Haggis, Tatties and Neeps

Last week I had the pleasure of flying up to Edinburgh for the Institutional Web Managers Workshop 2012. This was the first time I had been and I was looking forward to seeing how my counterparts managed their websites and teams at other universities. The venue and catering facilities at Edinburgh University were top notch, which made it much easier to concentate on the seminars and plenary talks which all seemed to have one overriding theme...Responsive design!

I was very pleased to hear that we're ahead of the curve on this one and that our website is on a very select list of seven HE sites which all go some way to being responsive. 'Responsive' is basically where a website resizes itself depending on the size of the browser in which it is being viewed - wheter it be mobile, tablet or desktop. One presenter went as far to say that this will be the standard for all websites in the future, and with our personal  usage statistics showing a sharp increase in mobile visits it looks like this will definitely be the case. Some even thought that in the future we may be designing for mobile first!

There was also much food for thought around having a content strategy ("Content is data. Store it. Catalog it. Share it. Present it visually. And re-use it"), dealing with social media ("can we justify our website in an era of social media?"), app development ("Apps are for tasks. The web is for content") and how to manage content management systems. I had some very interesting talks with other universities who are also using Squiz Matrix and made plenty of notes for future developments.

The main message was that it's important we are constantly developing, looking at our statistics to inform our next direction and, most importantly, making sure we have quality content.

All in all, a great three days and a much longer 'to do' list...!
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