Wednesday, September 12

8 to 9 a.m. (Breakfast)


Join us for breakfast as we kick off the first day of the 2018 NAGW conference.

Location: King's Garden 4/5

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

Opening Keynote: Data for Action: Lessons from the field

Building a data literate culture can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Data and technology are useful tools for community economic development work, and work best with a "people first" approach. Reflecting back on changes in the Detroit area in recent years, Erica Raleigh will share lessons learned and offer a vision for the future of using data for community change.

Location: King's Garden 4/5

10:45 a.m. to noon (Sessions)

Emergency Communications: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Irma

In September 2017, the threat of a direct hit from Hurricane Irma threw Manatee County into a weeklong state of emergency. Learn how our small PIO team managed our website, social media, emergency notifications, and media relations to engage citizens, disseminate information about emergency preparedness and help coordinate the County’s largest evacuation. In this session, we’ll share statistics and insights on our digital engagement during the emergency. We will discuss what worked and what didn’t, including new ideas, lessons learned (an unfortunate viral video), resources we’ve discovered and changes we’ve made in the year following the hurricane.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. The importance of around-the-clock, real-time coverage on social media in an emergency
  2. Resources necessary to implement a successful communications strategy during an emergency.
  3. Planning for an emergency: communications and materials you can prepare ahead of time.
Location: Birmingham (Bridges)

The Workings of Wordpress

As of February 2018, WordPress has 60% market share for all sites that use Content Management Systems, and 29% of ALL WEBSITES, period. What is WordPress, and why is it so popular? In this session, we'll dive into WordPress - what it is, why you might want to use it (or not) and how WordPress is structured. I'll show you how to create a WordPress site, how it works, and some important things to keep in mind if you want to use WordPress in production. Finally, I'll offer some tips and tricks that have improved my use of WordPress for government, and I hope helps you out too!

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Reasons to use, or not to use, WordPress
  2. How WordPress works
  3. Tips for using WordPress in production
Location: Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Behind the wheel: Get the data you need to drive decisions

Driving decisions with data is important, but do you ever feel like you can’t find the keys to start the ignition? Well it’s time to rev your engine! In this session, put it in gear by thinking about how you can develop an analytics strategy to benefit your organization. Then go on a ride with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console to answer influential questions such as: Why do users visit your website; What are users doing on your website; How do users get to your website and Who are your website users. Finally, arrive at your destination thanks to a map and the keys for collecting meaningful data.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Learn how to develop an analytics strategy for getting answers to your questions.
  2. Gain a general understanding of the value and purpose of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console.
  3. Learn configuration and implementation basics for using these tools on your websites.
Location: Smithfield (Bridges)

From Blah to Brilliant: How to Move Along the Plain Language Spectrum

Do you think your web content, social media, or brochures could be better? However, no one at work seems to agree. It's too much work, the old stuff got approved, why change? This session will show some steps for moving from raw to polished content. Plain language uses a variety of well-known techniques: white space, short sentences, common words, etc. But you can’t do everything at once. Sometimes all you can do is move toward plain language–-no one does it instantly. There’s no plain language button on the keyboard-–how do you start? You'll see plenty of before/after examples, and hear many anecdotes from 20+ years of web content struggles. You’ll be able to tell the difference and start to move along the plain language spectrum! 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Support for your plain language efforts - learn about the U.S. and international plain language community
  2. What plain language will and won't do
  3. Techniques you can apply the next day you're back at work and resources to use to go further if you can't get enough plain language
Location: Sterlings 1/2/3

noon to 1 p.m. (Lunch)


Join us for lunch on the first day of 2018 NAGW conference.

