Squiz Summit 2019
Back in November 2019, I attended the Squiz Summit in Edinburgh. The summit is an annual event that brings together Squiz staff with their customers, to share in their experiences of using Squiz products.
For the past year, the University has been using Squiz’s Funnelback search functionality to power our main site search. The event was attended by web professionals from Higher education and government sectors. This provided me with a great opportunity to hear from other Funnelback users and to speak first-hand to some of the people behind the technology.
The day started with presentations from Squiz representatives, presenting on the recent growth of the company and the future direction of the platform. Squiz emphasised the development of cross channel user experiences and leveraging third party data to enhance user experience.
We heard from four of Squiz’s customers, who provided short presentations on their experiences of using Squiz products. The highlight for me were two presentations on the use of Funnelback.
The first was from Duncan Ireland from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Duncan Ireland spoke about how he was using Funnelback auditing tools to improve the accessibility of his site. The other was from Duncan MacGruer from the University of Edinburgh.
Duncan MacGruer spoke about the challenges of managing a large online estate and his experience of obtaining stakeholder engagement for web search projects.
Squiz then ran a number of themed breakout sessions. I chose to participate in a card sorting exercise. We broke into small groups and discussed how to identify key performance metrics for measuring the performance of a web site using Google’s HEART framework.
The POLAR academy
Craig Mathieson presented a fascinating talk on his life as a Polar explorer and the work he has been doing with the POLAR academy. Craig explained how he was using Polar exploration to inspire teenagers in achieving the truly extraordinary.
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The highlight of the day for me was the opportunity to speak 1 to 1 with Ben Pottier, the head of Funnelback technology. It was great to sit down with Ben and discuss site search. We discussed how features within Funnelback could be used to enhance our site’s functionality.
We spoke about how Funnelback could be used to search content that sits behind a password and how we could use the power of Funnelback to customise page content based on who is viewing it.
The team from Squiz hosted a friendly and informative event and I am always appreciative for the opportunity to meet with other organisations, particularly those that are facing a similar challenge to our own.