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Managing and educating content editors - experiences and ideas from the trenches / Public Sector Forums / 10 May 2007

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Patrick H. Lauke: Managing and educating content editors - experiences and ideas from the trenches / Public Sector Forums / 10 May 2007

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Managing and educating content editors - experiences and ideas from the trenches / Public Sector Forums / 10 May 2007

  1. 1. Managing and educating content editors Patrick H. Lauke / Public Sector Forums / 10 May 2007 EXPERIENCES AND IDEAS FROM THE TRENCHES
  2. 2. Who am I?  Web Editor (M&C) at University of Salford 2001  responsible for all outward-facing content  one of the first web-standards UK uni sites  accessibility discourse for last 5-6 years
  3. 3. About Salford A variety of web sites make up the salford.ac.uk domain:  core www  4 faculties  12 schools  9 research institutes  37 research centres  13+ support service  ... dark matter?
  4. 4. How are these sites maintained?  traditionally, one web author per site  no Content Management System  Dreamweaver / Contribute / bespoke admin systems
  5. 5. Role of web author Covers wide spectrum:  technical post  clerical / administrative  academic  “web / marketing officer”
  6. 6. No CMS – a blessing of sorts?  steep initial learning curve  requires technical expertise  helps keep number of authors manageable
  7. 7. Flipside of “technical” nature  (for most part) web authors are “techies”  not writers/editors  don't generate “snappy” marketing copy  “web monkeys” handed documents to put online
  8. 8. First step...knowing who authors are  ISD handle requests for new sites  embedded in request process  keeping track of known authors  ideally don't give access until trained
  9. 9. Requirements for external pages  technical standards (PHP/MySQL/etc)  Corporate Identity  Style Guide  accessibility
  10. 10. Hit them early... New web authors get:  all guideline documents as pack  templates  (if possible) personal meeting
  11. 11. ...hit them often New and existing authors:  staff training sessions  web clinic  yearly “corroboree”
  12. 12. It's not all guidelines Just mandating rules doesn't work (or requires very intense QA) If authors don't understand reasons why, they'll simply try to break them
  13. 13. It's not all guidelines Moving from “what can I get away with” to “what's the best solution”
  14. 14. It's not all guidelines It's about quality, not compliance
  15. 15. How to get authors to follow guidelines? Making sure that they understand them “Buy-in” from web authors
  16. 16. Accessiblity for those who don't care...  Hypothetical, ethical/moral arguments?  Showing actual benefits!  SEO (particularly for internal search engine)  Use analogies that they can understand (e.g. Word)
  17. 17. Make it easy!  few clear and simple rules/tips to follow  WCAG 1.0 (and “upcoming” WCAG 2.0) not aimed at actual human beings  remove guesswork / interpretation  adapt guidelines to different skills and needs
  18. 18. Make it easy! Be realistic! 95% accessibility still better than 0%
  19. 19. Right tools for the right job  Ready-made templates  CMS / admin systems that facilitate, not hinder  WYSIWYG vs WYSIWYM “...don't lead us into temptation...”
  20. 20. Web authors doing their own QA  Checklists and automated validation ... with caution  Giving them screen readers?
  21. 21. Community of practice “the process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate over an extended period to share ideas, find solutions, and build innovations”
  22. 22. Fostering a community of practice  internal mailing list  yearly web “corroboree”  conferences and workshops  “take care of yourselves ... and each other”  create healthy competition
  23. 23. Support, rather than enforcement  meet often  discuss potential issues early  act as lightning rod / scapegoat
  24. 24. ...but enforce when necessary  no formal central QA process  guidelines with actual clout (management “buy- in”)  identifying rogues and dealing with them
  25. 25. Perfect process?  Far from it, but works reasonably well  Majority of top-level sites ok  There's always one...
  26. 26. What about you?

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