IWMW 2010: day one

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Affectionately known as uyimbube (because how else would the acronym be pronounced?), IWMW is the Institutional Web Managers' Workshop, a gathering of web professionals mostly from higher and further education institutions. It's a really useful opportunity to get together with other HE & FE web people and share good practice and new ideas.

This year was the first time I had attended IWMW, and I was interviewed for the official IWMW 10 blog. The IWMW 10 blog is a great resource for finding all the videos, blog posts, slides and session summaries from the conference, so do check it out. Also, don't miss the IWMW 10 photos on Flickr, with some great pictures of Sheffield as well as pictures of conference attendees. I had a great time and met some really interesting people.

Brian Kelly: Opening Comments

The conference kicked off with a talk by Brian Kelly about the changing context of delivering web services in HE and FE. Also up for discussion was the future role of IWMW, which is the premier event for HE web people. He also highlighted the importance of digital preservation, social networking, community and openness, in particular opportunities for sharing ideas and experiences, linked data, freedom of information and the semantic web.

Chris Sexton: The Web in Turbulent Times

Next up was Chris Sexton with a talk entitled The Web in Turbulent Times. Chris is the IT director at Sheffield. She highlighted the potential impact of the HEFCE funding cuts, and what impact they could have on the way we operate, including the possibility of more shared services, which will of course require websites to support that shared functionality. Also, because there are now many online services such as Google Docs and Gmail, students no longer arrive at university asking "where do I get my user account?" -- instead they ask, "Where do I get access to the internet?" Chris also looked at the implications of the Digital Economy Act 2010, which doesn't define if universities are an ISP or a subscriber - ISPs are supposed to monitor people's access to the internet; subscribers can be disconnected on a 3 strikes and you're out basis, so if 3 students got complained against 3 times each, a whole university could lose its internet access. Clearly that's an issue that needs resolving.

Susan Farrell: Are web managers needed when everyone's an expert?

The third talk was by Susan Farrell, and was entitled Are web managers needed when everyone is an expert? The answer is, of course, Yes. She also advocated the need for a professional body for web managers.

Parallel Session: Usability and User Experience on a Shoestring

After the first 3 talks, the conference went into parallel sessions, and I attended Stuart Church's session
Usability and User Experience on a Shoestring, which was an excellent session on how to integrate usability into projects. I was hoping that we would get onto discussing usability in relation to Agile and Scrum, but the discussion went in a different direction. However, I did find out about some really useful tools, like BERTs (Bipolar Emotional Response Tests), Usabilla and Loop11.

Sheffield Campus

endcliffe-villageThe Endcliffe Village campus (where the conference was held) was very pleasant, with a high standard of accommodation, and the IT staff were very helpful; they spent about 15 minutes configuring my laptop for wireless internet access. Thanks guys! I liked the architecture on the Endcliffe campus and took quite a lot of photos of it.

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