2019 WebFirst Conference

Make plans to attend the 2019 WebFirst Conference on Thursday, July 11, at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. All are welcome including university faculty, staff, students and general public. The conference is FREE to all. Box lunches from Green Submarine can be pre-purchased for $10/person.

The WebFirst Conference focuses on digital design, user experience and accessibility including support of the University of Arkansas’ Electronic Information Policy (EIT). Our goal is to offer content contributors an affordable yet focused experience providing them with tools and insight to improve their office or department’s digital presence.

The conference location is the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development. Parking will be at the Harmon Avenue Garage with Metered Parking Available on levels 8-9 for $1.75/hour.



Schedule is subject to change.

8:00 AM - 8:50 AM
Registration & Breakfast (103)
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM
Web Manager: Redesign Timelines: (203) Setting Realistic Expectations, Ali Williams, Red Rooster Design

Setting Realistic Redesign Timelines presentation slides

Creating a successful website takes time. Many institutions want their projects done yesterday and timeline expectations can make or break a website redesign. In this presentation, we will give you a better understanding of the process and how long each step takes, including the planning, design, development, and implementation into OU campus.

Ali Williams of Red Rooster Designs.Ali specializes in web design and development and has 20 years of experience designing websites specifically for higher education institutions. Prior to joining Red Rooster Design, she was the webmaster for the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas where she redesigned the college website using OU Campus as the content management system. She participated in the process of web governance and worked directly with OmniUpdate to build their templates. This gives her a unique perspective having been involved in the process from both the OmniUpdate client and now the design partner perspective.

Digital Designer: (111) Building and Using Chatbots, Karen Watts, Division of Agriculture

Building_and_Using_Chatbots presentation slides

In this presentation, we will look at how your department could utilize chatbot technology to answer basic student questions online or direct a visitor to the right resources. We will explore a brief history of chatbots and dive into ways your team could utilize them as Tier-1 support operatives to reduce the workload for staff or create a customer service queue. Finally, I will offer chatbot development solutions and engage in a debate on the viability of chatbots as resources for universities and if they truly would have a permanent home within a university IT department.

Karen Watts, digital and innovation manager for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.Karen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Science and Data Science Graduate Certificate from University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is currently working on a Master of Science in Information Science. After graduating with her master’s degree in Information Science in December 2019, Karen plans to continue her education and earn her Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science. She has two young sons and enjoys reading and researching in her spare time.



Campus Communicator: (202) Maximizing Success During All In for Arkansas Giving Day, Merin Macechko, Annual Fund

All In For Arkansas presentation slides

The U of A’s annual All In for Arkansas giving day unites the Razorback family on campus and around the world for 1,871 minutes of fun and philanthropy. This year’s record-breaking event on April 3-4, 2019 raised more than $465,123 for 153 different funds across campus, from scholarships and study abroad to digitization projects and campus life programs. Want to get some of those gifts for your unit and be part of the #Allin4Arkansas buzz on social media? Join Merin Macechko from the Office of Annual Giving for tools, tips and tricks to maximize your group’s future giving day success. Topics include what fundraising projects are a good fit, the power of storytelling to inspire action, amplifying your message through a team of ambassadors, and raising more money through giving day challenges.

Merin Maecechko of the University of Arkansas Annual Fund.Merin Macechko joined the University of Arkansas annual giving team in 2009, bringing a background in non-profit work and donor relations. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and currently channels that passion into the university’s giving day and crowdfunding efforts. Merin is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, but grew up in Fayetteville calling the Hogs and is a proud Life Member of the Arkansas Alumni Association. She and her husband, Michael, have two adorable kiddos: Henry (6) and Anna Kate (2 ½).

Content Organizer: (117) What's to Come at OmniUpdate, Jeremy Rex, OMNI Update

See what’s ahead for the next year at OmniUpdate from the new user interface to image presets.

Jeremy Rex, sales director for OmniUpdateJeremy Rex is the sales director for OmniUpdate

10:00 AM - 10:50 AM
Web Manager: (203) Managing Your WordPress Sites, Hudson Peters, Rome Hernandez Morgan, Slylar Peters, IT Services

WordPress presentation slides

WordPress is a user-friendly and flexible platform, whether you’re building your first website and trying to keep it simple, or you’re a web development pro with big ambitions. Learn some best practices for WordPress, and learn about the services and support the university has to offer WordPress users.