Location: King's Garden 4/5

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

5 Easy Ways to Adapt Your Web Content to Your Community

St. Louis Park, MN was ready for a new website, but knew that a beautiful design was only half the battle. Sure, their website customers appreciate beautiful photographs and easy-to-use navigation, but visitors really needed to be able to understand and act on the words on the page. When it came to creating content for their site, the City overhauled the tasks and language to match the needs of their particular site visitors.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Tools to reveal the needs of your web visitors
  2. Exercises that demonstrate how your visitors use your site
  3. Steps to test if your content is matching their expectations (and yours)
Location: Birmingham (Bridges)

Storytelling With Data

Many organizations have substantial data assets available for internal use. How can those be repurposed for citizen engagement? We'll step through a user-centered design process driven by the idea of storytelling as a foundational element in developing compelling public-facing data dashboards. We'll use real-world examples to look at what can be done and will discuss some of the gotchas often encountered in the process.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Attendees will see concrete examples of user-centered design approaches to developing data-driven storytelling web applications
  2. Attendees will develop an understanding of how to identify tradeoffs in design and development when adapting internally-focused data assets into externally focused citizen engagement dashboards
  3. Attendees will be exposed to current best practices and open-source technical toolkits for data dashboard development
Location: Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Making WCAG 2.0 AA Compliance a Web Strategy: Design Planning, Audit & Implementation

On January 18, 2017, the Access Board published a final rule that jointly updates requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act. The purpose of this session is to help government agencies prepare, plan, execute and validate their digital access inclusion for individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis on the web content accessibility, designing for accessibility, and validating for WCAG 2.0 compliance checklist. Attendees will learn the key set of rules that all webmasters and web program managers must be aware of for compliance, a recommended approach to meeting and validating the WCAG 2.0 AA requirements related to usability and visual aesthetics, and get acquainted with third-party tools and SaaS solutions that can help audit and validate compliance.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Clear understanding of legal compliance requirements vs. WCAG 2.0 AA Guidelines and Principles for Federal Agencies' public facing websites and digital content
  2. Benefits of making Accessibility and Inclusion as Part of User Experience and Digital Strategy in a time of Browser-less Experience, Conversational Bots, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
  3. Short-term (6-12 month) and Long-term (18-24 month strategy) Strategy for WCAG 2.0 AA Full Compliance 
Location: Smithfield (Bridges)

Homemade: Making, Enduring and Embracing the Decision to build your site in house

The trials, tribulations and victories in relaunching a 20 year old county website - this talk will provide a brief overview of decision making and our strategy in launching the new How did we flip the switch? How to avoid common pitfalls? How to recover - semi-gracefully? I will also cover some of the tools used in the relaunch (Pantheon, Siteimprove, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, etc) that helped keep us sane and remember that one department that no one else did.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Leverage and Build upon your teams strengths
  2. Leverage Cloud services to fill gaps and improve performance
  3. Be transparent and make everyone your partner
Location: Sterlings 1/2/3

2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)

Creating Accessible and Responsive Forms

Forms are a necessary part of websites because they are used to gather information from constituents. Whether the forms are used for contacting staff, for feedback on issues or for the delivery of services it is important to design them to be accessible for all audiences. Since a great majority of our constituents now visit our websites via a mobile device it is also important to design them to be responsive. This session will discuss best practices for form accessibility as well as responsiveness. Several production forms will be demoed as examples. The form tool used for the demo will be Formstack however other tools can also be used.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Best practices for form accessibility
  2. Best practices for form responsiveness
  3. Demos of several production forms and techniques for creating forms
Location: Birmingham (Bridges)

Building and Managing a Content Communication Strategy

Your communication efforts should go beyond simple news releases and social media posts. Creating and publishing useful content that fits within an overall communications strategy, incorporating the needs of multiple stakeholders with varying goals and objects, requires careful planning. In this session you will learn how to leverage content communications (commonly called content marketing) strategy to connect your organization’s goals to your communication efforts.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Develop a connection between strategy development and execution using strategic communication and identify the essential components of a strategic communications plan
  2. Understand the time and personnel commitments required
  3. Learn methods for generating and repurposing content.
Location: Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Adventures in Open Data Using open data as a catalyst for management improvements and website updates

