding commercial involvement with the event.

Commercial Involvement

During the first seventeen years of its life the IWMW event was a UKOLN deliverable provided on behalf of JISC, UKOLN’s core funder. Following the cessation of JISC’s funding for UKOLN and the subsequent closure of UKOLN the future of the IWMW event was uncertain. However the feedback received at the IWMW 2013 event made it clear that there was still significant interest in the event and a desire for the event to continue.

The event has continued, with the IWMW 2014 event being held in Newcastle and organised jointly with Jisc Netskills. The event proved successful but the plans for continued joint delivery of the event with Jisc Netskills was not possible due to the subsequent cession of Jisc funding for Netskills. Since then the IWMW 2015 and IWMW 2016 events have been held at Edge Hill University and Liverpool John Moores University respectively. The responsibility for the event is now taken by myself, the founder of the IWMW series. This includes financial responsibility for the event, together with responsibility for the format and content of the event, although an IWMW advisory group provides valuable input into the latter aspects of the event.

In order to ensure the financial stability of the event greater emphasis has been given over the past few years to sponsorship of the event (note that Jisc have been approached but have declined to sponsor the event as support for the web management comment is no longer part of Jisc’s strategic areas).

The IWMW event has also emphasised its community aspects, providing a forum for sharing best practices across peers in the web management community. It has always been recognised that the sector can benefit from insights from beyond the higher education community, but the focus has been on content provided by practitioners in the UK’s higher education web management sector.

There is a risk that the need for commercial sponsorship in order to ensure the sustainability of the event could have a detrimental effect on the nature of the event. In order to identify possible risks and make plans for next year’s event the evaluation form for the IWMW 2016 event had a number of questions related to greater commercial involvement with the event.

Concerns

The evaluation form asked the question “what concerns do you have regarding greater commercial involvement with the event?“. A summary of the responses is given below.

  • None
  • HE vendors have a specialised, niche, slightly captive market. Sometimes that means they have less pressure to innovate.
  • That it will become a conference to ‘flog’ stuff and leave me with lots of cold calls and spam emails.
  • We need to be very clear that they shouldn’t be pushing their own product, but trying to benefit the community through the sharing of knowledge and best practice. The vendors play a huge part in IWMW, not only through funding it, but by exposing us to new ideas and concepts. However they also have a huge amount to gain from us. Financially for certain, but also picking up on new problems and trends that are affecting us.
  • Other than avoiding sales pitches at plenaries, none!
  • There’s always the difficulty that one company will be seen to be the main contender (eg T4) to the exclusion of others.
  • No concern
  • I feel a bit dubious about commercial involvement. I haven’t answered none, I think commercial involvement is useful, I just think it we all need to be aware that commercial representatives are there for their company and they will have their company’s agenda in mind.
  • That talks become straight pitches, rather than insightful.
  • I have no problem with greater commercial involvement in the event, as long as the presentations don’t feel like a sales pitch. If we can see the benefits of a system or piece of software while looking at a case study with a HE institution, then everyone’s a winner!
  • None, providing that the nature of commercial involvement continues to be overtly acknowledged by the organisers and vendors, which I think it was very well at IWMW 2016.
  • None. Quite happy to see any of the above. Plenary talks about products and services can be difficult if it’s not relevant to everyone. The ones at IWMW16 were actually very well balanced e.g. Precent and Headscape. I suspect that is partly due to them ‘getting’ the HE sector and knowing how to pitch something like that.
  • Sales pitches aren’t welcome and it was good that it didn’t feel like anyone was literally selling their products or services. Shared experience and expertise is welcome, and the balance felt right.
  • That the focus will be on selling a product rather than offering helpful information.
  • Wouldn’t want to have to sit through a talk that was basically a sales pitch, but aside from that I think there are a lot of benefits.
  • The difference in opinions, perspectives and agendas is a good thing. It offers conference participants a rounded 360-degree view of the industry.
  • None really, didn’t feel too much this year.
  • No real concerns. They are part of our community too, and a vital part of the HE digital ecosystem. Just as long as they avoid clunk sales pitches. From what I saw, speakers from commercial firms did a good job of avoiding this and demonstrated that they had valuable content to offer the community.
  • Done well they should build trust without coming across as a big sell. Piero from T4 did this very well.
  • Necessary evil. Would suggest you group them as you appear to have done this year
  • None, as long as involvement in talks etc. is product-neutral.
  • I thought the balance was good this year. Too much and it might start to seem overly slanted to their needs, not ours.
  • None, really.
  • The balance currently struck seems to work well and the commercial agencies/vendors seem to be getting a lot out of it too. Anything that can keep costs down will help. Sponsored places.

Benefits

The evaluation form asked the question “What benefits do you feel greater commercial involvement could provide?“. The following respopnises were given:

  • More case studies that are relevant to HEI. Perhaps the organisers could do a quick poll of different agencies used/considered by attendees to make it more relevant. This would give greater networking opportunities.
  • The vendors play a huge part in IWMW, not only through funding it, but by exposing us to new ideas and concepts. However they also have a huge amount to gain from us. Financially for certain, but also picking up on new problems and trends that are affecting us.
  • Sustainability Greater shared understanding of how to work with each other
  • Other than financial, it’s good to keep commercial companies involved in HE thinking.
  • More sponsors and therefore an improved quality of an already outstanding event.
  • Can give an idea of what’s out there in terms of agency partnerships, technology and training. Also good to get an idea of how non-HE organisations work.
  • Easy way of seeing what is out there. Especially if you are not really looking for anything in particular but it’s keep you informed and up to date.
  • More funds to make the event as high-quality as possible (i.e, catering, coffee, social events etc).
  • Reduce ticket prices Better conference dinner Sharing of new ideas Lessons from working in the commercial sector with HE clients.
  • I think the ability to keep the standard of the event up without raising the costs is a major point – getting sponsors to provide evening drinks / break refreshments / etc. Also some of the conference materials (eg lanyards) could be of higher quality if a commercial supplier were covering the costs. Also a good opportunity to hear from suppliers outside the usual IWMW circle (T4, Funnelback, etc)
  • Modern, out-of-the-box thinking, that is not limited to Higher Education vertical.
  • Better deals and opportunities for HE staff.
  • It feels like the conference was well supported this year, in contrast to some other previous years. I would like to this success maintained in future years.
  • Cheaper, I guess. More access to god resources.
  • Maybe Brian might turn a decent profit!
  • Outside views, opportunity to quiz people working in different environments (HE or not). .
  • Great to hear their perspective on the sector, and case studies etc. Rob Van Tol’s talk on managing change was particularly interesting.
  • Getting people to network by supporting a social setting worked well. With the right people there’s no hard sell.
  • Greater resources for meals, social, goodies.

Feedback From Commercial Sector

The evaluation form asked commercial vendors and consultants to respond to the question “What benefits do you gain from participation at IWMW events?” . The following responses were made:

  • Networking Visibility Insight into what’s going on in HE
  • Meeting lots of accounts and prospects face-to-face in a short time period.
  • Insights into how things are ‘in the trenches’. Exposure. Networking opportunities.

A follow-up question asked “What changes or enhancements would you like to see?”. The following responses were made:

  • No pre-registration requirement for WiFi access.
  • Video amplification is a great idea. This could be further improved by adding pre-event video coverage with session teasers where speakers would briefly talk about what they will be presenting.

Conclusions

It seems clear that participants appreciate the benefits which involvement of the commercial sector can bring to the event, provided talks are not just product pitches. THis feedback will be shared with potential sponsors of next year’s event.

