Why Decentralization Doesn’t Work

Many traditional universities (most? all?) take a decentralized approach toward their websites, both in terms of creation and maintenance. It’s thought that a decentralized structure where each division, school, college, department and administrative unit effectively controls their space and content on the web is the best way to manage the overall site. Core web teams tend to be small given the size of a university’s online presence so why not shift maintenance of each section of the site to their respective owners? With a content management system in place, this becomes a matter of simplicity and smart workflow. The core web team creates the initial site based on each unit’s needs and wishes, the site is developed within the CMS, each unit gets trained on how to make updates through the CMS, and then the web team is freed up to go through the same process for the next unit on campus. Conventional wisdom would say this is a rational and reasoned approach, right? Continue reading “Why Decentralization Doesn’t Work”

A New Take on How to Find a Higher Ed Degree

In this screencast, I explore a quick and easy way to find degree program information instead of the common approach today which favors forcing people to navigate their way through a university’s org chart of colleges, divisions, schools, and departments before getting to degree information. This approach takes advantage of a centralized visual and navigational experience rather than the more common approach of allowing each school’s/college’s/department’s/etc. present their own separate experience. Continue reading “A New Take on How to Find a Higher Ed Degree”

The New University of Denver Site In A Nutshell

At its most basic level, the new du.edu site will revolve around who visits the site. As you might imagine, every person who visits our site has a particular task or set of tasks they wish to accomplish. What this allows us to do is group the people with similar tasks into broad audience types.

For example, many site visitors want to earn a degree- psychology, law, marketing, etc. We can group these people together and call them “prospective students”. Using the same logic, we come up with a handful of other audience types all categorized around a group’s shared needs and wants. Other audiences could include current students, university employees, alumni and news media. These categories allow us to tailor the site to each audience’s needs without the burden or baggage of wading through information that isn’t relevant to them. Does a prospective student need to be presented with university employee work policies? No. This system allows us to sidestep this problem. Continue reading “The New University of Denver Site In A Nutshell”


After a near 2 year hiatus, Heavywinter is back. Posts will begin to appear on a regular basis, but there’s still the odds and ends needed to get the site resurrected and the details just right. However, it’s time to go public. Keep in mind that all the old posts have been jettisoned in order to really start fresh. I suppose you could find the flotsam via the Way Back Machine, but whatever, your call. I’ve left the jetsam behind just as an alcoholic would his drunken past. 

As a related task, I’ll also inject some energy into my oft neglected other web haunts. You can get to those from the icons at the top of the page.

So with that, welcome back old readers and hello new ones. As always, please be nice in the comments area.