Six Questions with Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is the Director of Digital Design & Development at the University of Arkansas.

1.    You’re a board member for HighEdWeb. Tell us about some of the new membership initiatives that might launch in 2013.

Next year we hope to trickle in some of the benefits we have been stewing over for a while. Some ideas include exclusive live-streamed events, conference videos and job resources. We are listening intently to our members to give them the value that they want. We are also excited to hold our first membership meeting at the conference next year. More to come as we rally our volunteer base to help us take bigger strides.

2. How do you balance the core HighEdWeb membership with the new faces that join each year? Is there an ideal size for HighEdWeb?

We are always asking the size question in relation to our physical conference. We are always concerned that if we grow too big that we will lose our close and homey feel. Outside of that we are, of course, very excited by our growth, and leverage the loyalty and excitement of our members to help acclimate the new faces.

3. As the Director of Digital Design and Development for the University of Arkansas, what new technology tools are you most looking forward to using in 2013?

A lot of the focus for our campus is to take stock of where we are and where we want to go with the web. To this end we have seen our campus come together to start talking about and developing towards a better future for our web. We are migrating into a new CMS this year and we will be capitalizing on our custom data repository, which includes maps, transit, directories, news, experts and more. This uses a REST API to better repurpose our content and utilize our mapping system. We will also be introducing large format touch screen kiosk to our campus, which will take direct advantage of our data repositories.

4.       Arkansas launched a Web Style Guide earlier in the year. Can you tell if your content creators are using it?

The main audience for our style guide was our designer and developer communities, and yes, they are using it. Like any change this guide was received with mixed emotions, but one of the many good things was that it has been one of many catalysts for our community coming together and taking part in our campuses future. I love our community!

5.  Can tell me how your twitter parody channel got started? (@maybechrisnixon) What do you think about it?

Yeah, I <strikethrough>blame</strikethrough> thank Lacy Tite and Lougan Bishop for this one (Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks!) We were sitting at breakfast during the conference and I was questioned for not having a Twitter account. They offered to hook me up; within 90 seconds they had the account set up, complete with my fancy mug shot (just out of the shower with no coffee yet. Wheee!)

I think it’s fun. My only rule was that I didn’t want to get fired or go to jail because of something that was posted. As it is now I think there are about a dozen people with access to post. I refuse ownership :)

6.       How do you feel about The Hobbit being turned in a trilogy?

I think it’s great. As a kid, The Hobbit was the only book in the series that I would read. The others were just too… wordy? I loved those movies; Peter Jackson did a great job, so I can only imagine that The Hobbit will be equally as wonderful–as long as he doesn’t get any weird ideas and decide to introduce some Jar-Jaresque thing for the kiddies.