Wednesday, September 20

9 to 10:30 a.m. (Opening Keynote)

Creating Emotionally Engaging Places

Join Alliance for Innovation Senior Fellow Peter Kageyama for a session on creating emotionally engaging places.  Peter is the author of For the Love of Cities and the follow up, Love Where You Live.  Peter speaks about how community leaders need to be intentional about creating a more emotionally engaging, lovable place.  These lovable cities are magnets for talented workers, entrepreneurs and businesses alike.  Peter talks about the expanded role that local government needs to play in creating this atmosphere of engagement and the ways, both big and small, that the city can partner with citizens to build great places.

Location: Aventine DEF

11 a.m. to 12 noon (Sessions)

Google Analytics for Beginners

In the City of McKinney, we have collected metrics on our various website iterations for the past seven years. While not experts in Google Analytics, we have been able to use the information to make decisions about how to configure our websites, what residents want to see and to satisfy constituents throughout the city. The intent of this session is to share our experience in the hope that opening up our analytics collection and presentation practices might offer useful information for other cities.

Key Takeaways

  • Google Analytics can be a useful tool for making decisions about a website and resident interests
  • It isn't difficult, you just need to know where to go for the information
  • Keep reports simple with examples


Location: Aventine A

Troll Hunting 101

Anyone who works the social media pages for a government entity knows that trolls can be a way of life, but they don’t have to ruin your groove! This session will focus on strategic messaging on your social media outlets and how to deal with your inevitable detractors (beyond throwing your hands in the air and pushing the “delete" or "ban” buttons). You CAN choose fight over flight and banter over ban — and I’ll show you how to do it so that trolls can actually become a valuable piece of your social media ecosystem. Gather your facts, stretch out your fingers, put on a smile and let’s storm that bridge together! 

Key Takeaways

  • Not all trolls are the same; learn how to identify different varieties and handle them appropriately 
  • Facts & personality are a winning combination in social media discussions
  • Trolls can actually HELP you win over the rest of your audience; embrace the hater 
Location: Aventine B

Webmasters: The Modern-Day Town Criers

As modern-day Town Criers, the role of the Webmaster is constantly changing.  Today’s communicators must couple constantly evolving technologies with multiple communication channels, while keeping the message clear and informative.

While the totality of Moore's Law can be debated, there’s no debating the fact that modern day Town Criers have far more responsibility beyond gathering the locals and shouting in the Town Square.  The ease of social media has ushered in an era of excess. However, there is a fine line between informative and over communicating, as Webmasters find themselves competing with elected officials who often want to engage the same audience.
This entertaining and informative lecture will cover the past, present and future of government communications as it relates to those at the helm of stated communication channels.

Key Takeaways

  • Historical perspective of our profession
  • Creative and unique ways to reach target audience
  • Organization of content through the most efficient delivery mechanism(s)
Location: Aventine C

Open Data Successes (and Failures): Lessons from the Trenches

The City of Boulder has been "doing" open data for nearly four years. The open data program has had a number of ups and downs over those years and we've learned valuable lessons and insights from our successes and failures. In this session we'll be talking frankly and openly about what we've learned the hard way to help attendees avoid, or at least anticipate, the pitfalls open data practitioners routinely face when trying to "do" open data; and highlighting tested methods and practices to be successful. We'll talk about our recent experiences as a member of What Works Cities and how hiring a Chief Innnovation and Analytics Officer is helping us reach our goal of data-driven decision-making.

Key Takeaways

  • Key factors to a successful program;
  • Key failures and how to anticipate or avoid them;
  • How part-time work leads to part-time success (and part-time failure);
  • Insights from the What Works Cities process that anyone can use
Location: Palatine AB

1 to 2 p.m. (Sessions)

Making 3rd Party Platforms Accessible

This session will provide insight into successfully integrating with 3rd party technologies and platforms to ensure conformance with ADA-related digital accessibility requirements. In addition, technical recommendations for remediation and understanding key elements of accessibility regulations will be covered.


Key Takeaways        

  • Accessibility 101: Guidelines, Regulations, and the Law
  •  3rd Party Platforms & Common Errors of Accessibility
  • Asking the Right Questions: Make Sure Your Solution Does This …
Location: Aventine A

DIY UX Testing

Many problems that come up after a new site or app launches could have been avoided with a few usability tests. Unfortunately, testing is often considered too expensive or as taking too long, but it doesn't have to be. There are simple and affordable tools that can be used to test websites, web apps, navigation, information architecture, and content. This session will review free and low-cost tools and methods for conducting tests and how and when to use them.