 

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IWMW 2016: Participants’ Feedback

Posted by Brian Kelly on 10 Oct 2016

About This Post

IWMW 2016 logoA number of posts have been published recently which have summarised the feedback received for the IWMW 2016 event. These are:

Today’s (long) post provides a review of the comments made on the event in its entirety.

IWMW 2016 Event Evaluation

Numerical Ratings

Based on the feedback received on the IWMW 2016 evaluation forms, it seems that 52.5% of the respondents rated the content of the event as excellent, 40% rated it as very good, 5% as good and 2.5% as poor, an average rating of 4.43. The rating for the event organisation were even more impressive with 52.5% rating the organisation as excellent and 47.5% rating it as very good, an average of 4.53.

IWMW 2016: overall ratingIWMW 2016: rating for eventorganisation

These scores very similar to the ratings for the previous two years, since the event ceased to be organised by UKOLN.

Year 2014 2015 2016
Content 4.39 4.49 4.43
Organisation 4.70 4.31 4.53
Evaluation [link] [link] [link]

General Feedback

The numerical ratings can be helpful in providing a simple indication of the success (or not) of an event and to help spot trends over time. However of more value are the comments received on the evaluations forms.

General Comments

Some of the general comments received include:

  • Felt some of the talks could have been more detailed in terms of actions – some of them were more about the story rather than the detail.
  • Varied in just the right way. Lots of topics but all very applicable. Although HE digital is niche, it is also broad.
  • Good programme.
  • Very relevant, but some of the sessions were a bit repetitive – a broader range of topics would assist with this.
  • Nice spread of content this year. Not too high level, but something for everyone.
  • Usual great mix of themes and talks. Plenty to engage and it all felt relevant.
  • Having only been working in the sector for a couple of months, the content was very useful to help me understand the challenges facing the HE sector from a web management point of view. I like a bit more technical content to be present but then I acknowledge that is not the focus of the event.
  • Nice and varied. Some of the talks from institutions were too focused on what they did rather than the lessons learned/how it might apply to the audience. Also, some of the talks from agencies/suppliers were a little bit too on the side of a sales pitch rather than an informative talk. I wouldn’t get rid of them though, as some were very insightful, eg Precedent.
  • Need external influence. Shame only last day had this when everyone had left
  • Would have liked to have heard more ‘how to do…’ stuff, like the Google presenter. There seemed to be a lot of case studies this year. However, the interaction with the vendors was more positive and interactive than I have previously experienced.
  • Very very good. Although some of the talks were a tad repetitive, so would have preferred to go to more workshops.
  • I have enjoyed most of the talks. I think workshops on day 1 could be i proved.
  • Enjoyable and interesting as ever. Lots to come back and talk to the rest of the team about. Master class was good.
  • Content on the first day was interesting, but not very insightful. Content on the second and third days was both interesting and insightful. Useful to hear about case studies in the sector, but only when they’re accompanied by learnings, new ideas, work with an agency, etc.. Some of the day one presentations felt more like general sharing of what happened.
  • A lot of the presentations were of the formula – “this was our journey through a)restructuring/building a team or b)redesigning a website or c)migrating to a new CMS….” which is fine, and interesting, but I’d like to see more presentations of the type – this is how we built a course search in our CMS/ this is how we’re using UX training to improve our research site/ this is how we’re using digital transformation principles to make our VC take a digital-first approach etc – I think there would be more learning value for me personally in that nature of presentation.
  • Well thought-out thematic structure, interesting presenters from a variety of institutions.
  • Really good conference. Very impressed with the content especially the 2nd day was very relevant for me.
  • Interesting and diverse.
  • Content was varied and up-to date.
  • Lots of really good talks, covering diverse topics and on the whole delivered to a very high standard.
  • Great content, great speakers.
  • Really relevant, lots to take away and apply to my own work.
  • The general standard of the talks is very high. Having attended for a few years, there is a risk of hearing the same messages over and over again, though this is largely avoided. The concluding panel session is particularly valuable, as this gives space for wider discussion about the big picture. The sessions are generally less technical in nature than they were a few years ago. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and I value there being a diverse range of topics under discussion throughout the event. It would be good if there could be a wider variety of speakers. I would like to see more women speaking, and more people outside HE if possible. IWMW is valuable for HE web managers, but it was great to hear from the ONS as well this year. It would great to have some more people from other sectors involved.
  • Lots of encouraging and interesting plenary talks. The second day workshop wasn’t great and by about half way through much of the room had switched off and in that British way just stuck it out to the end without comment.
  • Another great conference with consistently high quality plenaries, parallel sessions and social activity
  • A good mix of material – thought provoking and practical
  • Really good mix. Covered many of my key areas of interest, ie content management, content production, user-centred design, site governance. Very useful to hear case studies and the honesty with which people presented their experiences. Good to hear from consultants etc. as well as peers (e.g. Precedent). Enjoyed masterclass – Rich Prowse and co are great.
  • Liked the mix of presentations about managing change and getting the change that we want. Thought the best talks had a narrative of things to go away and try. Overall, because my position isn’t a strategic role, I’m biased towards more tactical ways to get stuff implemented.
  • Good range of interesting talks and workshops
  • A good mix of peers and non salesy talks.
  • Great variety of speakers from different-sized institutions and outside expertise.
  • Great range of case study style presentations as well as new thinking from the sector and beyond.

In general the content of the plenary talks seems to have been highly regarded.

Event Organisation

The feedback for the event organisation is given below.

  • Very well done.
  • For the second workshops, we were able to select multiple options, but only attend one. I was a little disappointed not to get into the workshop which would have been my first choice. Other than that, all was good.
  • Good organisation and venue. The days felt quite long as there’s a wealth of information to absorb. Ideally the event would spread over 3-4 days but maybe it could be from 10-4 instead. Catering on the second day wasn’t great, there weren’t enough sandwiches for everyone and I can count at least 10 people who had to source their lunch elsewhere.
  • It would be nice to get the information out earlier. Especially if the dates are into July next year which the end of our financial year. Money will be a bit harder to come by by then.
  • Event org went well. A minor observation but delighted as I was with the 2 drinks receptions being funded by sponsors, it would have been better if they could have been combined or made sequential. Having them in parallel really fragmented the social networking.
  • Well organised as ever. Missed the accommodation in halls though. The networking etc dissipated somewhat with people dispersed over the city.
  • I thought it was organised very well. One thing to note was that I was a little confused about where to go get information just before the event as at that point we had email, the IWMW website, Eventbrite, Lanyard and Whova as points of contact.
  • Everything ran smoothly – no complaints really!
  • Very good – would have liked to have had the agenda a little earlier, as it would have been great to have had other people from our organisation present, not just from the webteam.
  • Pretty good. Nicely spaced out events with good time in between. Eevening events were also good.
  • Fantastic!!!
  • Everything went pretty smoothly.
  • Very well organised in general, but the sound (microphones) wasn’t great during the event.
  • Organisation was very good, but the timetabling was quite intense on the second day. When the presentations come thick and fast, it’s difficult to remember who said what, and digest the content before you’re concentrating on the next speaker.
  • Nametags probably needed to emphasise firstname and organisation over surname and event title.
  • Great location and well organised.
  • Very well organised. Great venue. Great location. Superb dinner in a brilliant location. Being able to see the Titanic exhibition was a very nice touch. All ran very smoothly and on time.
  • Generally good, although I don’t think there was enough food for lunch on Wednesday. Also, the mic difficulties were a bit of a drawback.
  • Great venue, mostly kept well to time, great lunch and selection of cakes and snacks between the sessions! The prizes were a nice touch.
  • Well planned conference, both the main part and the social events.
  • Everything ran smoothly and was well facilitated by people who knew how to get people together.
  • The event was generally well organised, although the technical issues that were encountered particularly on day one were frustrating. It was good that these were noted and rectified by day two. However, I struggled to connect to Wi-Fi for the entire event, and relied on my own mobile data to use the internet during the conference. It seems I was not the only one. The facilities of the building were generally very good, but the lack of internet is very poor, particularly at a conference like IWMW in 2016.
  • Organisation was smooth. A few comments: it felt quite disjointed registering and then having to go next door to collect a folder. I never used the folder, at all. I opened it the day after I got back. There was a lot of movement between floors (from 2nd to 5th and back again), and connected with the fact that there was no common accommodation for participants it felt like there was significantly less time to network and mingle because people dispersed very quickly.
  • Very well organised, in splendid venue
  • Clear and effective. We knew what to do when, and where to go!
  • Very slick, well organised event
  • All went very smoothly. Loved the venue. Great having it in central Liverpool so we had a nice city to explore. The conference meal was wonderful in the Maritime Museum, with access to the Titanic exhibition. Felt like everyone was well looked after and everything was communicated well, from the start to the end. (Including helpful links to hotels etc.)
  • Very good – information was clear and useful, especially considering the challenges of a city centre institution versus a campus.
  • List of hotels was very handy, thanks. Conference venue was good and the dinner was nice too.
  • Generally very good by Eduroam wifi was flakey
  • Well organised as ever
  • It ran as an event should run. No bad points. Maybe that the bottled water ran out at one point, and tea/coffee/water wasn’t always available. But nobody’s perfect.
  • Great location and a wonderful conference dinner venue.
  • Well organised with information given in a timely manner, and all together on the website. A great resource for the event and afterwards.

