High Ed Web 2020 (Day 2)

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

The Higher Education Web Professionals association, puts on one of the most insightful conferences around. This year, the 2020 conference is completely online.

Check out my notes from the first day.

Keynote Presenter

Dr. Gabe Willis, Dean of Students at Southeastern Louisiana University

Gutenpocalypse Never: How to Build Accessible Sites in WordPress Using Gutenberg

Kevin Fodness – Director of Software Development – Alley

  • Gutenberg has come a long way since 2018.
  • Use default blocks whenever possible.
  • Info panel can be used to verify heading hierarchy.
  • Create all custom blocks as dynamic blocks.
  • Slides from the presentation

Accessibility group discussion

Rachel Cherry – Moderator

  • Mandating diversity is hard. Using your passion to give them quick wins gets them on board.
  • Having a policy is important, but connecting with people is just as important.
  • Accessibility is a shared responsibility.
  • Remediation is not the answer. You need to talk about fire safety before the building is on fire.
  • They treat PDFs the way we treat video – they have to go through an accessibility process. Specifically, they send them to a service (ableDocs?) to check/fix. Has a cost and takes some time. Makes the user consider how important the PDF is.
  • Other option ask them to take the 4-hour into course about creating accessible PDFs. Remind them that this is just an intro, it may not cover everything they need to do… Might change their mind about PDFs.

The Death of Place: Collaborating With Admissions to Yield the Class of 2024

Andrew Cassel – Social Strategist and Content Producer – Middlebury College

  • Admissions is changing. We need to change
  • Corresponding messages via email, facebook, etc…
  • Things were very different March
    • Still meeting in person
    • Relied heavily on testing and camps tours.
    • Then they went “test” optional!

Empathy and Design Thinking: How Becoming Student-Focused Improved UX, Busted Silos & Built Bridges

Luis Merino – Assistant Director of Digital Experience – Dallas County
Community College District

  • Multiple colleges into one site.
  • In 6 months.
  • Card sorting to create 3 persona profiles.
  • Redid same card sorting for web staff (from the other colleges).
  • Lists of most and least relevant content.
  • Created prototype in Adobe XD.
    • Then iterate.
    • Then user test.
  • Moved from 7 colleges to 1 college with 7 campus locations.

You Only Get One Shot: Optimizing a Homepage for Prospective Student First Impressions

Matt Ryan – UI/UX Designer – Penn State Outreach and Online Education
Helen Clarke Ebert – Director of Digital Strategy and Public Affairs – Carleton College

  • Nothing wrong with the old homepage, but it was getting “old”
  • Studies show:
    • Too much ephemeral content
    • Took photos most important and took it literally. It gave them an immediate impression – they didn’t consider that it changes every week:
      • Photos of just happy students on campus = less into academics.
      • Found fundraising off-putting = is this school struggling?
    • Hate auto-play video. Would actively scroll away.
    • Non-obvious links were ignored.
    • Loved animations and visual clues.
    • Preferred clear menus. Ignored hamburger menus.
    • Hair triggered judgement – anything inauthentic is immediately identified.
  • Concrete claims & numbers were taken as authentic.
  • All put into practice on https://www.carleton.edu/

And My Life Is Kinda Crazy: How RIT Plunged into the World of TikTok

Dave Tyler – Social Media Director – Rochester Institute of Technology

  • What is tiktok? It’s where the internet goes to LOL.
  • 2020 meant a lot of change for tiktok
  • 800M users
  • 52 minutes per day on average.
  • Pair good content with meme.
    • But only in an honest way.
  • Don’t pitch events.
    • Content can be viewed months later.
  • “embrace the happy chaos…”

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