In mid-October, several Missouri State staff attended the HighEdWeb 2016 Annual Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. The conference offered 70+ sessions, a couple keynotes and dynamic networking opportunities with higher education web professionals from across the U.S. and several other countries.
Our favorite sessions
We learned a lot, and below are what we found to be the best of the conference:
Recommendation from Brian Heaton
Rob Carr (@) confirmed many of the best practices we advocate:
- Everyone is responsible, from project managers to designers to writers and coders.
- “Bake accessibility in at the outset!”
- Improve accessibility when you make changes.
- Evaluate low work, high impact areas.
Recommendation from Chris Austin
Justin Gatewood (@lightjump) provided a comprehensive presentation about the importance of accessibility as well as how to add accessibility checks within a typical web development workflow. Justin’s thoughtful use of contemporary cultural examples paired with straightforward best practices turned an often cumbersome and overlooked aspect of web development into an approachable and meaningful part of how a developer should code for the web.
Recommendation from Erika Brame
Michael Fienan (@fienan) showcased how Tag Manager can change the way we as a team track analytics. He shared how using this will allow us to dig deeper into analytics and look past some of the vanity analytics we report on. One of the biggest takeaways I pulled from the discussion was how we could implement Tag Manager on a developmental level, “behind the scenes,” so lay people like myself could then easily create tags on every page of our website. This way you don’t have to pull in a developer or designer each time you want to track an event or campaign. This was extremely useful when looking at how we as a whole campus community can track the projects we produce and report more efficiently.
Recommendation from Philip Bowles
Many web attacks on higher education websites aren’t necessarily engineered toward compromising sensitive data; many are simply trying to gain exploitative access to the abundance of hardware, bandwidth and whitelisted IPs that colleges and universities enjoy. In any case, while this session was primarily focused on securing WordPress installations, Paul Gilzow’s (@gilzow) approach of applying as many big and small barriers as possible between a website and an attacker was inspiring. As he put it, we must successfully defend against attacks 100% of the time, but an attacker only has to succeed once.
Recommendation from Grayson Gordon
Melissa Dix (@akamelissa) and Bill Mortimer returned again this year and shared there unusual and bleeding-edge marketing campaigns and how they continue to build on last year’s 33% increase in recruitment statistics.
Recommendation from Sara Clark
Dave Cameron (@DaveCameron) explained how to share HUMAN: Honest, Unafraid, Mindful, Active and Nice. Following these general principles on social media (either as a brand or an individual) can improve your posts and foster connections.