I’ve made a note of the following points for planning next year’s event:

  • there weren’t enough sandwiches for everyone  …“. There were a number of late bookings for the event, which were made after estimates for the number of participants had been submitted to the caterers. Next year we should try to ensure that the final booking deadline is enforced.
  • a little disappointed not to get into the workshop which would have been my first choice“. This is always likely to be the case for the parallel sessions. We recommend early booking for those who wish to attend specific parallel sessions.
  •  “Ideally the event would spread over 3-4 day“. This would probably be a barrier for those who can only attend a 3-day event.
  • It would be nice to get the information out earlier. Especially if the dates are into July next year which the end of our financial year.”  This is an important point. The current set of posts about the evaluation of the IWMW 2016 event are being published in order that plans for next year’s event can be finalised over the next few weeks.
  • Very good – would have liked to have had the agenda a little earlier“.  We will ensure that information is publicised much earlier than for this year’s event.
  • I was a little confused about where to go get information just before the event as at that point we had email, the IWMW website, Eventbrite, Lanyard and Whova as points of contact“. The services aimed to provide complementary functions. However this will be clarified for next year’s event.

Key Highlights

Participants were invited to “give up to 3 examples of the key highlights of the event or ways in which it has been beneficial to you“. A summary of the responses is given below.

  • Very welcoming community Fantastic location Opportunities to compare notes with people who have shared challenges
  • It made me think of what needs to happen at our university to drive my vision for the student experience forward.
  • – Personalisation and advertising campaigns – didn’t have much knowledge of this before IWMW16 – Discussing similiar problems we encounter – restructuring seems to happen often in other institutions, thought this was an issue local to our university. – Networking with others at other HEIs and external vendors such as funnelback and being able to discuss products that they use. For example, we’re looking at purchasing a CMS and wanted to find out from others what their experiences have been.
  • Energised my team. Exposed them to a lot of things that they hadn’t thought about before. Energised me, got me thinking and questioning how we do things and potential ways forward. Learned just how powerful Googe Analytics actually is.
  • Professional and social networking Top tips sparked by talks which Iwill go on to implement A new supplier contact working in an area I wasn’t familiar with
  • Networking New insights into Google Analytics
  • – Rich Prowse’s plenary was excellent – Despite the accommodation managed to have some very useful catch ups with colleagues – Social stuff – lovely location for the dinner/post dinner drinks, and the freebie the following night was a nice surprise.
  • Most benefit is catching up with people in similar working environment/making friends/socialising. Hearing about new ways of tackling issues (eg Google Analytics of Things) Keeping up to date with Digital Government practices Vendor interaction very positive and useful
  • Networking – finding out that everyone has same problems and are looking at similar solutions. Writing for the web – an excellent course, particularly as it wasn’t a hard sell for the supplier The last panel was fantastically blunt in a way we often never get to be when at our home institutions.
  • Masterclass is the reason I come to IWMW and this year as in previous year it has delivered. Love the sense of community always giving good networking opportunity. It is really useful to have plenaries about a wide range of situation.
  • User testing master class was very useful. It’s something I’ve started to be a lot more involved in recently and a got some good tips from this class. Managing change and Delivering Services were the two other sections I got the most out of.
  • Precedent presentation on day two was very good. Gave a broad picture of what is possible when working with an agency. Community in general was fantastic. Great to speak to so many people. Writing for the web masterclass with Zengenti was excellent.
  • It’s often reassuring at conferences to see that other HE institutions are doing roughly the same things in roughly the same way, although it’s becoming apparent to me that it’s the university that breaks the mould and does something groundbreaking that will truly gain an edge. Highlight of the conference for me was Precedent’s masterclass on digital transformation. Thought provoking, with clear solutions about how to scale digital transformation. I think we’ll try it on a departmental level and hopefully it will spiral outwards from there!
  • As newbie, massive value in meeting fellow web professionals and managers, discovering everyone has the same sort of issues.
  • Opportunity for our team to give a workshop together. We’ve not tried this before with 3 people so very good experience for us. Great relaxed atmosphere that has the correct balance between a formal work setting and informal gathering of like minded people. Learning new things but also getting confirmation for the direction and work antibiotics online that we are doing together at our University.
  • Making new contacts, key learnings from speakers, opportunity to reflect on my own work and learn about people and work in other areas beyond my own remit.
  • I learned more about governance. I met some interesting people. I managed to get a broader perspective of the HE industry.
  • – learning about th progress other organisations are making on digital transformation – networking opportunity with peers
  • – Meeting new people as well as the IWMW regulars – Workshops and master classes were a good way to get into the real detail of a topic – Getting a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes – hearing about the lows as well as the highs at other institutions
  • 1) The talk by Marieke on/about QAA was completely new, and very valuable information to me. 2) Networking opportunities during workshops, masterclasses and social events were flawless. Whova is the icing. 3) I like the format of this event (two half-days and a full day in between). It’s just right – not too short but not too tiring.
  • Opportunity to meet other people from my sector and share experiences and advice. Really useful insights to take in to my everyday work. Ideas for future career development I hadn’t thought about before.
  • Marieke Guy’s session on regulatory requirements – lots of great information. The opportunity to catch up with colleagues, meet new people and exchange ideas. Concluding panel session – a great way to wrap things up and provide food for thought for the future.
  • It was encouraging to hear where others are in their journeys and know that we’re not alone, we’re responding to similar issues; great to hear of different approaches taken by different people and institutions, particularly those outwith higher education — quite inspiring.
  • Personal/professional relationships Reinforcing user-focused approach Lots of practical information on social media
  • Discussion of ways to plan transformation – as our own institution starts on what I hope won’t be a half-hearted attempt! Thought processes on personalisation, another area in which we are exploring options Ideal of a high-ranking team to approve/reject web projects, taking the stress off the immediate team management and reducing the instant gratification requirements of top management..
  • Networking Knowledge Sharing
  • Uni of Bath’s masterclass – nothing like actually *doing* something.
  • Enjoyed the chance to network, though I think I would tell myself to make more of an effort to meet more new people, though there was only so much time in the days. None of the talks stood out above the others, all were good, with plenty of things to look back on and investigate Having more externals seemed to go well – the right kind who were mature enough to realise that this audience wouldn’t tolerate the had sell.
  • Social media campaign ideas from Rob Ryder-Richardson. Generally talking to peers
  • Learnt some useful Google Analytics tips from Martin Hawksey Insightful and interesting session from Matt Jukes
  • Managing change and transformation Agile working practices within the industry, sharing experiences View from the Building
  • B2: Future-proof Your Content Using an Adaptive Approach Facilitated by Rich Prowse, and Tom Natt This masterclass was great by great people! P10: It’s Time to Get Personal, Piero Tintori, TERMINALFOUR I thought this talk was fantastic, very interesting, and not an ounce of sales. I was extremely impressed.
  • Google Analytics masterclass University of Greenwich talk – great examples of small team with multiple disciplines Conference dinner
  • The IWMW blog is a great resource and should be kept up with entries from across HE and beyond. The networking between and after the main sessions is always a highlight – the insight, knowledge and support gained from peers is second to none Generally listening to peers to either gain new insights, or remind oneself that you are doing OK after all!