Key Takeaways

  • What to test - how to identify potential problem areas for testing.
  • When to test - picking the right time in a project to introduce testing.
  • How to test - tools and tips for testing quickly and inexpensively.
Location: Aventine C

Who Will Tend Your Garden

Innovation.  Nearly every conference is looking for presenters to share their innovative projects.  But what happens when the innovator leaves the jurisdiction or organization for which they created the project?  What happens when the funding dries up?  Quite often, the project or initiative dies on the vine.  For those who rely on these innovative projects, especially those in the communications arena, this can be devastating.  This session will explore the causes, effects, and recommendations for "watering your garden" to keep projects alive and thriving.

Key Takeaways

  • How to identify a project in danger of dying.
  • What "nutrients" to add to a project for built-in longevity.
  • How to tweak an existing project to keep it thriving long term.
Location: Palatine AB

2:15 to 3:15 p.m. (Sessions)

Enhance Citizen Experience Through Your Website

Your citizens looks to you for information about city services, community programs, maintenance alerts, breaking news, upcoming events and more. We’re here to help you deliver it all with ease through your website.  We will begin the session by discussing the ROI your agency can get from a modern citizen-focused website. Attendees will then receive practical tips, examples and best practices for website design and content that can enhance the citizen experience by making it easier for citizens to find the information they’re looking for and engage with their government.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to calculate the ROI of a fully-functional, modern website
  • How to improve service delivery through your government website
  • How to foster two-way communication and engagement between your government and its citizens
  • How to enhance the citizen experience with a usable website
Location: Aventine B

Testing for Accessibility

How do you test for accessibility compliance? There are many tools out there. During this session, I will outline the strategies and tools we use to make sure the content is accessible by all. I will also cover the template we use for reporting issues. 

Key Takeaways

  • Testing strategy
  • Automated and manual testing
  • Reporting template
Location: Aventine C

Social Media Stories: How to Communicate Government Information in the Land of Emojis

Social Media "Stories" have been introduced through various platforms as an effective communication tool. Come learn the ins and outs of sharing your agency's mission through the "Story" format to engage your audience. Participants will leave this session armed with answers to questions about how government can communicate in "Stories", how to develop a strong strategy for using "Stories" and how to address accessibility and records management issues. This session is not an endorsement of any particular social media platform that utilizes the "Story" format.

Key Takeaways

  • Participants will learn how to take content they already have and modify it to make it appropriate for the Social Media "Stories" platform. This will include tactics on how to make a potentially dry topic seem more engaging to a younger audience and how to use Social Media "mascots" to make government Social Media "Stories" accounts more friendly.
  • Participants will leave the session with an understanding about how to formulate a Social Media "Stories" content strategy. This will include information about how frequently they should post on Social Media "Stories" and how to use emoijs in a way that makes sense and strengthens a message.
  • Participants will understand the ways they can store stories they create in Social Media "Stories" for use on other platforms and learn about ways to make their Social Media "Stories" content as accessible as possible. 
Location: Palatine AB

3:45 to 4:45 p.m. (Sessions)

Look who's TAWKing - using Tawk, an embedded web chat client, for citizen engagement

Join us as we review Larimer County's pilot of Tawk, a no cost solution for adding real time chat capabilities to our vehicle licensing page. The repetitive ring of 'Now Serving' is going the way of the Dodo as online solutions, such as TAWK, allow the citizens to connect with the County online and in real time. We review the tool, it's features and lessons learned in bringing it online.

Key Takeaways

  • Does real time chat have a home on your website?
  • Steps to spin up and test the Tawk chat solution with little effort and no cost
  • Tips and tricks used to aide staff in providing quick and accurate info to the citizens
Location: Aventine A

Being Agile When You are the Only One

Adjusting Agile project management for use in a small shop to get your work done and make your internal customers happy

Key Takeaways

  1. A long journey, even a development project, is only a bunch of small steps one after another
  2. Reuse strategies that work for others
  3. Project management is a process, not a destination
Location: Aventine B

Section 508 Refresh: Understanding the New Requirements

Section 508 standards are federal acquisition requirements that apply to information and communications technology (ICT) that is used, developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies. The standards promote ICT that can be accessed by the public and employees with disabilities. The current standards became effective 15 years ago and great effort has been made to update (or “refresh”) Section 508 to harmonize the standards with guidelines for Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act.
The final ruling for the Section 508 Refresh was published in the Federal Register in January 2017, with an effective date of one year after the publication date. The Section 508 Refresh will include a broad application of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, and many features that currently meet Section 508 requirements will no longer be compliant under WCAG 2.0.

Key Takeaways

  • The expected timeline and application requirements for the Section 508 Refresh
  • Key differences between the current Section 508 requirements and the new Refresh requirements
  • The necessary testing types and techniques to ensure compliance with the proposed requirements
Location: Aventine C