Jul
26
2018

IWMW 2018 conference write-up

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This July we were joined by colleagues from the LLC and CAHSS web teams at the 2018 IWMW conference at the University of York. In this post, we share our thoughts on the event.

Duncan MacGruer

Why did you decide to attend the conference?

Primarily to assist Lauren with her workshop session promoting the work done on self-service page improvement. Beyond that, to network with other staff in the sector to hear about their challenges (and successes!).

What was the best presentation or session?

There were many very honest and impactful presentations this year. The one I think I will take most from was Jenni Taylor from Cardiff University, who spoke on strategies her team have employed to promote content quality on their site.

Resurrecting the Content King presentation abstract and slides

The road to quality website content is not an easy one, but it is one with demonstrable results. Jenni’s humour and engaging style highlighted some key points, and left me with plenty to think about and take away to implement.

What was the big trend or takeaway point you took from the conference?

I will definitely think more about storytelling. There were great examples of impactful video, audio and writing that set the tone of the message being delivered, or highlight the values of a brand, and that’s not always something that at the front of my thoughts when creating content.

Máire Cox – LLC

Why did you decide to attend the conference?

Colleagues in other parts of the University had attended before and recommended it. I’d also been to the Scottish Web Folk meet-up in May (a regional version of the conference) and found it useful. The programme appealed because of the mix of sessions on offer: a good balance between discussions and practical workshops on web content, development and governance.

What was the best presentation or session?

Alison Kerwin’s (University of York) opening session on ‘things she wished she’d known earlier in her career’ was a real highlight and set the tone for a very open, honest and inclusive conference where people felt able to share failures or challenges, as well as successes.

10 Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier (In My Career) presentation abstract and slides

What was the big trend or takeaway point you took from the conference?

As someone who works primarily on content, I really enjoyed the sessions by Dave Musson and Jenni Taylor. I’m keen to revitalise the research section of our website, and there were good tips from both about using long-form ways of engaging users with research, including podcasts.

Don’t be content with average content (David Musson) presentation abstract and slides

My experience

Why did you decide to attend the conference?

Once again, I was at IWMW to run a workshop, this time on the continuous improvement process we’ve been using in a collaboration project with IS Helpline.

Read my workshop recap: Encouraging self-service at IWMW18

What was the best presentation or session?

As Duncan talked about the greatness that was Jenni Taylor’s content plenary, I’ll mention another favourite of mine, which was Gareth Edward’s (University of Greenwich) presentation on Invisible Labour. Gareth used the term to refer to the small tasks you do to help your users do their work (as opposed to what you need to do to complete your own work).

He gave some great practical tips on how to mitigate the effects from these tasks, such as swapping phone numbers in the office so users don’t get overly attached to the super helpful colleagues (UoE web editors reading this: I’m going to have to be like Rose in Titanic and let you go). Also, Gareth makes the most beautiful slides, so his presentation is definitely worth a look through.

Understanding Invisible Labour presentation abstract and slides

What was the big trend or takeaway point you took from the conference?

The biggest takeaway had nothing to do with the work we do but the people we work with: HE web teams hire the best, most decent, likeable, friendly people.

This year’s conference had a more emotional element to it, with both Alison Kerwin and Andrew Millar sharing very personal experiences of how they dealt with difficult, stressful times in their lives. It reminded me how lucky I feel to work with a great group of supportive, caring individuals, and I realised other HE web teams are also full of people who care about people. That explains why the social side of this conference is so much fun – we’re just really cool people to hang out with.

So if I ever decide to jump ship one day, I know I’ll be leaving one awesome group of people for another. (Just to clarify for my team members reading this, I don’t have any immediate plans to leave you.)

Conference slide decks

You can view the slide decks from this year’s conference on the IWMW SlideShare page.

IWMW SlideShare

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