We saw really strong attendance at the Summer WebFest. Thanks for coming! Here's a recap of the presenations for your reference.
Theme: Developing a “Top Tasks” Mentality
Presentation 1. What our research shows about website menus
Joe Hadfield, University Communications
Top tasks vs tiny tasks
New students feel like it’s hard to find things on BYU websites. Often what they are looking for is buried in long menus. The “tiny tasks” that we add to our sites over time tend to obscure users “top tasks,” hiding them in plain sight.
Two parts to mobile experience
Having a responsive page is only the first step toward good user experience on mobile. For many of our sites, it’s time to streamline the menu so that top tasks are offered more prominently.
Cater to newcomers on home pages
Traffic to organizational home pages is declining. The increasing tendency to “just Google it” bypasses home pages and sends traffic directly to interior pages. Returning users are equipped with the right vocabulary to effectively “Google it.” So home pages should take special care of newcomers, the audience that is more dependent on a good home page.
Presentation 2. Getting user feedback
Joann Vogtman, OIT
As the manager of the BYU Mobile App, Joann Vogtmann collects data to drive decisions about the app’s features and design. Here are the tips she shared at the summer WebFest:
- Surveys don’t need to take a lot of time or money. Often you spot what you need to know with the first 8-10 people.
- Before you make decisions that affect students or staff, get their input through open-ended questions.
- Identify hidden stakeholders.
- Use incentives. It’s amazing how much info you can get with $15 of chocolate!
- Use data to drive decisions and support your design decisions.
Presentation 3. Increasing Site Simplicity with Analytics
Connor Widtfeldt, Publications & Graphics
Speeches.byu.edu was redesigned with simplicity in mind, which measurably improved their site performance. Talented student employee Connor Widtfeldt shared things they learned and found useful in the process:
- 56% of traffic comes from the mobile web, and submenus just don’t have much of a place there.
- Site simplification does not equal Loss.
- CrazyEgg is a useful analytics tool with a heatmap, scrollmap and many other insights into user behavior. Plans cost between $9 and $99 per month.
- Alternative analytics platforms include Adobe, Google, OWA and Clicky.
Presentation 4. Conducting card sort exercises
Rob Cook, SAAS
Card sorts help organize your content into categories that make sense to your users. Make a physical card that displays the name of each topic or task. Try not to have more than 30 cards or else it can overwhelm users. Here are three basic approaches:
Open Card Sort: Ask users to organize the pre-populated topics into groups and then come up with names for the groups. This helps generate intuitive category labels and refine the terms you use.
Closed Card Sort: Give users pre-defined topics and categories and ask users to place topics into their natural categories.
Reverse Card Sort: Give users blank cards and some tasks to accomplish. Ask them to complete what’s on the cards and organize them.
These exercises can be done one-on-one or together in a small group, just keep in mind how group dynamics can shape a discussion. Alternatively, you could ask users to do this exercise remotely or in a lab where you can record and track their behavior.
Presentation 5. Three tips for Writing Better Titles
Natalie Ipson, University Communications
Your role is to be an advocate for your reader so write the way you would like to read something!
Skim: Digital audiences are skimming for information. The title and subtitles are what convince someone to read further.
Tip #1: Be Action-Oriented
a. Why are you providing your audience this information? They either need to know or do something.
b. Make your title a call to action the first thing they see. Rarely will the name of your information, event, or product alone be clear enough for your user.
c. Titles that address the reader specifically using “you” or “your” give your reader ownership i.e. “Build Your Class Schedule”
Tip #2. Keep it Simple
a. A title is not the place for complex words and strong visual imagery. Get to the point quickly and use simple language.
b. How to be Concise:
i. Write out one sentence that explains the core of what you’re trying to communicate using as many words as you’d like
ii. Go back and re-write the sentence so it has 10 words or less
iii. Cut any unnecessary words & swap complex language for common words
iv. Re-write with 5 or fewer words
v. Find a happy medium between 5-8 words that still gets your point across
Tip #3: Avoid Jargon
a. Jargon isn’t just abbreviations, be careful of using tech talk
b. Don’t get cheesy: BYU students don’t need or want everything to have a Y-branded name.
c. Click bait over promises and under delivers. Don’t over-hype or use advertise-y language. Authenticity is increasingly significant in today’s digital world. Exclamation points should be rare.
Presentation 6: Selling change to your boss
Joe Hadfield, University Communications
One of the reasons many of us chose the career field we did is that we hate sales. But the truth is that selling is part of our job if we want our ideas to go anywhere. Here are four tips for pitching your boss.
1. Understand his or her big-picture perspective
Your boss is reluctant to let go of drop-down menus? Perhaps instead of rushing into a debate about this specific decision, step back and ask your boss what he or she thinks the overall objective of the website should be. When you first get consensus on objectives, it makes for a smoother discussion of how to achieve that goal.
2. Get good data
Emphasis on good data, because you can get lost wandering through the endless metrics available. Decide in advance what question needs answered, i.e. “What are our users’ top tasks?” Especially at a university, bosses respect ideas that are research-based.
3. Form an alliance
Two benefits come from presenting your idea to a co-worker before the boss. First: You get to practice and refine your pitch. Second: You may pick up a key endorsement of your ideas.
4. Show (don’t just tell) your idea
It’s hard to accept change you can’t see. If you can, create a test site that shows your new approach. If you are short on time or resources, do a quick mockup in Keynote, Powerpoint, Envision, Trello, or sketched on a whiteboard.
Concluding Presentation: Update on Branding Initiative
McKay Christensen, Managing Director of Alumni & External Relations
For the last two years, Alumni & External Relations has done extensive research on BYU’s brand recognition. Last month the President’s Council authorized them to establish brand standards based on that research. For the web, those guidelines will mean that major campus units must adopt the university header/menu and footer developed by the web community. It’s anticipated that the brand guidelines will be published during fall semester.