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is part of the state's Open Data Council. It is helping to seed the Open Data Portal with environmental and recreational data. The Department is trying to use the portal as a tool in data-guided management improvements. It is developing an "environmental indicators" dashboard. It is looking for opportunities to add dynamic charts and graphs to its new "alpha" website. And it is partnering with the Delaware Department of Transportation and local open data organizations to sponsor a hack-a-thon focused on combining transportation data and recreational data to help residents access and use parks, wildlife areas a state forests. This presentation will explore these initiatives and the challenges of convincing tradition-bound state employees and managers to open their processes and share their data.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Open data offers great opportunities for outreach to the public and for internal management improvements.
  2. Changing the "usual approaches" to data management and public information are key.
  3. Open data can't be an effective part of a communication strategy without working with, and learning from, non-traditional new stakeholders (read: hackers).
Location: Smithfield (Bridges)

Making Accessible PDFs

This session focuses on the accessibility guidelines you should use when creating a new document with an authoring program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. After the PDF is generated, we will walk through the accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat DC and conclude with some tests you can perform to verify if the PDF is accessible. This session is aimed at anyone that makes documents that will be posted online.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Principles to apply in your original document
  2. How to create a tagged PDF
  3. Testing the document to verify it is accessible
Location: Sterlings 1/2/3

3:45 to 4:15 p.m. (Sponsor Break with snacks)

Sponsor Break

Meet in the Sponsor Lounge for drinks and snacks. NAGW will be conducting prize drawings and you must be present to win.

Location: Commonwealth 1/2

4:15 to 5:30 p.m. (Sessions)

Developing a Cloud Warrior

The Web Professional will soon be called Cloud Warrior. Why? Because getting up into the cloud is a tough climb but once there the benefits include full view of all services, code flexibility, cost savings, reliability, scalability, and security. Moving our government website from SharePoint 2007 to Lamp Stack WordPress website hosted on AWS came many new challenges. Our success was acknowledging those challenges immediately, agreeing as a team on the process to meet those challenges, and taking time to find the best vendor partnership to help us achieve our goal. It was an exciting and successful project and we would love to share our story.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Acknowledging challenges immediately as a group
  2. Agreeing as a team on the process to meet those challenges
  3. Taking time to find the best vendor partnership to help us achieve our goal
Location: Birmingham (Bridges)

Accessibility on a Budget

Developing a task-based accessibility audit workflow instead of a large, fixed-price RFP for increased control and reduced cost. More importantly, the presentation will show how to use this approach to manage accessibility as a process rather than a destination.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. How to break out the task of identifying the "substantial" part of a large legacy website for accessibility auditing.
  2. Breaking out the accessibility audit targeting your CMS vendor and encouraging compliance at their cost.
  3. Focusing the staff accessibility training to just the website contributions involved.
Location: Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Public Records: Balancing Government Transparency and Individual Privacy

The arrival of the internet and the increased ease of access for government records moved the debate around transparency away from concerns about secrecy and has in recent years seen a notable trend towards issues of privacy and security. We'll dive into how transparency has changed in the last 20 years and how governments can balance transparency with security. 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. A thorough look into how new technologies (ie, blockchain) are addressing privacy and security and what that means to government agencies at every level.
  2. Ideas on how your agency can put measures in place to keep information secure while at the same time publicly available.
  3. Real-world examples of how are addressing transparency and privacy issues right now. 
Location: Smithfield (Bridges)

Web Security - How to Protect Your Site Online

As hacking evolves, creating and maintaining a secure site becomes more challenging. In this session, we will use hands-on demos show you how hackers exploit vulnerabilities on a website. We’ll explore how to holistically approach web security as you build and maintain your website including what HTTPS does and doesn’t do on your site. Finally, we’ll explore some ways you can protect your site now and in the future.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Treat web security as important as SEO when building your website
  2. Enabling HTTPS is not the same as website security, but it’s important for protecting your users
  3. Protecting your website takes work, but there a few simple steps you can start with
Location: Sterlings 1/2/3

Conference Registration

Late registration rates in effect now through the start of the conference.

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Title, Award, Reception & Showcase Sponsors


Hotel Location

Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown
600 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 391-4600

Hotel Website >>

Conference Summary

2017 Executive Summary
View the Executive Summary with of all the benefits of attending.

About NAGW

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For general information about nagw/conference, including registration, please contact us at:
National Association of Government Web Professionals

  • 847.647.7226
  • 8120 Lehigh Avenue, Suite 100
    Morton Grove, IL 60053