Changes coming to the 2013 Web maintenance agreements

Along the lines of my last post, we are going to be making a few changes to the Web maintenance agreements that many units around campus have with the Web department. These agreements create the best of both worlds for the unit and the Web department. They allow a unit to send us a number of updates per month via email, phone, fax (yes, we still get some) and we handle the work. The cost we incur by hiring the content staff is spread out across the campus units which makes it cheap for everyone. The units don’t need to train or have a “Web expert” on hand; for a small fee the units can call on us for expert advice when they need it.

Insights

Over the past year we took a deep look at how units were using their maintenance and discovered a few things:

  1. Some units were not using it at all for content, but requesting slight visual or programming changes
  2. Some units only updated at specific times of the year, and typically went over their limit in those months
  3. Some units used their updates regularly throughout the year

More flexibility

This got us thinking, so we are making the following changes starting in January 2013:

  • Instead of 5, 10, or 15 updates per month we are moving to a bucket of hours for the entire year. This will allow units to use the time when they need it without fear of going over in a given month or leaving updates unused.
  • The hours allotted will no longer be limited to just content updates. Time can be used for training, small template programming changes, formy assistance, and digital signage assistance if the unit has signage.
  • Because the new agreements span beyond content the cost will be going up slightly, but not by much. Agreements will be $50 more than the 2012 prices.

The new agreement structure

  • 36 hours of service for $500/year
  • 48 hours of service for $750/year
  • 60 hours of service for $900/year

By spreading the agreements out across all units we are able to keep the cost very low. We believe this new structure will allow the units to be flexible and get the best Web services available to them.

If your unit doesn’t already have a maintenance agreement and you would like to get one set up, simply email web@wayne.edu.

Refresh Detroit: Demo Night: March 24th, 2011

Do you have a new website, application, design, or cool tool to share with others? Join Refresh Detroit at Quicken Loans in the Compuware building in Downtown Detroit at 6:30pm for our first demo night of 2011, where you can show off your latest creation, or share with others a great application that makes your work easier.

Demo night is a great opportunity to:

  • share your work
  • find out what others have been working on
  • hear how something was built
  • find out why it was built
  • learn about new tools that can improve your work

Each person has five to ten minutes to demo and answer questions. Demo nights are a great way to get to know other Refresh Detroit members. If you’re planning on presenting send us a message to let us know or better yet just post it in the comments section.

Don’t want to demo this time. No problem. Please still come.

Continue reading “Refresh Detroit: Demo Night: March 24th, 2011”

Refresh Detroit Meeting – June 17, 2009 – Demo Night

Do you have a new website, application, design, or cool tool to share with others? Join us at Washtenaw Community College at 6:30pm for our third demo night, where you can show off your latest creation, or share with others a great application that makes your work easier.

Demo night is a great opportunity to:

  • share your work
  • find out what others have been working on
  • hear how something was built
  • find out why it was built
  • learn about new tools that can improve your work

Each person has five to ten minutes to demo and answer questions. Demo nights are a great way to get to know other Refresh Detroit members.

Where: Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan. We will be meeting in Room 101 at the Morris Lawrence Building (map). Plenty of free parking is available adjacent to the building.

When: Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Cost: Free! Open to the public.

Interested in demoing your work? Confirm by commenting below with your name and application/design/tool/product, so we have an idea of how many people will be presenting.

For those who don’t want to demo this time (hopefully you will at the next demo night!), RSVP at Upcoming.org

Do 1,000 Twitter followers matter? No.

Yesterday we reached 1,000 Twitter followers, that might seem like a lot but it isn’t. Just because we have a four figure follower count doesn’t mean we can do anything special. It actually means we have to work harder to provide clear, concise and relevant content.

twitter-slow-growth-2

Slow and steady growth

Our approach with Twitter from the beginning has always been quality. We are not in it for the numbers and we only follow back accounts with a legitimate connection to the university. So far we are at 70% return follow rate which is very good, only 30% of the people we follow do not have a connection to the university.

We block spam accounts who follow us and our goal has always been to increase the stature of the university, not jump on the bandwagon. We are not looking for exponential growth but a good steady supply of advocates.

