[Speaking Event] MIUPA – Break Through the Administrative Barriers and Focus on Your Users

Tuesday August 18, 2009, 6-8:30PM

(Food and networking at 6, Program at 7)

Southfield Public Library in Southfield, MI

Nick DeNardis, associate director of web communications at Wayne State University will discuss his approach for reviewing and creating usable web sites.

  • A lot of people are involved with planning and constructing a single web site. How can you break through the administrative barrier and focus on your users?
  • Become an authority as a web professional and fend off requests that don’t meet your users goals.
  • Create a plan for testing and modifying the web site based on your users needs and how they actually use your site.
  • I will focus on higher education where a lot of sites offer the same “product”. Identify strategies to stand out and care about your users.
  • View your site from an outsiders perspective, does it pass the “ten second test”? Can you find the information you need?
  • And last but not least, did you take enough time to care about users with special needs?

Nick is the Associate Director of Web Communications at Wayne State University. As host of the video blog, EDU Checkup, he reviews higher education websites from the point of view of a first time visitor, while critiquing the design, information architecture and code of the sites.

He is a staff writer at .eduGuru, a higher education marketing and web development blog. He takes an active role in the higher education web community by sharing his thoughts and real world analysis in the Wayne State Web Communications Blog.

Nick is also an officer for Refresh Detroit, a group of web professionals whose goal is to promote web standards, usability, and accessibility and to spread the knowledge of web design in the Detroit and Ann Arbor Michigan areas.


Southfield Public Library, “The Meeting Room”
26300 Evergreen Rd
Southfield, MI 48076 (map)
(248) 796-4200


$10 – UPA Members
$5 – Full-time students and people between jobs
$20 – All Others


RSVP to (ensures we have enough food and drink for all)

Original Posted at:


Writing more, maybe enough for a book

A MessThroughout high school and even into college I really liked english classes, I liked the writing and creativity. The construction of a well formed document with flow and coherence.

I guess that is why I started a blog, it has been an on and off relationship for a while since high school and when motivated my thoughts can come flowing out.

Its like programming, after some well thought out procedures and operations does the flow of the program work, function correctly and look beautiful.

One of my new years resolutions is to get back into writing, I really enjoy it and it needs to become a large part of my life. Now working with some really phenomenal writers I see where I am lacking and really need to get back in the game.

Its easy as a programmer to just say “Im a programmer, it doesn’t matter if i spell things correct as long as they are consistent”. That has been the mentality at work for a while now and it really doesn’t help anyone since misspellings often fall through the cracks and it makes everyone look unprofessional.

My biggest issue is using larger or obscure words since working on the web and dumbing everything down to fifth grade level its hard to get back to reality and write good copy where every word counts.

There is a lot of things I am passionate about and web standards and accessibility is one of them. Working the university environment as really inspired me to take my knowledge and teach others.

Although standing up, teaching and seeing everyones reaction when they get it is great I would love to expand my reach beyond the people I know. I will be speaking at a conference in March about publishing and promoting events online.

A large part of my job is creating tools for people to use and teaching them how to take advantage of them. Although we are part of a university environment the tools we create are meant to be used outside since marketing has to reach external audiences.

And seeing more of the people I follow online writing books and speaking at large venues about their passions really inspires me to write a book and help everyone curious about how pulling information together in a decentralized environment. Getting the tools built, getting peoples buy in and keeping users using the system for their and the whole communities advantage.

More to come later on book ideas and more frequent updates due to my New Years resolution.