Area Which Could Be Improved

Participants at the event were asked to “give up to 3 examples of ways in which the event could be improved“. A summary of the responses is given below.

  • Nothing I can think of
  • More focus on current students, and innovative / new ways to improve their user experiences, less on marketing. More coffee
  • – Shorter days, maybe spread over a longer period of time (shorter days would give a better opportunity to sightsee) – Provide accommodation with event – felt a little bit isolated compared to the previous IWMW14 I attended. – Have the catered dinner on the second night of conference to allow for those who travelled far on the first day to catch up on sleep.
  • Shorter master classes and perhaps more of them. Might be worth trying to actively get different tracks set up and run the sessions more than once. E.g. Design, Development, Content.
  • As fed back to Brain, early notice and full confirmation of the event agenda. Not only to facilitate budgetary requests but to allow us to get it into Senior Mgmt diaries in order to expand our audience. I much preferred a venue with onsite Student Accommodation. I felt the hotel based accommodation changed the tenor of the social networking.
  • Masterclasses feel a bit too long Would be good to have maybe one or two plenary speakers from outside HE
  • – Get the shared accommodation back – Detail on the website and overall focus could be better. Makes for easier planning and I’m sure has an impact on conversion of interest to making a booking. – Seemed to be a fair bit of ‘my life story’ type presentations. I want more opportunities to learn from peers about techniques/tools they’ve used.
  • Some kind of support for new attendees to break into the group. I sometimes find when just walking up to a random group of people chatting at the event can mean you are actually leaping into a group of friends having an unrelated conversation. Have you considered moving the meal to the second night? I found it quite hard to concentrate for the whole second day after the night before :)
  • Format. 1 day event?
  • It would be good for our institution to have key influencers and decision makers attend (other than in the webteam), so to have earlier publication of the agenda/theme would be very helpful.
  • Lunch on Wed was a bit meh. Didn’t realise the lectures were as long, water on site very expensive Dinner was a bit school dinners although the venue was spectacular.
  • I think workshop content should be improved, and maybe repeat them on day 3 in the morning so there is an additional opportunity to do one. A close Facebook group for IWMW participants to use. Event is great so not a lot of room to i provement!!!
  • 1. I think day 1 and day 3 were too short, and day 2 too long. I realise this is because people need to time to travel there and back, but I don’t think any other event I’ve been to starts quite so late. If day 1 started at 11 or 12, and/or day 3 went till two or three then day 2 wouldn’t have to be quite so long. I think it’s just too long a day, and then Master classes, which are one of the most valuable things, come at the end of a long day, when everyone is tired. We could still have the same number of talks etc., just distributed a bit more evenly over the three days. Day 2 could still be the longest of the three, just not quite so long. 2. The social activities are all pretty drinking oriented. Personally this isn’t a problem for me, but I do think it makes the event less inclusive. There is a bit of an assumption that everyone is going to be going to drinking events, lots of joking references to hangovers etc. Maybe some social events that weren’t about drinking would be a good idea. 3. Not unrelated to point 2, the event is very male dominated, that’s partly because of the demographics of our field I guess, but I wonder if more could be done to make it a bit less “blokely”? Social events and just the general atmosphere.
  • Would be interesting to hear from people working in another sector with more digital innovation, but a similar audience – e.g. someone from Airbnb or Spotify. Later start on the final day!
  • Workshop content could be more than “This is how we did x. Now let’s all talk about how you did/ would do x”. I’d like to learn more about best practice whether it’s CMS management/front end design/integrating feeds etc Perhaps we could have a dual track system with 1) management and 2) content/design/technology ?
  • For me personally there isn’t anything I’d like to see better. Perhaps a short break between sessions but then again it’s hard to get everyone out and back in again quickly.
  • Slightly shorter presentations and an earlier finish, and a couple more comfort breaks in the daytime? There were long periods between comfort breaks. By the time I finally got to my hotel at the end of day 1 it was 5 minutes until the dinner was due to start – and as I needed a shower etc I had to give the dinner a miss sadly. This was partly as it took me a while to find my hotel! Maybe it would have been nice to try and get everyone to stay in the same hotel or at least in the same area, not sure if this is practical though.
  • More food at lunch. Don’t split the recreational areas and the lecture areas on different floors. Better audio capabilities.
  • – well known opening keynote speaker – dev and content track – more hands-on activities
  • – Ironing out the AV issues – microphones seemed to be causing a lot of problems and made things go a bit less smoothly than they could have done – Keeping to time more so that there’s enough time for Q&A – Would be good to get the feedback form right after the end of the event, I’ve struggled slightly with rating each session as it was now quite a few days ago. Or perhaps even break the feedback down into smaller segments, maybe send a ‘Day 1’ feedback form out at the end of the first day?
  • 1) Not a fan of coffee queues. Coffee and snacks should really be available at all times, outside the conference rooms. 2) I didn’t get my badge/lanyrd – partly my fault for not registering as a delegate, but I assumed that as a sponsor I’m not expected to. 3) It was hard to hear speakers from the back of the large lecture hall. 4) Feedback on individual sessions should be collected there and then when the talk is finished. You could offer a reward such as £1 per completed form to the charity (or something along those lines) to motivate people to stay in the room for another minute and give feedback.
  • More workshop would enable more sharing of practice.
  • A more diverse range of speakers would be appreciated. More people from other sectors to become more involved if possible. Better Wi-Fi – a necessity for a conference like this.
  • 1. Common accommodation — more opportunities to network in queues, over meals. 2. Less travel between meeting and plenary venues — again, lots of lost opportunities to chat as people dispersed quickly. 3. More technical sessions.
  • Even more attendees!
  • Evening drinks and socials are at the heart of the networking of IWMW. It would be good to find a way of knowing what people are planning and where they are going – so what the options are. Don’t know if there’s any app which would do it, but a list of places with the ability to add comments on what they are like and some sort of upvote/downvote system to indicate how many people might go there?
  • I’d have loved to be able to attend a second masterclass, but can see that that’s not really feasible within the timescale. A talk about managing devolved editorial structures in large universities and managing permissions/workflows would be interesting. How far should content control be centralised etc.?
  • My bias would be for some talks focused on specific things done and how they made things better. Possible to have too much strategy. Maybe questions right after a session are too soon – questions come up in the evenings, and a way to almost debrief the evening themes would be nice – if maybe a little ambitious! Being on site to keep more people together. I liked wandering around Liverpool, but that’s not the big attraction of the cons for me.
  • The only slight negative this year was accommodation. I realise this was beyond the control of the organisers, but it limited the community feel from previous events.
  • Better wifi :)
  • Special event for new participants who are on their own and not part of an organisational group, ice breaker.
  • Tea and coffee was missing in the morning on Wed and Thurs. The “Working With External Partners” talk felt like a scripted marketing piece done out of contractual obligation… #justsayin
  • Having a venue with on-site accommodation would have been beneficial as delegates were spread across the city Everything else was great!