As we see an almost full saturation of social media by our prospective students it is impossible to ignore that these networks are a necessity to connect and help students make the decision to come to Wayne State University.

Weclome Chris Kassab! Our new Student Developer

We have a new student assistant starting today, Chris Kassab. Chris is a computer science major at Wayne State and he is going to be helping out with back end development for a few of our ongoing internal projects.

Over the past year or so the growth of new projects has been great. Groups have been transitioning their print content to the web, not only saving money but to reach a larger audience. We have been pumping out sites with greater functionality than ever. With that greater functionality comes the need for more brains and hands on deck.

Almost everyone in the web communications department has started out as a student assistant and worked their way up. Even myself started as a student, I was eager, ambitious and anxious to learn something new. I like to think we mold minds, we give opportunities to grow and we take pride in what we do.

You may not see Chris’ work but that is the point, no one ever complained about web pages loading too fast, a rock solid API or a CMS that was expandable and adaptable. He may be writing here soon with updates on his work, subscribe to our feed to get notified.

Getting Around Campus On The Go

iPhone MapWe have begun adding functionality to our Campus Map, which is currently developed in Flash, to be accessible to the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The iPhone cannot view the Flash site so if you wanted to look at or follow the map you were out of luck. With a little iPhone detection we redirect users to: http://campusmap.wayne.edu/iphone/

Instead of getting a flash version of the map we converted it to an SVG image and embedded it. This allows for the fully viewable main campus map to be viewable and scalable without getting blurry. Although it is not the best solution it is a step in the right direction.

What’s Next?

As we continue to support the iPhone and iPod Touch features we will soon release a fully searchable map that includes all our campuses. It will also be able to link to the built in Google Map to pinpoint its location.

As C&IT expands wireless availability on campus the easier it is to get oriented with campus while you are walking through it.

Your Opinion

What would you like to see on the campus map? Are we missing something or is something not working like you expected? Let us know, we would love to hear about it. Just comment on this post.

Refresh Detroit Meeting – March 25 – Transitioning from Print to Web Design

Join us on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 when Noel Jackson of Automattic, Inc. (known for their WordPress and Akismet projects) will discuss the differences between print and web design.

What separates print and web in the design community? What do designers need to know to bridge the gap between print and the web? What constraints do web designers need to understand?

We’re thrilled that Noel will be presenting our first “design-focused” topic at Refresh Detroit!

Noel will discuss:

  • The differences between print and web design.
  • What should you be concerned about, and what should the browser deal with?
  • Pixel perfection: Legend or fallacy?
  • Color profiles, your screen vs. theirs.
  • Variables introduced by machine and human that make web design a unique mix of science and art.

Background

Noel Jackson is an übergeek, designer, and developer. Pulled from the depths of freelance design, he now works for Automattic, Inc. He loves the internet and dreams in HTML quite frequently. A self-proclaimed polymath, Noel was once a secret agent, fashion photographer, and ran a successful post-production studio in NYC.

When not pushing pixels and babbling about regexes, he’s probably listening to music (300 LPs and 250 gigs in all), DJing, or creating something (generative art is a favorite as of late). He lives in Detroit with his beautiful wife Stephanie, a fish named Hiro, and a chinchilla named Elvis.

Where: Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan. We will be meeting in Room 150 at the Morris Lawrence Building (map). Plenty of free parking is available adjacent to the building.

When: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Cost: Free! Open to the public.

RSVP at Upcoming.org

Refresh Detroit Meeting – February 17 – Freelance Legal Issues

Are you a web professional interested in learning more about the legal side of the freelance business? Join Refresh Detroit on February 17, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Wayne State University, for an interactive discussion led by an attorney who has provided web professionals in Michigan with legal services ranging from drafting contracts to organizing their businesses.

They encourage all web developers and business owners to join in the discussion with fellow attendees, so bring any insights or questions you have on the freelance business that you would like to talk about.

  • Where: Wayne State University Law School, 471 W. Palmer Street, Detroit, MI 48202 (directions) Room 2103, The Distance Learning Room. (University map)
  • Date: Tuesday, February 17
  • Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
  • Cost: Free. The event is free, but should you choose to park at Wayne State, the cost is $3.50 for guests.

