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Our workshops at IWMW16 – CMS migration & usability testing

We contributed two workshops to this year’s IWMW conference, sharing our knowledge and experience with web managers from universities across the UK.

This year, the University Website Programme team went en masse – with four attendees and all of us presenting in some form or another, Neil with plenary and workshop sessions and Bruce, Billy and Rachel doing a joint dilemma-based workshop on our experiences of the migration to EdWeb project.

Migrating people to a new CMS – Rachel’s experiences of the workshop

Participants at our CMS migration workshop

One of our workshop participants proposes his approach to a dilemma to the rest of his group.

I will confess to feeling slightly horrified at the thought of having to present at the conference but doing a joint session with Bruce and Billy not only shared the pain but allowed us to give a more complete overview of the migration process we went through here, to encourage participants to think about how our dilemmas relating to the initial planning, support and customer engagement and technical support when managing a major CMS migration project might apply in their own organisations.

The session turned out to be really interesting, particularly as in several areas the group decided on the opposite approach to the ones we took in the project. While we’re still pretty happy that we wouldn’t have fundamentally changed how we did things, it did give us presenters and participants alike, plenty of lively discussion and food for thought.

Session synopsis

Developing a new Content Management System is one thing. Doing it at the same time as migrating content from the old system makes it a rather more challenging undertaking. This workshop will focus on the human side of the project rather than the just the technical aspects of building the CMS.

There will be plenty of opportunity for questions but more importantly room for discussion with a set of dilemmas to ‘solve’, for example: Is the best approach to website migration to start at the bottom and finish with the top level homepage? Do you agree or disagree? How did you or how would you handle your migration? Bring your experience and opinions with you! In the spirit of democracy we’ll take a vote on these and build the perfect migration.

Full details on the migration workshop on IWMW 2016 website


Migrating people from Bruce Darby


People watching a video on a large screen

Conference delegates watching a usability test session during the masterclass

Usability testing masterclass

I ran my masterclass (the organisers’ term, not mine!) over the course of one afternoon at the conference. These sessions were longer than the workshops that Bruce, Rachel and Billy contributed to.

User testing master class was very useful. It’s something I’ve started to be a lot more involved in recently and a got some good tips from this class.

Masterclass participant

In this session, I basically re-ran the open-invite usability service showcase session that I’ve been doing over the past few months. Only this time we looked at the IWMW website, and the experience of gathering basic details and progressing to make a booking.


When you’ve got a wide range of options to improve a system or a website (or indeed a lot of voices calling for a range of features), you need a way to easily and collaboratively identify where to spend your time and effort. What will bring most benefit to most users? What would be the best ROI for your efforts? The session will run through how to set up and execute these research methods and how to quickly analyse the results.

Full details on the usability testing masterclass on the IWMW 2016 website


IWMW 2016 Collaborative usability observation workshop intro from Neil Allison

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