Hudson Peters, Rome Hernandez Morgan, Skylar Baley The WordPress Team is a team of students who provide design, development and support for the U of A’s WordPress system. The students come frome a variety of backgrounds, including computer science, graphic design and communication fields.

Digital Designer: (111) Web Design 101, Laura Fickett, University Relations

Web Design 101 presentation slides

Are you new to web design or want to learn how to do it better? Then this workshop is for you! Laura Fickett discusses the fundamentals of web design and user experience. Learn basic design principals, the common languages of the web, commonly used vocabulary and how to apply the design principles to website design so you can create an engaging experience for users. She will also discuss important considerations for beginning a web design project.

Laura Fickett, web designer for University Relations.Laura Fickett is a web designer and user experience specialist with a background in branding and cross-platform visual communication. Her nerd passions are backpacking, farm to table cooking, ukulele strumming and dogs.

Campus Communicator: (202) The Power of the Middle, Amy Schlesing, University Relations

The Power of the Middle presentation slides

Traditional media isn’t reaching the audiences it once did and in this quickly evolving digital landscape, everyone with a smartphone or computer has a voice and a platform from which to broadcast. Social media feeds, blogs, websites, emails and traditional media are all screaming for people’s attention. So how do we get our story heard through all of the noise? There is power in the middle, reaching everyday audiences with stories and engaging content that build connections and show the value of what we do here at the University of Arkansas.

Amy Schlesing, University RelationsAmy Schlesing is the executive director of strategic communications for the university and part of the University Relations team. The strategic communications team includes university social media, development communications, research communications, media relations, executive and academic communications. Amy is a graduate of the U of A and has more than 24 years of experience in journalism, public policy, public relations and strategic communications.

Content Organizer: (117) Kaltura, Chris Bray & Mike Duncan, IT Services

Kaltura presentation slides

Kaltura offers video management and creation tools that can be used in Blackboard Learn, video.uark.edu, and CampusPress sites. From flipped classrooms to live streaming broadcasts, Kaltura powers the latest trends in education. Faculty, staff, and students can easily create, upload, edit, manage, publish, discover and deliver high quality video to any device, live or on demand. Learn how Kaltura can be used in your electronic publications and websites.


Chris Bray, Blackboard Administrator, University of ArkansasChris Bray – Blackboard Administrator, Blackboard MVP




Mike Duncan, ITS, University of ArkansasMike Duncan – Academic Technology Specialist – Video & Lecture Capture

11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
Web Manager: (203) Research Driven Department Landing Pages, Micayla Blair, Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences

Research Driven Pages presentation slides

Are you interested in a new look for your website’s homepage? Developing a new homepage doesn’t have to be a daunting task and data is the answer to understanding the behavior and needs of your audience. This presentation will provide instruction, resources and examples on how to use analytics to create an accessible, dynamic and user-friendly landing page.

Micayla Blair, Bumpers College, University of ArkansasMicayla Blair is a web content and communication strategist with experience working in higher education institutions. She serves as Associate Director of Web Communications for the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

Digital Designer: (111) OUCampus Components, Michael Stoker, Marketing and Communications, Arkansas Tech University

Components presentation slides

Learn how to create easy components from existing content on your webpages and how to best use components.

Michael Stoker is the senior web developer at Arkansas Tech UniversityMichael Stoker is the senior web developer at Arkansas Tech University. Michael has worked at Arkansas Tech since 2005 and holds a BA in Art with an emphasis in architectural studies from Rhodes College.

Campus Communicator: (202) Navigating Campus Collaboration, Olivia Chivers, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Campus Collaboration presentation slides

Amid the landscape of higher education, interdisciplinary collaboration is often a top goal – in fact at the U of A, it’s even one of the Chancellor’s Guiding Priorities! However, learning how to navigate through a project that requires multiple approval processes, has several main points of contact, and might even include off-campus partners, while still executing the project in an organized, timely and professional manner poses notable challenges. In this discussion, we’ll learn about tips, tools, charts and best practices that can help keep everyone on track. You’ll learn about the role a communications project manager can play in this environment, and also how to execute these practices with your current team capacity.

