3.29.2012 Meeting

Facilitator: Nina Modi

Presenting: Chris Walker, Alison May, Josh McKenzie

Note Takers: Jill Brazel


Attendee Department
Charles Kellom African American SA
Claire Kelly MSA
Tony Kirchmeier Off Campus
Mark D'Arienzo Housing
Eric Budzynski Religious Life
Wendy Mathewson Religious Life
Corey Sampsel Greek Life
Lopa Patel Graduate Housing
Susan Cushman Alcohol Resources
Grace Kaufman Dean of Students Office
Josh McKenzie Orientation and Parent Programming
Paul Hubinsky Residential Life
Annaleah Tubbin Residential Life
Alison May Students With Disabilities
Betsy Gill University Career Services
Jeremy Hopkins University Career Services

Introduction of Attendees

Attendees were asked to:

  • Introduce themselves, including department and role
  • Provide expectations of the group meeting
Agenda Presenters
Introduction Nina Modi
Updates Nina Modi
Discussion of Future Goals of WCUG Nina Modi
Accessibility Chris Walker, Alison May
OPP-Social Media Josh McKenzie
Q & A Nina Modi

Introduction to Meeting

Welcome to the group and we appreciate the participation. Our goal for these monthly group meetings is to provide training, resources, information and guidance so that each department will have all the support to maintain and enhance their websites. We encourage everyone to attend as many meetings as possible. 


  • WebComm-introducing new version of Cascade; currently in test mode; will keep you updated as we implement it.
  • SAIT would like to encourage everyone to use these meetings to provide feedback and input into any new developments.  We are hoping from these discussions everyone will be driving the next developments in web content.  Once we receive feedback, SAIT will then discuss whether the ideas/suggestions are possible and the time frame.  If approved and possible the ideas/suggestions will be implemented across all websites.
  • Residential Services created new Residential Services Facebook page. Congratulations to Paul, Virginia, and Annaleah for all of their work.  Provide feedback to Nina Modi, email address n-modi@northwestern.edu

Discussion of Needs of DOSA Websites

  • Chris Walker presented the new widget for Social Media icons located currently on the UCS website. He asked each of you to check it out, test it for usability and provide feedback prior to launching it onto all sites.
  • Chris asked for Feedback on what options the User Group is currently in need of to prioritize. Betsy from UCS mentioned the Search bar and the whole group agreed this would be the top priority moving forward. Josh asked about Google search options to search all sites as well as just their site and Chris thought this seemed doable and would work on it.
  • Claire from MSA requested a way to shorten lengthy pages by utilizing a pull down feature similar to the FAQ page layout. We asked that she send us the pages in question and either implement that layout or recommend creating separate pages which is a little more accessible for screen readers.
  • Nina summarized by asking everyone to please send us any needs or ideas to make your jobs easier.
  • Chris also showed his current design in progress for the Drop Down Navigation which is currently available on the Sustainability website. Please review this and provide Nina with feedback on usability. This will be implemented on all sites so your feedback is important.
  • Tony asked about usability of navigation on PC vs. mobile devices and Chirs explained the challenge of that but he is always looking make sure things are mobile friendly and will make sure the navigation is.
  • Any feedback, questions or suggestions contact Nina Modi, email:n-modi@northwestern.edu


  • Chris Walker showed a brief video clip from his Best Practices seminar with Alison May and Tommy, a blind student at Northwestern working with Allison and Chris to make sure our sites are accessible. Tommy went over the importance of simplicity to the site design, the importance of the layout of a page with headers and alt-tags, and there was a brief sample of how Tommy searches a site using a screen reader.
  • Alison May described the Screen reader (which Tommy uses at a very fast speed) to be similar to how we scan a page visually, not reading every word but seeking out the thing we need to find.
  • Alison then went on to discuss implementing "alt-tags" on all images on your site. She also touched on the image itself and if it makes sense to the content of the page. Here is her guidelines presented:

Guidelines for Alt text

  • Does the picture belong on the page?
  • Alt text can be used to make a picture fit, but not ideal approach
  • Keep the alt text concise but descriptive
  • If the picture is linked, are the picture and link logically related?
  • Indicate “click to enlarge” in the alt text if appropriate
  • Demonstration of creating/breaking a link in Cascade
  • Demonstration of updating page and publishing the page

Any questions or not sure if something is accessible? You can always contact Alison for help

OPP (NSFP) Presentation of Social Media Use in Their Departmtent

Josh McKenzie started by mentioning that they do not have a person dedicated to the web and social media and it is basically just him working on it. He then showed us thier Facebook pages and discussed the difference between using a 'fan page' vs a 'profile page' vs a 'group page'. He showed the group thier main New Student and Family Programming Facebook page  and showed how they created a New Student Group page within that to reach that audience specifically. They do not use the Fan Page because they want to reach a specific audience and not allow everyone access to the page. They did create a Peer Adviser page to market openings and have had a 40% increase in applications since using Facebook to reach students.

Josh briefly described their use of Twitter for WildCat Welcome which is primarily for informational as well as "fun" updates.

They are just starting to work on Pinterest which they are not yet advertising but find it to be an easy way to organize their information. They also started using Tungle.me to coordinate scheduling appointments with students. Another resource they use is Issuu which helps to send out documents, newsletters in a reader friendly way, however they still are using a pdf attachment to make sure it is accessible.


Nina mentioned how we realize that all of us are coming at this from different levels of knowledge and have different audiences to reach out to. We are all learning this provess and learning from each other.  Also we understand that you are all looking for different outcomes some sites are resource based others have a specific client group. This monthly meeting is a great platform to present different ways to reach your audiences. We love to get feedback, ideas and if anyone has ideas to present at one of these meetings we would be happy to set it up for you. Just let us know. You can reach Nina Modi anytime via email or phone anytime 847-467-2423.  Everyone is welcome to stay behind and chat.