Feedback on the Social Events

The following comments in the social events were made:

  • Great
  • As mentioned before, have the main social event dinner on the second night to allow for those travelling on day 1 of the conference to get some rest. Meal options were different to those in the google sheets, which led to some disappointment. Having more than one vegetarian option would be nice.
  • Venue was good, but the meal wasn’t the best. Nice being able to see round the museum as well. Thought the vendor sponsored bar was a really good idea and gave them an opportunity to speak to users in a better environment than they would have done at their stalls.
  • The social events were a highlight as ever with both work and personal catch ups benefiting folk hugely. The Maritime venue was great but the bar and exhibit visit confusion pretty much killed the night so that only pockets of folk remained. A missed opportunity for a more massed networking session.
  • Good food. Excellent venue.
  • Lovely locations in Albert Dock. Really well run, free booze, all great.
  • I was pretty tired the day after the meal which is why I had an early night and did not go to the meetups on Wednesday.
  • Both events great at Albert dock
  • Great as always. The venues this year were ideal, proximal and cultural!
  • Due to personal worries and woes I was not in a mood to socialise, which is a pity as I do see it as an important part of IWMW. This wasn’t anyone’s fault, hopefully next time I’ll be more able to participate.
  • A real highlight of the event. Everyone willing to chat. Agencies came across as genuinely friendly, rather than there to generate leads.
  • The Maritime Museum venue was great, although I didn’t think the food was brilliant.
  • Good choice of venues. Would’ve rated the food at Maritime Museum 5/10.
  • Excellent. The museum was superb.
  • I’m sorry I missed them, intend to join in at future events.
  • Social events were good, it was nice of the sponsors to provide us with drinks. However, I feel a seating plan at the event dinner would have been nice, it was a bit chaotic.
  • Maritime Museum was a great venue, although on coming out of the Titanic Exhibition I was surprised to find that everyone had gone – luckily we found people at the Pumphouse! Would have been good to not have two competing social events on the Wednesday, as that meant people ended up all over town.
  • Well organised. Would have been better to have everyone in one place for drinks on Wednesday if that’s possible in practical terms.
  • Really great opportunities to meet new people. I would have been lost without them.
  • Valuable as ever to attend the social events to catch up with colleagues and discuss shared challenges. Mando’s drinks reception at Revolucion de Cuba was good, but the long wait time for food meant we had to move on very quickly.
  • Good balance of stuff. Again, not enough opportunity to mingle.
  • The Albert Dock night will live with me forever – what a night
  • Wonderful! And how great to get free cocktails on a sunny evening down at the beautiful docks.
  • I don’t think I met enough new people, or even caught up enough with people I know a bit. Being on one site would have helped I think.
  • Good location for the dinner, museum was interesting
  • Very generous of the sponsors, very much appreciated
  • Great conference dinner
  • The museum event was good but somewhat disappointed in the food. Might be better in subsequent years to have something less formal? Or just a drinks reception and visit and then leave people to their own devices? Having two meet-ups on the Wednesday also split attendees up, which was a bit of a shame, if people couldn’t make it to both venues. Very generous of them though!

Further Posts on the IWMW 2016 Event

A number of further posts about the IWMW 2016 event will be published over the next few days, including comments on the sponsorship of the event and on suggestions for the IWMW 2017 event. Feel free to provide additional feedback on this blog!

 

 

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Reflections on #IWMW16: The Parallel Sessions

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4 Oct 2016

Recent posts on this blog have provided Reflections on #IWMW16: The Talks and provided access to IWMW 2016: The Resources (links to video recordings of the plenary talks and to accompanying slides). But as the full name of IWMW events implies the Institutional Web Management Workshop series is not a conference, but a workshop in which participants are expected to actively engage in discussions and other activities related to the challenges in providing large-scale institutional web services.

Recent IWMW events have features two types of sessions which encourage active participation: workshop sessions and masterclasses. At this year’s IWMW 2016 event there were 8 workshop sessions (lasting for 90 minutes) and 8 master cheap topamax classes (which lasted for 2 hours 45 minutes).  The following workshop sessions were held:

and the following master classes:

Feedback on the Workshop Sessions

The following comments about the positive aspects of the workshop sessions were made:

  • The workshop, although very theoretical based, was really useful for me. It helped me to identify the leadership styles I use most often and which ones I need to develop further. Claire was very engaging and tried to make the session more interactive which really helped what could’ve been a very “talked at” session.
  • Another really good session from Claire that was well researched and well presented.
  • Really really good. Not a hard sell and lots of evidence shown, along with caveats. Presenter excellent.
  • Was an interesting case study, but not much time given to why it had been done and too early after launch to say what it had achieved. It was also quite different to what I expected to hear about (and I’m guessing that was the same for others). Had expected something about engaging prospective international students. And that’s kind of what the workshop part ended up being focused on, but that didn’t directly relate to the case study, so it was difficult to marry the two. Presenter was very enthusiastic about her work and the topic, though, so enjoyed speaking to her in a small group about her work and general ideas within the sector.
  • Worth it for the market research gleaned alone!
  • Not as immediately applicable to my job, and Birkbeck is a bit different from other institutions in many ways, but was a well run session and was very interesting.
  • Very well run session, got a lot of detail about how St Andrews have been doing things and good into a good discussion with the workshop participants
  • This was an interactive session which offered great networking opportunities, and allowed people to get to know each other better.
  • Great to hear about Ian St John’s experiences in a small team (of one). I attended this in the hope of picking up some tips on how to run my own small team, but it turned out that there was not as much crossover as I had expected in the challenges we face. However, it was still valuable to discuss these challenges in the workshop setting. During this session there was also the suggestion of setting up an IWMW Slack channel for web managers, which I think is a brilliant idea.
  • Just what I was looking for in terms of my questions. Despite ostensibly being a commercial pitch I think the presenter was straightforward and honest about some potential pitfalls
  • Learnt some new stuff about leadership, and can see how trying to apply some of the theories would be cool. Alas, I’m not in a leadership role so I can’t enact a lot of this. Very well delivered too.

The following comments on disappointing aspects of the sessions or on how the workshop sessions could be improved were made:

  • The story/case study wasn’t particularly coherent. The activity wasn’t well planned and facilitator didn’t do enough to engage the group. Ours was railroaded by one person and two in the group didn’t engage with the activity at all. Disappointing experience. Caveat – could be that I know too much about content strategy now and this was pitched for a newbie audience.
  • This turned out to be a workshop where the participants’ ideas differed considerably from the route taken by the workshop leaders. The approach was to ask us what we would do, rather than give tips and ideas on what would be useful. Didn’t really learn much in this one, disappointingly.
  • Interesting but would have liked more focus on student recruitment and more opportunities to share stories.