Olivia Chivers is the communications project manager for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.Olivia Chivers is the communications project manager for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She is responsible for the intake and management of communication and web projects within the college and also serves as the college’s social media manager. Her background is in public relations, communications and digital marketing, specifically client campaign management.

Content Organizer: (117) New JADU Forms, Chris Nixon & Kelly Bostick, University Relations

Jadu Forms presentation slides

Get a glimpse of what the new JADU forms can do for you. Gain insight on how you can combine multiple forms into one, how to reuse form content and what you should and should not ask on a form.

Chris Nixon is the director of digital design and development for university relations at the University of ArkansasChris Nixon is the director of digital design and development for university relations at the University of Arkansas. He has been with the university over twenty years, and is responsible for managing the universities digital presence. He has volunteered as a consultant to the City of Fayetteville and spent six years on the Board of Directors for the Higher Education Web Developers Association.

Kelly Bostick, assistant directory of training and support, university relations, University of Arkansas.Kelly Bostick has worked in higher education for more than 10 years and has worked with university websites and content for most of that including various CMS tools. She is now the web trainer for university relations at University of Arkansas where she trains campus faculty, staff and students on web and digital content.

11:50 AM - 1:15 PM
Lunch (103)
Box lunch on site or lunch off site on your own.
Web Manager: (203) Snippets, Assets and Components, Kelly Bostick, University Relations

Assets Snippets and Components presentation slides

Designing content has never been so easy. Learn how to utilize these OU tools to produce engaging content with just a few clicks. We will cover how and when to use snippets, assets and the all new components to make your sites dynamic, interesting, accessible and user friendly.

Kelly Bostick, assistant directory of training and support, university relations, University of Arkansas.Kelly Bostick is the assistant director of training and support for digital design and development at university relations. She has more than 10 years of content management experience.

Digital Designer: (111) Design Thinking Workshop, John Dailey, University Relations

Design Thinking Works presentation slides

The term “design thinking” refers to a method of problem solving in an iterative, collaborative, and empathetic way. It is about big ideas, not specific features. In this workshop, I’ll introduce you to the core principles of design thinking and the iterative, 7-step process. Along the way, I will highlight certain aspects of design thinking that you will be able to apply immediately to every business process and problem, no matter how large or small. We will conclude by using design thinking in a hands-on exercise to explore a web design problem.

John C. Dailey, Ph.D. is the University of Arkansas’s Content Strategist.John C. Dailey, Ph.D. is the University of Arkansas’s Content Strategist. He has been involved in professional media design for over 30 years, from his early days in television production to more recent years teaching communication design and digital storytelling. Dailey’s career has been focused on adapting, implementing, and teaching digital media design through each successive generation of technology. Dailey is a charter member of the Usability Professionals Association’s Indiana Chapter (now UXPA) and a member of Interaction Design Association (IxD). He is interested in the design of emerging media environments which communicate in interesting yet comfortable ways. His creative interests include: media interaction design, digital storytelling, and natural light photography.


Campus Communicator: (202) Social Media Workshop, Ramona Collins, University Relations

Social Media presentation slides

Learn how to plan and execute a social media marketing campaign for your department as well as basic social media tips.

Ramona Collins is the Social Media and Digital Communications Manager for University Relations at the University of Arkansas.Ramona Collins is the Social Media and Digital Communications Manager for University Relations at the University of Arkansas.


Content Organizers: (117) Microsoft Teams and VOIP, Beverly Edens, IT Services

Microsoft Teams and VOIP presentation slides 

Looking for an easier way to collaborate with your colleagues? Microsoft Teams and VOIP can help you do that. Find was to utilize these tools to their full potential.

Beverly Edens is from the Application Support, Development and Administration team in IT Services.Beverly Edens is from the Application Support, Development and Administration team in IT Services. Our team specializes in all things Office 365, training, end user support and professional development.


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