University Marketing & Communications

October 30, 2013

October Web Council recap

By Mindy Messenger

New CoENV site

Drew Collins showed us the new College of the Environment site that launched in September. He gave us a brief recap of the old site, which was maintained in Dreamweaver, and then took us through their design and build process for the current site. The new site uses WordPress, focuses on timely content, is mobile responsive and better meets the UW brand guidelines. Drew also gave us a preview into their faculty and staff page that will launch later this year and includes professional photos and a dynamic on-page sorting using custom post types.

Microsite branding

Our keynote and special guest was Lauren Hall-Stigerts of Marketing Gal Consulting, who shared tricks and tools to adhere to brand guidelines on our department sites (aka “microsites”) here at the UW. Lauren gave an overview of what constitutes a brand, including how they are an effective way to create an impression and build trust. An example of an authentic brand was Moz and their TAGFEE code–the company’s core values of being transparent, authentic, generous, fun, empathetic and exceptional.

Another key highlight from her presentation was that of “knowing thy audience.” Lauren discussed why it’s important to know who you speak to in all of your communications and who is visiting your website. Knowing why they are interested in your product/services, where they are located, their general age, and what their affinities and interests are will help you speak clearly to them on your site and create a stronger impact and connection. The goal here is to provide relevant and useful information–something that will help create a lasting connection and a return of engagement with that audience.

A list of the sites and tools recommended by Lauren:

  1. Google Brand Impressions to help determine your brand identity
  2. Trello for project management and online collaboration
  3. Basecamp, also for project management and online collaboration
  4. Google Drive for online document storage and collaboration
  5. MailChimp’s Voice and Tone guide as an example of a good site style guide

View a PDF version of her slides: Microsite Branding.

UW Botanic Gardens Washington Park Arboretum interactive map

Tracy Mehlin and David Campbell from the University of Washington Botanical Gardens discussed a new multi-layer, online interactive map of the Washington Park Arboretum scheduled to launch next year.

Tracy started off the presentation by showing us printed versions of the Arboretum map, which are maintained in the complex BG-­Base system that is comprehensive but hard to use. Using a combination of a grid location code from the map (often printed to take to the field) and physical markers, researchers and Arboretum staff can pinpoint the general but not exact location of their collection of living specimens. The maps are not searchable, not easily updated and not available to the public or majority of the UWBG staff.

David then took us through the more technical aspects of the project. With the help of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the UWBG has begun work on better surveying their physical grid and digitizing the information they’ve collected. After combining this information with herbarium and historic print records, they will then have a geo-referenced database of the Arboretum plant collection that they can use for both research and public-facing online applications.

Mobile Minute

Campus map displayed on iPhone

Traffic to the campus map spiked during the first two weeks of classes.Image by Placeit

Gina walked us through Google Analytics for the Campus Map during the first and second weeks of school—view a PDF of her slides. Map traffic jumped the first few days of classes (of course!) and the most popular destinations were buildings where courses are held. Desktop traffic was about 65%, while mobile was about 31% and tablet was about 4%.

Top locations searches for the first two days:

  1. Smith
  2. Loew
  3. Thomson
  4. Condon
  5. Electrical Engineering

Top location searches for the first two weeks:

  1. Smith
  2. Kane
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Bagley
  5. Loew