Feedback on the Master Classes

The following comments about the positive aspects of the master classes were made:

  • I learned so much about social media and advertising campaigns. Really good insight into the various tools that Dundee use and the live demos were awesome (even with eduroam being a bit sketchy).
  • REALLY good. I have been very involved in user testing in the past year. It’s become one of the main focuses of my job, partly as a result of last year’s IWMW, as we came back with ideas about stuff we needed to work on and this was one of them. This class gave me some really practical advice which will improve my user testing practices. This was probably for me the most valuable session of the day. I did find it hard going to have it so late at the end of a long day, I think 11 am would be a better time to have a master class.
  • Presenters were very good – responded to questions/ideas in the room. Kept informal but informative. Gave a lot of information which slightly surprised me, as agency presentations at conferences usually give you half the info and then tell you how good they’ll be at giving you the other half! This wasn’t a sales pitch at all, it was a genuine masterclass.
  • Very interesting and useful. Great takeaways here about how to engage people in the organisation and how to sidestep people who are getting in the way of digital transformation.
  • Excellent – practical and applicable
  • It was good and informative, although we watched three examples of usability testing, each around 20 minutes long. By the third example I felt we had ‘got the idea’ and it became a tad cumbersome. The overall takeaways from the class were very beneficial.
  • Practical and relevant, very useful.
  • Engaging and practical – packed in a lot of really valuable info
  • Lots of interesting things to do with Google Analytics and Tag Manager
  • Some good and welcome/timely ideas to be put into practise.
  • This masterclass was great by great people!
  • Some great info in here
  • A more in depth look into the strategies mentioned in the earlier talk with lots of group discussion and sharing along the way. Great stuff.

The following comments on disappointing aspects of the sessions or on how the master classes could be improved were made:

  • I was expecting this to be hands-on, but it really wasn’t. Also, in a mixed ability group you need to assume that not everyone know all of the processes – I feel like certain aspects were skipped over which wasn’t helpful. There were lots of interesting ideas but I felt like it was trying to do too much, what would’ve been better is if it was hands-on and we went through, in detail, perhaps just one or two of the techniques.
  • Unfortunately my experience of this class was very poor. The presentation was disjointed and at times downright odd, and some of the content was unconvincing. The slides were very dense in text, and these were largely read out verbatim by the presenter. Again, I will look at these slides later to see if there is anything I can take away. But there was little about content, and the presenter’s admitted lack of experience in HE gave the governance aspects little clout. A disappointment.
  • Sadly a very disappointing master class. There was far, far too much talking from the host and not enough discussion. I felt like I was in a sales pitch, and the content was very dry. I was so disappointed.
  • Was trying to cover too much content which meant a lot of the later more interesting stuff was rushed over because we were running over time.
  • Dreadful, just dreadful. This is where vendor participation really falls down when they try to push their own companies and products. The presenter talked pretty much for the entire time, with a few group discussions thrown in to tick boxes that had very little to do with the subject. If trades description law could be applied, she would have been in breach.

Conclusions

IWMW 2016: ratings for master classes

Ratings for master classes (1 = poor; 5 = excellent)

IWMW 2016: ratings for workshops

Ratings for workshops (1 = poor; 5 = excellent)

Parallel sessions have typically generated a variety of responses in feedback forms: the expectation that sessions will be informed by the participants’ specific interests can make such sessions difficult to organise when, as is often the case, there is a diverse range of expertise and knowledge. However two specific concerns have been raised which will be addressed when inviting proposals for next years events:

  1. the need to avoid product pitches
  2. the need to avoid giving long presentations and provide meaningful ways of providing active participation from participants. These points will be made explicitly when the call for submissions for next years event is made.

It should be noted, however, that despite the concerns raised as can be seen from the accompany graphs no fewer than 71% of respondents rated the workshop sessions as very good or excellent with this figure rising to 82% for the mast classes!

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IWMW 2016: The Resources

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 Sep 2016

The initial post looking back at the IWMW 2016 event, Reflections on #IWMW16: The Talks, summarised the plenary talks and the feedback on the talks. However as a goal of the IWMW event is to support the Web management community across the UK higher education community we seek to ensure that resources from IWMW event are made freely available after the event has finished; indeed, if funding is available, we also seek to make the resources available to a remote audience during the event by live-streaming the plenary talks and making accompanying slides readily available.

Thanks to the sponsorship provided by Digital Clarity Group we were able to live-stream the talks this year (something we have not done for a few years due to lack of sponsorship). The recordings of the talks are now available on YouTube. This post provides access to the video recordings for all of the plenary talks and the accompanying slides where these are available on Slideshare.

It should be noted that the resources are also available on the individual pages on the IWMW 2016 web site and on the IWMW 2016 Lanyrd web site, together with the IWMW YouTube and the IWMW Slideshare accounts (as well as slides shared on Slideshare using the speakers’ accounts. This diversity of access routes to the resources aims to maximise the visibility of the resources and provide resilience in case of unavailability of any of the hosting services.

The following resources are available:


#P0: Introduction to IWMW 2016 by Brian Kelly. Tuesday 21 June 2016 from 13.45-14.00


#P1: Requirements Are Hypotheses: How Lean UX Can Help You Develop Better Products by Neil Allison. Tuesday 21 June 2016 from 14.00-14.45


#P2: Skin Deep: Using Cosmetic Improvement to Drive Real Change by Gareth Edwards. Tuesday 21 June 2016 from 14.45-15.30


#P3: Managing Change: Leading Horses to Water by Rob van Tol. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 09.00-09.45


#P4: Building a New University Website – an Agile Content Case Study by Richard Prowse. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 09.45-10.15

http://www.slideshare.net/richprowse/building-a-new-university-website-an-agile-content-case-study


#P5: Establishing Digital at the Heart of the University by Gareth Saunders. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 10.15-10.45


#P6: Building a digital team (almost) from scratch by Duncan Stephen. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 11.15-11.45


#P7: Prototyping the Digital University by Chris Scott and Anja Hazebroek. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 11.45-12.15


#P8: 100 to 1(ish) – Unifying a Sprawling Web Estate by Richard West. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 12.15-12.45


#P9: The Google Analytics of Things by Martin Hawksey. Wednesday 22 June 2016 from 14.00-14.30


#P10: It’s Time to Get Personal by Piero Tintori. Thursday 23 June 2016 from 09.00-09.30

#P11: Working With External Partners by Mandy Phillips and Mark Simpson. Thursday 23 June 2016 from 09.30-10.00


#P12: Right Here; Right Now: Providing the Information your Students Need and your Regulator Requires by Marieke Guy. Thursday 23 June 2016 from 10.00-10.30


#P13: When your website is a ‘national embarrassment’ the only way is up by Matt Jukes. Thursday 23 June 2016 from 11.15-12.00


#P14: Learning From the Past; Looking to the Future by Mike McConnell, Claire Gibbons, Mandy Phillips, Remeny Armitage Royle and Piero Tintori. Thursday 23 June 2016 from 12.00-12.30


#P15: IWMW 2016: Conclusions by Brian Kelly. Thursday 23 June 2016 from 12.30-12.45

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Reflections on #IWMW16: The Talks

Posted by Brian Kelly on 27 Sep 2016

About IWMW 2016

IWMW 2016 logoIWMW 2016, the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop, took place at Liverpool John Moores University on 21-23 June. This is the first of a number of posts which provides the event organiser’s perspective of the event.

