Inaugural Meeting

Web Advisory Council Meeting – January 30, 2014 @ 3p.m.

Attendees: Shelley Keith, Curtiss Grymala, Pam Lowery, Mark Thaden, Kelly Eury, Brynn Boyer, Amy Alexander

Not in attendance: Anna Billingsley, Louis Martinette, Martha Burtis, George Meadows, Andrew Dolby

Shelley gave an overview of the current state of the web at UMW:

  • a lot of things are working well (example: low homepage bounce rate; increased user tracking; a mobile friendly and goal driven microsite for admissions), BUT we have some work to do
  • site traffic is up, BUT the overall bounce rate is too high, too many broken links and errors, accessibility violations
  • we need consistent training and support for content contributors & site managers
  • we need a consistent content strategy that can increase ROI, improve SEO, and improve user experience
  • Council will be the eyes and the ears for the web team AND campus ambassadors facilitating 2-way communication between campus and the web team.

Shelley and Amy showed mock-ups of new design concepts for the homepage. They are still very much in the draft stages, but they adhere to the brand standards in a way that our current homepage doesn’t. Shelley made clear that a redesign is low priority and is not the driver for any of the needed changes. However, there is a window for bringing the site into brand compliance that has been created by the need to correct some of the technical issues standing in the way of necessary initiatives like mobile improvements and improved accessibility compliance.

We need our content contributors to think in goal-driven and purposeful ways. Mark suggested a more direct approach – start w/ supervisors of those with problematic sites and make it a mandatory “course” rather than making it optional. Pam offered to partner with UREL to hold training sessions, when we identify what the needs are. Pam suggested creating a “certificate” for content contributors who complete the training.

Perhaps we need to change the language around the website to avoid people thinking of “ownership” rather than “stewardship.” That way, any improvement won’t be personal, but rather for the good of the site (and the university) a whole.

ACTION ITEM: meetings will be the last Thursday of each month at 3 p.m.; next meeting is Thursday, Feb. 27 at 3 p.m., location TBD.

ACTION ITEM: identify one thing you like best about the site and one thing that challenges you most about the site. Be ready to discuss with the group at the next meeting.