WebDirections Conference goers

Program detail

May 19, 2008: a full day of in depth presentations across two tracks, from international and local experts with a broad range of real world experience inside and outside government. But don’t forget our workshops on the 20th as well:

Trying to convince someone you really need to go? Print our executive summary [PDF].

Improving Government through better use of the Web

José Manuel Alonso

José Manuel Alonso PortraitIt’s no secret that just as the web has revolutionised business, the media, and many other parts of our lives, it is also revolutionising how governments and citizens interact, and how government provide services.

But how to do it well is still something of a black art.

In this keynote presentation, the lead of the W3C’s eGovernment initiative, José Manuel Alonso, looks at the opportunities the web provides governments, the challenges, old and new, the web poses, and the role of the W3C in helping to develop underlying, interoperable technologies with which to build these services.

José’s presentation will cover best practices and methodologies for providing eGovernment services, and look at case studies of how governments and communities are connecting via the web around the world.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

GovDex – Collaborating online in a secure environment

Ralph Douglas

Ralph Douglas PortraitThis session will look at the government collaborative tool Govdex, how it is currently used by agencies, what it provides, and how you can use it for your projects. GovDex is managed by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) in the Department of Finance & Deregulation. AGIMO is working with agencies to measure how GovDex can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their information technology investments, and to thereby generate a savings dividend to the Australian economy. 

GovDex is a key enabler to a whole of government approach to IT service development and deployment, featuring collaborative workspace, governance, tools, methods and re-usable technical components that agencies can use to assemble and deploy information services on their different technology platforms.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

Real world web standards

Scott Gledhill

Scott Gledhill PortraitThose initial stages of converting your company to web standards are much like trying to score that first kiss with the princess. You seduce them with the business benefits of web-standards development, and the rest of the arguments we have all read, written, and preached to anyone who will listen. But getting corporate web standards in place is just a sign that the real relationship is about to begin. The honeymoon is over, and now it’s time to figure out what has gone wrong and why the prince and princess now seem to be constantly bickering—when they were meant to live happily ever after.

Scott draws on his experiences leading the development of eight large media web sites for News Digital Media to examine the ideals of web standards and how they translate within a large organisation. Learn how to make web standards work for you, when rules must be broken and how to deliver a final product that meets deadlines and still keeps project teams happy.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

Web mapping – exploiting location based information through eGovernment

David Hayward

David Hayward PortraitGovernment has huge amounts of information but how can this be effectively managed and delivered through the web? This session will ‘lift the lid’ on web mapping technology and identify some of the key issues that must be addressed to achieve a successful outcome.

The NSW government SIX Viewer web mapping portal will be used as a case study to demonstrate how terabytes of data can be integrated and delivered via the Internet.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

Usability: more than skin deep

Lisa Herrod

Lisa Herrod PortraitWeb Usability is far more complex than user testing and interaction design alone. And while interface design is an important consideration, there’s more to a usable site than what’s on the surface.

We all know the importance of accessibility and web standards, so let’s take that knowledge one step further and into the realm of usability. In this session Lisa Herrod will redefine the common definition of usability by introducing a greater focus on accessibility and web standards. By taking a more holistic approach you will soon see why usability is more than skin deep.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

Social computing for knowledge management

Matthew Hodgson

Matthew Hodgson PortraitThe world is abuzz with social computing: Facebook, My Space, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, blogs, wikis and other spaces powered by Web 2.0 technology. It’s a social revolution, empowering individuals to communicate, share what they know online, and help others locate information that is important to them in both their private and working lives.

Some see all this as a big waste of corporate time, but is it? Is there value in handing over control of collaboration and sharing knowledge to individuals, rather than hoarding it in records systems, knowledge systems, and thousands of network dive folders? Is there a way you can harness this social revolution to help improve our organisation’s knowledge management practices? Is there actually a solid business value proposition for social computing?

Matthew will look at knowledge management in modern organisations, and how you can benefit by learning from the principles of social computing and Web 2.0 technologies. Matthew will look at case studies in government that demonstrate successful and not-so-successful ways of employing social computing tools, the factors that contributed to their success, and the pitfalls to watch out for. In particular, he will look at the issues in relation to corporate culture by drawing on recent research in blogs and wikis that is based on the theory and work in organisational psychology by Hofstede.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

The essential elements of great web applications

Robert Hoekman Jr

Robert Hoekman Jr PortraitMost great web applications have a few key things in common. But can you name them? Better yet — can you achieve them consistently in your own projects?

In this closing keynote, Robert Hoekman, Jr., author of the Amazon bestseller Designing the Obvious (New Riders) describes the seven qualities of great web-based software and how to achieve each and every one of them by learning to communicate through design. See why it’s important to build only what’s absolutely essential, apply instructive design, create error-proof interactions, surface commonly-used features, and more in this informative session that will change the way you work and enable your users to walk away from your software feeling productive, respected, and smart.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

ABC’s election site: making the most of dry data

Andrew Kesper

Andrew Kesper PortraitWhile elections can be exciting times, the underlying data – swings, booth counts, and the like is probably only riveting to psephological tragics. Yet the ABC’s election web site managed to take this raw data and make it attractive, compelling and interactive.

In this session, the ABC’s Andrew Kesper takes us through the election site, looking at the design decisions, and uses of technology like Ajax, Flash, and interactive maps – tools which have wide applicability for government sites looking to present data in more user-friendly and attractive ways.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

One paper clip, a box of matches, and some JavaScript

Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee PortraitWhoever you are, if you’re writing JavaScript, there’s some aspect of your development that you would love to change if you had the chance. But the reality is you’ll never find yourself working in this ideal environment: dealing with legacy browsers, platforms and content management systems will be your constant as a developer. Patrick Lee is going to show you some tools and techniques that will help you make your peace with this fact.

This session will explore how you can find ways to do the cool stuff you really want to do with JavaScript whilst working in the real world. And you won’t even have to sell your soul in the process.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

Executive breakfast briefing: Govt 2.0: the public management challenge

Jason Ryan

This optional extra event will be held from 7.00am to 8.30am on Monday May 19.

Jason Ryan PortraitTechnology changes present complex challenges and rich opportunities for senior public sector managers. Finding the balance between innovation and risk management is not easy in an environment where successful engagement depends upon relinquishing control. Using examples from New Zealand’s experience, Jason will share lessons and observations about the inevitable growing pains of public sector agencies as they evolve towards Govt 2.0.

View the presentation slides and podcast.

Opening up government data

Jenny Telford

Jenny Telford PortraitMapping and other mashups have taken the web world by storm – driving innovation in business and government alike. While much of the focus has been on the actual mashup applications, without the data to mashup, we have no mashups. Government, from local to Federal level, collect and manage a significant amount of data, across a very broad range of areas. But giving access to this data to web application developers has technical, policy and legal challenges. In this presentation, Jenny Telford of the ABS looks at these issues from their experience of opening up data from the Australian Census.

View the presentation slides and podcast.