For those who are unfamiliar with the event, the IWMW series was launched in 1997 to support members of institutional web management teams, to ensure that they are kept up-to-date with technological developments, could learn from the approaches to management of large-scale web services from others across the higher education community and develop and strengthen professional networks with others in the community.

As described in a post on Reflections on #IWMW14 the event has been undergoing a transformation in recent years: in 2014, after 17 years of JISC support for an event which was delivered by UKOLN, the event was run jointly by myself (Brian Kelly, the founder of the event) and JISC Netskills. However due to the closure of JISC Netskills it was not possible to continue the collaboration so last year I had responsibility for organising the event. Following the success of last year’s event, this year’s event was enlarged, with advice on the theme for the event and suggested specific topics and speakers being provided by the IWMW 2016 advisory group.

The theme of this year’s event was “Understanding Users; Managing Change; Delivering Services“: an idea which emerged during the Advisory Group discussions and which, I feel, nicely summarises the work of those with responsibilities for managing institutional web services and related digital channels. Several of the talks at the event directly addressed the event theme and these are highlighted in the following summary of the event, together with details of additional sessions which did not directly relate to the main theme.

The Plenary Sessions

Understanding Users

An Introduction to IWMW 2016

IWMW 2016: statisticsIn the opening talk in which I provided an Introduction to IWMW 2016, I outlined the theme for this year’s event and explained why it was appropriate to use the theme of “Understanding Users” for the introduction talk itself. (Note the slides used in the talk are available on Slideshare and embedded at the end of this blog post).

The final count for the numbers of participants at IWMW 2016 was 140. Over 50 (37%) of those who answered the question were attending their first IWMW event, with a further 32 (26%) having attended only 1 or 2 previous events and 21 (17%) having attended 3-5 previous events. Of the remaining 16%, 12 (10%) had attended 6-10 and 8 (6%) over 11 of the previous events.

It seems that the event has been successful in attracting a new audience of those who are involved in institutional web management activities, but what of the make-up of the speakers and workshop facilitators? There were 29 speakers in the initial programme, although this increased to 34 after including details of the panelists in the panel session held on the final day. Of this total 9 (29%) were female. The proportion of female speakers at this year’s event is slightly larger than the average over all 20 IWMW events (24%) – but it would be good to see this proportion increased further at future events.

Of the 140 delegates at this year’s event 114 (81%) worked at a higher educational institution and 4 (3%) at a related HE agency. There were 18 delegates (13%) who worked for commercial companies with 3 delegates (2%) involved in the organisation of the event.

Requirements Are Hypotheses: How Lean UX Can Help You Develop Better Products / Skin Deep: Using Cosmetic Improvement to Drive Real Change

The opening talk on “Requirements Are Hypotheses: How Lean UX Can Help You Develop Better Products” at IWMW 2016 was given by Neil Allison, University of Edinburgh. A summary of the talk has been published on the IWMW 2016 blog. Comments on the talk included:

Neil Allison’s talks are often very valuable, bringing a much needed UX perspective that is sometimes missing from HE web managers’ thinking. There was a danger that this talk would cover the same ground as some of his previous talks, but this was largely avoided.

  • I always enjoy Neil’s talks. He has a gentle, laid-back approach which I find soothing and enjoyable. Some useful insights, thank you.
  • How it should be done – memorable slides
  • This was really helpful in identifying very useful approaches to gathering requirements. I really like ‘requirements are assumptions’!
  • Plenty to go away and do – which I like

The second talk in the opening session entitled “Skin Deep: Using Cosmetic Improvement to Drive Real Change” was given by Gareth Edwards, University of Greenwich. A summary of the talk has been published on the IWMW 2016 blog. Comments on the talk included:

  • Really nice seeing these types of case study talks. Really liked that is focused on what didn’t work as well as well as what did.
  • Really an excellent talk.
  • One of the great things was Gareth’s honesty about the project

Managing Change

The session on “Managing Change” launched the second day of the event and featured three talks: Rob van Tol, Precedent opened the session with a talk on “Managing Change: Leading Horses to Water“, followed by Richard Prowse, University of Bath on “Building a New University Website – an Agile Content Case Study” and Gareth Saunders, University of St Andrews on “Establishing Digital at the Heart of the University“.

Rob van Tol gave the first of two sponsored talks at the event. Comments on this talk included:

  • Very interesting to hear about the way different universities have approached change. Rob’s a great speaker.
  • Took a while for me to get into this but as the talk developed I could really see how wide was the scope of different approaches for different Universities and different projects. Actually very interesting.
  • Good overview of the various approaches universities have taken toward the digital challenge, all delivered in Rob’s inimitable  

Richard Prowse has been a regular speaker and workshop facilitator at recent IWMW events. Comments on this talk included:

  • Always love listening to Rich and what’s going on at Bath. They seem to consistently be the ones that we look to for advancing our working practices. So it’s always a pleasure to learn more.
  • Another excellent presenter. It’s been great to follow Bath’s journey. I did find myself intrigued by some of the examples; what to Rich is ‘content work’ seems to me to fall into the category mentioned by Claire Gibbons of ‘just getting on with it’ albeit Bath approach with a rigour and skillset which is commendable.
  • Great story, great insight and honesty. Example of what’s great about IWMW. Always look forward to experiences from Bath staff.
  • Really great! Lots to think about. Definitely applicable to us.
  • Very interesting. Also a good honest presentation.
  • It is always fascinating to hear what is going on at the University of Bath. They are doing great work, and I appreciate the opportunity they give us in sharing their working methods
  • Lovely presentation that was practical, honest and very human. One of my favourite presentations of the conference.

Gareth Saunders has also been a regular participant at IWMW events. Comments on his talk included:

  • Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Considering the pain and suffering that St Andrews have been through, it was wonderful hearing how well they were doing. A rival to Bath definitely in the making for leading the way I think.
  • The second time I’ve seen this talk and just as engaging. Lovely to see St Andrews making progress.
  • I enjoyed Gareth laying bare the madness of multiple priorities and how they are trying to escape that. Convinced me that processes are so important, and structures should support them.

Delivering Services

The theme of “Delivering Services” took place before lunch on the second day and featured three talks: Building a digital team (almost) from scratch by Duncan Stephen, SRUC; Prototyping the Digital University by Anja Hazebroek, University of Hull and Chris Scott, Headscape and 100 to 1(ish) – Unifying a Sprawling Web Estate by Richard West, Jisc.

Duncan Stephen, SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) was a first-time speaker at an IWMW event. Comments on his talk included:

  • Useful insight and bounced nicely off Gareth’s preceding presentation.
  • Highlighted the difficulties faced by smaller web teams and situations where one person has many hats.
  • Interesting hearing how smaller institutions are fairing and the struggles they have. Rather funny as well.
  • Duncan won the best image with the ‘wtf’ and his talk was very well delivered and engaging. Would have liked a bit about what the new UX patterns they are coming up with are, but again that is my tactical bias coming up and there probably wasn’t time.

Anja Hazebroek, University of Hull and Chris Scott, Headscape gave a double-act. Comments on this talk included:

  • I think this was preaching to the choir in that most of us would want to prototype. What was useful was the codification of some of the aspects and techniques. The 4x mobile screenshot before and after image was incredibly powerful.
  • Really useful stuff. Exactly what we need to be thinking about over the next few months.
  • Some good stuff here about prototyping but also the experience of working with an agency.
  • Great session that emphasized the need for the universities to invest in understanding their customers/consumers better, and demonstrated the value that agencies can bring to the table, given the chance.

