emergency weblog; or: epersonae; or: elaine nelson

in which I write about stuff

mea5: project management

Categories: conference notes, General, hewd 2004

Aimee Lewis, Warner School, URochester
running off her vita, lots of school experience (nearly 100 sites)

asking about who people are in the audience (project mgr, designer, marketing, IT: can I raise my hand on everything?)

looks like this a redesign session. their old site (as of 2 yrs ago) was from 1997! 3 pages (in word) of “quick links” shows old site. mmmm, spinning apple gif.

she was the first web person there ever. had to figure out what to do, what is the scope, who are the key players?

always need research “whether you have six months or two weeks”

creative briefs: research about the school’s identity — is that a branding thing? I want an example!

mission, insight from faculty/staff. sounds like an overall branding process. “what is warner?”

know the audience…narrow it down. she did 45 hours of focus groups! (I’m still doubtful about that in our case. our audiences really are very diverse, and how can we narrow them? should that even be a goal? we have to talk about audiences plural.) realization for them that graduate school is a different kind of student than new undergraduates. (age difference and all that.)

audience profiles; is that like personas? yep. “narratives that you can share with others to make sure you understand the audience.” they had five.

then follows up with user scenarios: paths for audience profiles. or basically, what would your personas do when they get to your site.

competitors: who are your peers? what are they doing? (TCC, Green River, SPSCC, Bates, Clover Park for most students. but what about international students?)

know limits and assets. they had no staff, knowledge, database. but they did have a budget.

get a team: hey, smart hard-working people! they have an ongoing team, huge variety of people, including problem people.

success has to be measurable. (what are our metrics? I should go to that session tomorrow.) cute Dilbert: webbish but not too webbish.

their definition: more applications, new design & easier navigation, sections for audiences, more traffic, up-to-date content, positive feedback, under budget. these are outputs, not outcomes. what would the outcomes be related to this?

need a deadline! hey, that sounds familiar. I’m beginning to think that there’s an amazing amount of native knowledge here among the webbish in education, because almost everybody I’ve talked to has said something about a redesign, and a lot of the activities are similar.

write up a plan: direction/scope, research, schedule, metrics. get sign-off (buy-in?).

asked about wireframes. real big among folks here too. reminds me about Christina Wodke’s (and that guy) presentation at webvisions…problems with wireframes…need to find those notes!

little tiny font on design slide. all focused around working with an external designer, which doesn’t fit for me. I am the woman of many hats!

create more than one design. (that’s what I did early on, and it worked really well.) more focus group stuff; I don’t hear anything about usability testing here.

new design…(http://www.rochester.edu/Warner/) pretty, but uses the evil javascript quick links, not valid, a few little accessibility probs. (missing alt text on some spacers, I think.) a nice design that could use a few touches to make it really spectacular, IMHO.

very good results: doubled site traffic, increase in applications, went from less than 500 pgs content to about 5000, good anecdotal results from focus groups, reduced phone calls. and way under budget.

plan, research, set goals, use what you learn, then evaluate.

maintenance? her & another part-time person, looking at getting contribute. a lot of content came from revised print publications.

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