HighEdWeb 2014 Wrap Up

Portland-Old-Town-Sign It’s been 3 years since my last High Ed Web conference, and a lot has changed. This year I attended the 3 events – Welcome Reception: Punch Bowl Social, HighEdWeb AfterDark: Porto Terra, HighEdWeb Big Social Event: World Forestry Center – but I didn’t stay long at any of them. I had more face time with Texas A&M employees this year. I was also producing a vlog everyday in October. After the conference Barbie flew in to Portland, and we took a 3 night vacation around northwest Oregon.

The conference website: http://2014.highedweb.org/

The LINK blog site of the conference: http://link.highedweb.org/category/2014-conference/

I think the most comprehensive wrap up blog came from Karine Joly at collegewebeditor.com: Missed the #heweb14 conference? Check this selection of slides, posts & resources.

One big change was the track names. The new ones are:

  • AIM Applications, Integration and Mobile
  • DPA Development, Programming and Architecture
  • MCS Marketing, Content and Social Strategy
  • MPD Management and Professional Development
  • TIE Technology in Education
  • UAD Usability, Accessibility and Design

Here are the sessions I attended – note the heavy use of AIM track:

  • There Are No Break Points in Your Web Strategy: Going Responsive Without Screwing Everything Up #UAD1
  • Moving to Git-based Version Control with Small Teams #DPA2
  • Node.js + Higher Ed = Awesome! #AIM3
  • Connecting Reusable Disconnected Content: Our CampusData Project #AIM4
  • Automate all the things with Yo, Grunt and Bower #AIM5
  • Beyond the Buildings: A New Generation of Campus Maps #DPA6
  • Agile in higher ed? Yes you Kanban! #MPD7
  • Extreme APIs for a Better Tomorrow #AIM8
  • Putting students first: The uOttawa.ca redesign #UAD9
  • Taking the Web Offline #AIM10
  • Just another bughunt? Tools to improve your site without nuking it from orbit #DPA11
  • Building a room reservation system with a $0 budget #AIM12

Takeaways from #UAD1

Put call-to-action buttons (or emergency alerts) at the top, and keep them in the same place for all devices.

Beware the burger. Don’t just use the icon, add the word “menu.”

Remember that a cell phone is also a phone: click to call service is good to have
also, take advantage of features = enhancement

Dig into analytics and see what mobile is doing differently. That may drive their altered experience.

Subnavigation and breadcrumbs: alot of mobile sites drop them – no one clicked on them for psu.edu.

Takeaways from #DPA2

How Git works (master branch):

  • Working directory on desktop
  • Add these files to staging area
  • Then commit files to local repository
  • Then push files to remote repository

Three phases of going Git:

  • plan
  • execute
  • use


  • step 1: identify remote repository – external or self hosted
  • step 2: select a workflow – centralized, integration manager, feature workflow, others
  • step 3: identify users and roles
  • step 4: identify what files you want to commit – necessary to run website – ignore all others (.gitignore file)


  • step 1: steup hosting
  • step 2: create user account and setup machines
  • step 3: create repositories
  • step 4: implement a workflow
  • step 5: push first commit


  • step 1: commit, commit, commit
  • step 2: evaluate what’s working and what’s not

Takeaways from #AIM3

Look at

Gulp vs Grunt – the jury is still out. Gulp is awesome, but Grunt is stable.

Next year the conference goes back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m not going.

They didn’t announce where 2016 was, but they said it will be “in the south.”

For reference, here is a list of the past 6 years’ conferences:

  • 2014 Portland
  • 2013 Buffalo (Did not go)
  • 2012 Milwaukee (Did not go)
  • 2011 Austin
  • 2010 Cincinnati
  • 2009 Milwaukee