Richard West, Jisc was another first-time speaker at a IWMW event. Comments on his talk included:

  • I liked the mentioning of lots of specific tools and activities, and they managed to make the two speaker thing work well. Especially liked ‘shelter the team’
  • I think this is something we’re all struggling with, so it’s always worth hearing how others do it.
  • A great case study of some interesting work. I think the sort of project discussed here is very relevant to a lot of HE web managers, so I will take a careful look at my slides and notes and see if there are approaches worth adopting.

Web Analytics and Beyond

The session on “Web Analytics and Beyond” took place after lunch on the second day and featured a single speaker: Martin Hawksey, ALT, on “Google Analytics of Things“. Comments on this talk included:

  • Martin’s usual brain dump of ideas and possibilities. Sparked a number of lines of thought for me. Would be amazing to get Martin in touch with someone now ahead of next year’s event in order for someone who is less of a google ninja to be able to present a case-study based on Martin’s insight / support.
  • Wow, hadn’t known about half this stuff and the power. I think it could have benefited from giving more specific ideas of real life applications rather than just doing cool things.
  • Some excellent ideas here! More like this would be great.
  • Felt that tons of people found this a eye opening and thought provoking glimpse of analytics. Really enjoy talks that let us speculate and dream a little.

Beyond the Institution

The third day began with talks on the theme of “Beyond the Institution” featuring speakers who worked for organisations which were not higher educational institutions but worked closely with the HE sector: It’s Time to Get Personal by Piero Tintori, TERMINALFOUR; Working With External Partners by Mandy Phillips (Liverpool John Moores University) and Mark Simpson (Mando) and Right Here; Right Now: Providing the Information your Students Need and your Regulator Requires by Marieke Guy, QAA.

Piero Tintori gave the second sponsored talk. Comments on this talk included:

  • Thought Piero hit the right balance between promoting his product and being honest about personalisation. This was probably the most valuable presentation of the conference for me
  • Surprisingly good, and Piero managed to avoid turning it into too obvious a sales pitch. Personalisation and matters such as remarketing are areas I have not worked in much, so there were some valuable lessons here. We have been talking about remarketing here, so it is very pertinent. I will once again look carefully at the slides to see what practices I should adopt.
  • Great things to think about, but I can’t help thinking if Uni’s non personalised experiences need so much work that we may be trying to run before we can walk. Done badly we can make terrible experiences, personal. But enjoyed the talk.
  • I thought this talk was fantastic, very interesting, and not an ounce of sales. I was extremely impressed.

Mandy Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University and Mark Simpson, Mando provided a double act on “Working With External Partners“. Comments on this talk included:

  • Great insight into how we can work with external agencies and use analytics to identify what users do, rather than what they say they need. We want to get in touch with Mandy to talk about Sitecore, which is one of the CMS solutions we are considering for Kent.
  • Interesting ideas and approach.
  • Really interesting. Food for thought about the value that working with outside experts can have on the work we do.
  • Good and interesting. Not so relevant to me though personally.
  • Honest, no-nonsense talk about the value that agencies can bring, given the chance. Valuable and insightful.
  • This talk had an interesting dynamic. I was grateful again that this didn’t turn into a sales pitch. However I didn’t really find much relevance to my situation, although I am sure it will have been of use to others who work closely with an agency.
  • Good overview of the strides that can be made by working constructively with partners to fill gaps in provision

Marieke Guy gave a talk on Right Here; Right Now: Providing the Information your Students Need and your Regulator Requires. Comments on this talk included:

  • Interesting and a bit scary! Do we need to do more to cover ourselves as web publishing gatekeepers? I think the answer is yes!
  • Possibly the most informative and useful talk of the whole event. It is clear that there is a lot for us to be on top of, so I will be doing a lot of research to make sure we are up to scratch. I am very grateful for Marieke bringing these issues to our attention.
  • Fab and practical — one of the most practical talks so far.
  • Congratulations to the fair Marieke on making a very dry subject highly engaging and creating a sense of urgency
  • A must-have talk for anyone working in HE right now.
  • Fresh insight into what the CMA means for us.
  • Loved listening to Marieke. Lots of really useful information that is affecting us right now and some useful nuggets of things we can be doing and thinking about.

When Things Go Wrong!

Matt Jukes gave the final plenary talk on “When your website is a ‘national embarrassment’ the only way is up” – a talk which was the highest ranked plenary, with two-thirds of the respondents rating the talk as excellent and the remaining third ranking it as very good! Comments on the talk included:

  • Very good speaker.
  • Very funny talk, Matt was the best speaker of the bunch!
  • A nice final talk that showed everything can benefit from a bit of user focus.
  • Quite an eye-opener.
  • A fantastic final talk usually when people are already thinking of leaving!
  • Very entertaining but also some good learning points. Great way to wind up the presentations!
  • Fantastic, very engaging and a good insight at real issues.
  • Honest, funny, informative. Great perspective on things. Public beta is a great, and brave, idea.
  • My favourite talk, Matt was honest and engaging and his experiences were really useful to hear about.
  • It’s great to hear from a non-HE organisation. I was looking forward to this talk, and it delivered. A fascinating case study.

Learning … and Planning

As has been the case for the past three IWMW events, prior to the concluding reflections on the event a panel chaired by Mike McConnell were invited to address a number of issues. The following comments were made about the panel session:

  • One of the most valuable sessions of the conference. A great way to think about the future and ‘big picture’ issues. It might be nice to get some more interactivity, such as inviting delegates to comment on the topics (as opposed to asking questions to the experts on stage) and perhaps even incorporating some comments from remote viewers.
  • The panel done well!
  • I may have missed the opportunity to feed in questions before the panel session. The questions were useful, and the 6 P’s on the slide hit just the right note!
  • Highlight from the session, which I’ve already used in a meeting was Mandy’s worry that Uni’s treat CMA like Health and Safety and become too risk averse about selling courses.
  • This could have benefitted from the Twitter wall being back up to get audience reaction and participation. Mike is always excellent at this and the questions were good. Felt the panelists, although good, said much the same kind of thing. If I’m honest, I felt there was a bit of a push of agendas rather than true comment.
  • The panel session was well-chaired and the input from the panel was thoughtful and well-delivered. However, they were pretty much in violent agreement both with each other and the audience which does not make the most of this format.

The Parallel Sessions

In addition to the plenary talks and panel session there were also eight workshop sessions which lasted for 90 minutes (on Migrating People to a New CMS; Digital Fire Fighting; Leadership 101 – Top Tips for Steering the Ship Through the Seas of Change; 10 Years of a Web Team of One: the Lessons Learnt; Rich Media Content: How to Maximise User Impact; Real-world Natural Language Processing for Higher Education; Design a Content Strategy to Optimise Engagement With International Users and Debunking the Myths of WordPress & External Hosting) and eight master classes which lasted for 2 hours 45 minutes (on Agile Usability Testing; Future-proof Your Content Using an Adaptive Approach; IWMW In Miniature; Corporate Use of Social Media; Google Analytics Workout; Planning Digital Transformation for Old Skool Universities; Digital Governance: Tools and Practices for Managing the Content Chaos and Writing Well for the Web).

Conclusions

This is the first of a number of posts about IWMW 2016. This initial post has summarised the content of the event. Subsequent posts will describe participants’ thoughts on the event (what they liked and the areas they felt could be improved); the role of the sponsors in supporting the event; the technological infrastructure used to support the event and, perhaps most importantly, plans for IWMNW 2017.

As mentioned earlier the slides used in the opening talk are available on Slideshare and embedded below.

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