IWMW 2016 Conference

A couple of weeks ago I attended the 20th annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) Conference, which this year was held in the birth place of The Beetles’ and European capital of culture 2008, Liverpool.

The IWMW conference provides valuable insights into developing HE web presence and describes itself as a ‘unique forum to share best practice, hear about new developments and discuss their relevance with peers’.

The most interesting statistic to come out of my time in the Pool was this: 75% (of prospective students) use the University website or prospectus to make their first and insurance choices (Which? 2015 – Higher education: audit of providers’ website information provision) from Marieke Guy’s  (QAA) plenary titled right here, right now: providing the information your students need and your regulator requires. It acts as further proof of the importance web content on a prospective students’ choice of university.

Another stand out plenary was The Google Analytics of Things, a talk given by Martin Hawksey, from the Association for Learning Technology (ALT). In which he explained Google Analytics’ power to track trips to the bar, sleep patterns, your houses temperature, the amount of times a cat uses his scratching post all in google analytics, see nicomicevli.com for more.

More relevant was his insight into google analytics’ power to use user ID in addition to client ID to more accurately identify a user across all the devices they use to access your site. Although as with all analytics they are only as powerful as the person who is analyzing them.

Personalisation was a key theme that ran through the conference. Terminal four’s Piero Tintori’s plenary, It’s time to get personal, claimed that personalisation can see results as big as 32% increase* on enquiries. But a word of warning was issued – diving into targeted personalisation wouldn’t be recommended if resources to create new content were lacking – governance is key to personalisation success. *Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Interestingly, the key take home messages for me came from outside the plenaries and workshops. Whilst networking with members of digital web teams from across higher education institutes I realised that we all face the same issues – there is no consensus where a digital content team should sit structurally, all HE institutions are dealing with massive stakeholder demand, and the majority are wrestling with managing a sprawling online estate.

It’s good to know that we’re not ‘all the lonely people’ and it was reassuring to have a little help/advice from my (newly acquired) friends! (Sorry, it had to be done!)

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