Topics Include:

  • Incorporation vs. sole proprietorship – What are the liability and taxation issues? What cost is involved? What are articles of incorporation?
  • Proposals, contracts, statement of work (SOW) – What do they mean? Why should web professionals care?
  • Non-compete clauses – Should you sign one? What are your rights?
  • Breach of contract – How can you defend yourself, or collect on damages against you?
  • Whatever issues you would like to talk about. Participation is encouraged!

Our Speaker: Mary Novrocki

Mary Novrocki is the sole attorney and owner of the Law Office of Mary Novrocki, P.L.L.C, in Plymouth Michigan. As a general practitioner of law, Mary has provided web professionals in Michigan with legal services for organizing businesses, contracts, statements of work, and other business related legal issues.

Please comment on the Refresh Detroit Web site if you plan on attending. Thanks!

Upcoming Event: Design Jam III (Ann Arbor, MI)

It’s design jam time again!  The last two browser design jams were a great success, and the events were featured in a Mozilla Labs blog post.

SOCHI and SCSI now bring you the third design jam in our browser redesign series, answering Mozilla’s call for participation.

WHAT: Prototype or create storyboards for your ideas for improving or redesigning Firefox
WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 6-8PM
WHERE: Design Lab 1, Duderstadt Center (North Campus)
RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=33711718121

Please indicate via the Facebook event if you will be attending so that we have an accurate count for ordering pizza.

We will also be having a vote for the best mockup or prototype.  There will be great prizes and recognition for the winning team!

Submissions should be sent to lizblank@umich.edu and must be received by midnight on Thursday November 20th.

More information about the event:

You don’t have to be a Firefox user or an HCI student to attend. Everyone is welcome. Pizza will be provided, as well as a chance at free Firefox t-shirts for anyone in attendance.

Haven’t prototyped before, or looking for an idea to work on?  Check out the latest post on the SOCHI blog for some information about tools available and ideas generated in our previous design jams.

This event is sponsored by Mozilla and SourceForge.

Hope to see you there!
SOCHI and SCSI

Originally Posted: http://uxnet.org/archives/1467

Michigan World Usability Day – Nov 13, 2008

It is all day dedicated to usability, two usability events happening on the same day. The first costs just $25 and includes lunch. The other is free and happens right after the MSU event, both of their details are below,

Getting to the Point: Improving Transportation through Better Design

The focus for World Usability Day 2008 is Transportation. Transportation in its broadest sense means moving products and people. Usability in transportation speaks to the interaction of people and vehicles, the challenges and issues of infrastructure and modes for moving around in our environment.

  • Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $25.00 – lunch included
  • Location: MSU Union Building

Website: Michigan World Usability Day
Registration: Register by Nov 6, 2008

Usability in Your Life and in the Products You Use

How well does your product or website meet your customers’ needs and expectations? Does your product simplify or complicate your client’s workday?

This evening session, open to the general public, will explain this thing called “Usability”. Using a combination of presentations and demonstrations with products ranging from alarm clocks to speeding cars to the high tech hands free voice activated SYNCH that was jointly developed by Ford and Microsoft, attendees will walk away with a clear understanding of the value of designing an excellent, compelling, and safe user experience into products. It will also drive home the point that usability is a rigorous design practice that is applied to much more than just web sites.

Usability in Your Life and in the Products You Use is one of many events around the world on World Usability Day, November 13, features speakers from the worlds of software development and technology integration. This event will equip you with an overview of how to listen to your users and find out what they need. It is perfect for people and companies interested in making products that really work for users.

Speakers come from Ford, Ansys, Menlo Innovations, Tec-Ed, and the UM Transportation Research Institute.

  • Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Cost: FREE – refreshments included
  • Location: Soar Technologies, 3600 Green Ct # 600, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Website: Usability in Your Life and in the Products You Use
Registration: Although this event is free, please RSVP to events@miupa.org to ensure that there are enough food and beverages for everyone.

Map to Soar Technologies
The Michigan UPA is still seeking sponsors for this event.