Searching for Direction: Using a Search-Based Homepage to Direct Users (AIM1)

In the spring of 2015 Xavier University moved to a search-based homepage, with the goal of more efficiently getting users to their desired content. We’ll review the basics of the implementation, how the data is managed, and, most importantly, what we have learned from the actual usage. Do the users even use the search? Does it consistently deliver the results they are looking for? Is this the future?

Your Email Is Bad, and You Should Feel Bad, Too (MCS1)

Admit it: your institution sends millions of emails each year, and you have no idea what they look like. Are they mobile friendly? Are they easy to read? Do they get results? Gasp in horror and start building your to-do list as you see the results of a secret shopping experiment that involved 300 institutions, 2,000 emails, and the mother of all Excel spreadsheets. Using real emails from real universities, you’ll dive into email marketing, explore how it connects to your content, mobile and web strategies, and walk away with checklists and guides that you can use to make immediate improvements at your institution.

Universal Interaction Design: Making It Click for Everyone, Everywhere (UAD2)

Your sites may use responsive templates. You may have tested you content with the plugs-in like Fangs and FireEyes, or even with JAWS. But have you tested your interactions to work with keyboard navigation? On tablets? For visitors with low vision? For visitors with low vision, using keyboard navigation? For visitors with hearing impairments who use tablets? For visitors who want to print what they read? For visitors stationed overseas? In our session we will talk about what we learned from integrating accessibility testing and interaction design, from types of testing to interaction best practices to overall design and development processes.

How to Use Data to Drive Content (MCS3)

When you have a great idea for content, there are two things you can do. The first is to use your experience of creating great content to create the content. The second is to use data to determine what works the best, and how to make it better. Maybe your tweets get more attention in the afternoon. Maybe half of the people who watch your videos leave half way through. This presentation will suggest you still go with what your gut says will work; it will simply show you how to use data to back up your gut.

Data-Driven Design and Digital Marketing Strategy (UAD4)

Thanks to software like Google Analytics, New Relic, Crazy Egg, and others, data about your digital marketing efforts is available in excess. How can you display the information in a way that gives you leverage to act on the relevant data points? How do we use this data to make better design and strategic marketing decisions down the road? In this session we'll discuss successful case studies from the University of Notre Dame on how to take SEO, usability, and goal conversion data and make design decisions, set up A/B experiments, and improve search results to maximize the effectiveness of websites and applications.

Tree Testing for the Win: How to Improve the UX of Your IA with Tree Testing (AIM6)

"Getting to the right page within a website or intranet is the inevitable prerequisite to getting anything done." Jakob Nielson People visit our websites to get stuff done. If they can find what they're looking for quickly and easily, everybody wins. But if our labels are ambiguous, or the hierarchy of our information is illogical and confusing, we risk not following through on the very product or service we are offering. Tree testing (getting people to complete tasks on a text-only version of your website) can tell you exactly where and why people get lost. This engaging presentation will turn your tree-testing skills into a winning formula.

Make the Web Faster: Web Performance Best Practices You Should Be Using Today (DPA7)

Should that script tag go in the head or at the bottom of the body? Do you really need to be using CSS sprites? What triggers a browser reflow and why should you care? How does the new HTTP/2 spec play into all of this? In this session, Shahab will run through the most common mistakes that lead to slower page loads and poor browser performance. You'll learn how the browser actually processes your code, which tools you can use to test your own sites, and what you should be doing to improve page performance immediately. Let's make the (higher ed) web faster!

Little Yellow Boxes: Search is the Content King-Maker (AIM8)

We can all agree that CONTENT is KING ... well, GOOD SEARCH is the KING MAKER. Come see how Vanderbilt uses their Google Search Appliances to make sure their website visitors can always find what they're looking for. Learn how to use GSA collections, front ends, keymatches, synonyms, filters, biasing policies, freshness tuning, and customizing the crawl. If your institution already has a GSA, or is thinking about implementing it, this is a "don't miss" session for you!

Measuring In-Person Recruitment Effectiveness With Social Media (MCS8)

Our Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment department, like all institutions, has multiple interaction points with students before they make the all-important choice of where to attend school in September. We see many students multiple times throughout the fall and winter recruitment seasons and at on-campus events before they accept their offers. So how can we measure the effectiveness of our efforts and get a sense of the sentiment of our prospective students and applicants? Through extensive use of event- and cycle-specific hashtags and enterprise tools, we tag and match students throughout the recruitment and admissions cycle with the ultimate goal – a tweet that they will be a #futureram. We will discuss this pilot project, which has transitioned us away from typical feedback routes such as event surveys, and has allowed us to correlate tweet sentiment and virtual touch points with admission decisions.

Accessibility 101 (UAD9)

In the higher education web design environment, accessibility is paramount. The web team at Tarrant County College endeavored to greatly improve their accessibility by conducting extensive research, and by meeting with disabled users to experience firsthand how they access web content. In this session, Stephen will discuss their testing and research processes, the results, and best practices garnered from this initiative. Learn about a diverse collection of techniques and quick fixes that you can implement on your website immediately. Find out how to improve accessibility in your existing site, how to guide decisions in a redesign, and most importantly, how to guarantee equality of access for all students on your campus.

I Believe I Can See the Future: More Than the Typical Analytics Routine (UAD11)

Getting the metrics is not the hard part. Guessing at what it might mean will get you nowhere fast. Turning numbers into action is what makes the difference between a strong, contributing member of the team and a weak link. By using some simple methods of data analysis, you can go from generating a report to providing real value to your organization. This presentation will discuss examples from higher education and explain how statistical significance is not as daunting as it can sound. We will explore methods such as statistically significant A/B testing, intervention analysis, and time-series forecasting. You will be able to immediately apply techniques to improve your analysis and add value to your institution, and you will learn how this kind of analysis is used to make positive changes within higher education marketing and enrollment.