Web Services Group team members delivered three presentations at this year's Drupal North conference (read the presentation descriptions and watch the videos below). This year's event also included a half-day Higher Education Summit which provided the opportunity to share lessons and experiences with Drupal teams from other Canadian universities.
Case Study: How & why Drupal powers 900 websites at McGill
Drupal is used extensively at McGill University; a team of 10 manages a platform used by 1,700 active site managers to power 10 million page views per month on the website ranked # 115 in all of Canada by Alexa.
This is achieved via a shared Drupal multisite architecture, automated deployment and provisioning scripts, dedicated and responsive support staff, extensive internal training and documentation efforts, and an Agile workflow. This session covers the project's goals, scope, history, architecture, staffing, user base, planning, training, documentation, and challenges.
Taking it to the next level: Strategies for making good UX a team effort
At McGill University, the amount of effort and emphasis put into UX research for web projects has grown substantially over the past few years. This has resulted in more frequent testing, a growing pool of data and increased involvement in web projects for staff and audience members alike.
The outcome of these exercises have been of direct benefit to the audiences who visit our websites and staff members responsible for building and maintaining them. But who else can benefit from these practices? Are there others who might contribute to the conversation and participate in improving user experiences?
With the understanding that there could be great payoffs in taking a more holistic approach, we’ve tried to involve more than just the usual suspects in our UX research and analysis - developers, product owners and support staff to name a few. Along the way, we’ve encountered a few challenges and some surprising successes, all the while learning from our experiences.
Meta-talk: How to give your first conference presentation, and why you should!
Drupal North encourages talks by people who are new to speaking, and those from under-represented communities. We can’t make software which serves the needs of our entire society without participation from as diverse a group as possible, and presenting at a conference is a great way both to contribute to the Drupal community and to show others that it includes people like you.
Speaking in front of a large group of people for the first time is hard for most people, but since it is a learned skill almost anyone who has the time can master how to do this, and the same is true for structuring technical content in a way that’s accessible and useful for your audience.