Managing Institutional Web Services

10:00 am in plenaries, workshops by b.kelly

Doing The Day Job

In addition to a number of specific areas (such as the Mobile Technologies, the Social Web and Linked Data and RDFa, together with the  context of Economic Challenges) which have been summarised on this blog, the IWMW 2010 event will, of course, address the various  mainstream aspects of providing institutional Web services – the day-to-day responsibilities of the various members of Web management teams.

Plenary Talks

Susan Farrell‘s plenary talk has the provocative title of “Are web managers still needed when everyone is a web ‘expert’?“. Susan will point out that “While most senior managers would agree that the web is mission-critical, at a time when budgets are tight it becomes increasingly difficult to persuade them that employing skilled web professionals is vital. With devolved publishing models in many institutions and the increasing use of social networking, senior managers might be forgiven for assuming that managing a website is easy. Surely everyone is a ‘web expert’ now that 74% of the UK population spend an average of 13 hours a week on the web? So are web professionals really needed?“. This talk seems likely to generate much discussion at the event!

The theme of the role of Web team in an era of a new Government with different expectations of the role of public sector organisations will be addressed by in a talk entitled “‘So what do you do exactly?’ In challenging times justifying the roles of the web teams“. In this talk Ranjit Sidhu will ask “Are there lessons that web teams can take take from the for-profit sector to stop what they are doing becoming a vague proposition to those who set the budget? Also, do the web teams need to claw back roles given away freely in the past or would this require a complete change of mindset?”.

Paul Boag will address the economic challenges higher educational institutions are facing in his talk “No money? No matter – Improve your website with next to no cash” in which he will describe how Web managers should go about the processes of understanding the benefits of realigning rather than redesigning; apply practical techniques to simplify their websites; break down complex projects into simple phases; make use of the services provided by third parties and look beyond the website as a way of reaching potential students.

Finally a session entitled Doing the Day Job will provide a number of talks about key services followed by a panel session discussing what a Web manager’s day job is, what it should be and what it shouldn’t be.

Workshop Sessions

The workshop sessions will provide an opportunity to address issues in more depth.

  • The session on “A Little Project Management Can Save a Lot of Fan Cleaning … or (Agile) Project Management for the Web” will explain what project management is and how can it help Web managers, covering issues such as common misapprehensions about project management; nightmare situations when development work goes wrong and explore both agile and traditional approaches to project management.
  • The session on “Usability and User Experience on a Shoestring” will explore how Web teams can ensure that websites are as effective and engaging as they can possible be at a time in which investing resources into usability or user experience (UX) work may be seen as an expensive luxury. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore ways in which user experience methods can be made more cost-effective yet still provide tangible benefits; for example, by adopting low-cost ‘guerilla’ methods for user research and evaluation and adopting a more user-centred philosophy within an organisation.
  • The session on “Taxonomy: Creating structure across content using metadata” will describe how use of a taxonomy in creating structured content allows emergent patterns in content to drive navigation. By using a taxonomy to create novel tags for content it is possible to produce strong navigational effects and use this to encourage investment in metadata in your content.
  • The session on ”Inside the Pantheon: A Dreamweaver framework for managing dynamic content” will describe how using Dreamweaver as a publishing interface may not have been considered for institutions who want to manage their dynamic web content as its traditional focus has been on editing static web pages. At the University of Kent, however, time and resource issues required an intermediate solution to roll out a new branding across the institutional websites. In the process a framework (codenamed Pantheon) was developed for pulling in and managing dynamic content using static pages together will  a series of tools integrated with Dreamweaver to ensure that departments had great flexibility in creating good looking web pages.