Will you be our expert?

Paul Boag

Once again,  Paul Boag from Headscape spoke at the Institutional Web Management Workshop, this year in Sheffield.  The plenary talk was titled No Money, No Matter and was generally accepted to be one of the highlights of the conference.  Much of the content Paul has covered separately on his blog and [failed :-)] podcast but the talk tied it together and brought up some new ideas.

You can see Paul’s practice and links to related posts on boagworld.com and the full video is available from Sheffield.

Paul often treads a fine line between great advice and a sales pitch but he always does it with a glint in his eye so we’ll allow it!  Recently, he has been promoting the idea of bringing in external agencies just for big overhauls of the website and instead have an ongoing relationship.  While at Edge Hill we don’t particularly do web design agencies, I wholeheartedly agree that cycles of major redesigns are a bad thing.

Just when you think the talk is going to turn into hard sell for Headscape, Paul turns it around and admits for many Universities money is tight and suggests instead HEIs act as “external experts” for each other.  This is a fantastic idea and I really want to make this happen for us.  Paul suggested monthly meetings with your expert and while I think that might be a little too often, we can see how it goes.

So I’m looking for volunteers to come to Edge Hill (we’re based in Ormskirk, Lancashire in case you didn’t know!) and give us free consultancy!  In return you’ll get as much coffee as you can drink, a sandwich from the SCR and – if you want – I’ll return the favour and “consult” for your HEI.

There’s a few conditions, chiefly I don’t think TPTB would like one of our competitors coming in but other than that I’m open to offers!  If you’re interested, drop me an email on michael.nolan@edgehill.ac.uk.

Update: after posting on JISCmail’s WEBSITE-INFO-MGT list I received a couple of questions about the areas to be covered.  Our team covers design, development and to a large degree content and while we don’t author the majority of information on the site, we do have responsibility for it.  So essentially I’m looking for a general expert – someone who can say “that doesn’t look right” or “have you thought about doing cool thing X using HTML5 there”.

Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Power and I were approached to cover Anthony Doherty’s workshop Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web.  We spent a week working through some ideas then finalised what we were talking about on arrival in Sheffield on Monday afternoon.

After the session, Kirsty Pitkin collared me to record a short piece to camera about what we covered:

[Aside: Bath’s Phil Wilson described this as “best. still. ever.” You can see and hear Phil laughing like a girl in the background of Adrian Tribe’s Take Away video. :-D]

Many thanks to Jeremy Speller from UCL for demonstrating their implementation of campusM and to everyone in the session for taking part in what I hope was an interesting discussion. There was quite a lot of Mobile Apps/Web talk throughout IWMW this year so I was a little worried we’d be repeating what everyone else said but I think it’s important for institutions to have the debate over what approach is best for them, whether that is buying in a native mobile app, deploying a mobile web app framework such as Molly, or building mobile versions of their website.

Finally, to make this post a bit more useful than just things you can find elsewhere, here’s a list of some mobile websites I may have demonstrated:

Additionally, check out the following universities in the iTunes App Store:

  • Stanford (Blackboard)
  • LJMU (campusM)
  • Trent Valley University (iUni)
  • UCL Go! (campusM)
  • UCLan
  • MSU Mobile
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