Streets ahead

Our venue for the next two days
It's that time of year again! Last Thursday and Friday the team and I headed down to the Inmarsat Conference Centre in Old Street for for the second ever Squiz and Funnelback European User Summit. This year, was set to be a little bit different as it was spread over two days and I had been asked to give one of the 30min presentations. Thankfully, I had lots to talk about - including our new events calendar.

On arrival we were greeted with pastries and coffee and found it was a great opportunity to network with Squiz's other university clients. The focus of the first day was client stories and it all kicked off with an opening Keynote from Stephen Morgan (Managing Director at Squiz). The first two client stories of the day focussed on Elsevier's new site launch and the corporate setup of the prison service which led them to creating their new intranet. After a short coffee break (which allowed a much needed intake of sugar) it was my turn on the podium...

Me on the podium talking about the
importance of collaboration
As we've been Squiz clients since 2011, my presentation looked at how we rely on them to take on a lot of our development work. I also wanted to give an overview of how best to manage external and internal relationships. To reinforce the former I made reference to this excellent blog post from a few years back. Apparently this prompted a sharp intake of breath from the Squiz staff as they wondered what context I was going to put this in!

I also ensured I had a section on the importance of responsible content which led on to talking about our recent web strategy document and events calendar. Here's my conclusion as Tweeted by Finlay at Squiz:
All in all I thought it went pretty well and the import thing is that I stuck to my allotted time! There also seemed to be a really positive buzz on Twitter. All of the sessions are now online so feel free to check out my performance below:

Squiz Funnelback 2013 European User Summit - University of Bedfordshire from Squiz UK on Vimeo.

The afternoon sessions then continued to contain some very interesting case studies (particularly from our friends and rivals over at Hertfordshire!) and were wrapped up with canapés, drinks and a complimentary bottle of champagne for all presenters (which was a very nice surprise!)

Day two was set to be much more intense as the Squiz web technical consultants took the floor to talk us through some tips, tricks and new developments. The most exciting of these was a move away from Java for the admin interface of Matrix and our CMS now utilising Javascript. We're due this update in December and it's definitely going to improve our user experience. Suffice to say I made copious notes and have compiled a new shopping list of features for our site which we'll get to work on immediately. So, overall two days very well spent!

After these two days of professional development I'm now off to the IDM to begin my diploma in digital marketing. Let's just hope there's room in my head for all of this new information and it doesn't push out vital pin numbers!
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