It’s conference time again. We had a nice break for a few months, but we’re excited to get back on the road! (Technically, we’ll be flying this time around). On July 27th, our team will be setting up in Chicago for the 2015 eduWeb Digital Summit.

This will be our 4th consecutive year attending eduweb and we’re excited to be back. It’s amazing to see how the conference has grown. Attendance this year is expected to exceed 500, bringing together experts in enrollment management, advancement, marketing communications and web technology. The focus of eduWeb is on the integrated digital marketing presence of institutions around the world (14 different countries are represented this year).

In anticipation of the event, we put together a list of things to see and do to help plan your itinerary.

  • It wouldn’t be Chicago without a trip to Millennium Park. The Grant Park Music Festival featuring the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra is the only free, outdoor classical music series in the country. Also, don’t forget to snap a selfie in front of “The Bean”.
  • Overcome the challenges of managing your web presence with Managing the Unmanageable: Web Governance in Higher Education. This pre-conference workshop at 8:30 am on Monday will be lead by Mark Greenfield from the University of Buffalo.
  • Visit the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo. It has 35-acres of exotic wildlife and admission is absolutely free!
  • Join your fellow attendees at the eduweb Welcome Reception and Pub Crawl that follows. We’ve got a few places on our radar. (See Rebecca’s list below.)
  • Engage students with content they want to see. Morgan Day from University of Oklahoma will be presenting Create Winning Content Students Actually Pay Attention To at 9:45 am on Tuesday.
  • For the sports fans out there, stop by Wrigley Field to get a glimpse of the home of the Cubs. For a more authentic experience, stop in at The Cubby Bear, located across the street from Wrigley Field. It’s known as “the place” for post-game parties.
  • Stay connected with students through social media. Oakland University will be presenting Starting a Social Media Street Team at 2:30 pm on Tuesday.
  • If you like art, there are almost too many museums to choose from. We’re considering the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum of Natural History or the Oriental Institute Museum. The Art Institute of Chicago is also a must-see, people travel from all over the world just to see this unique collection.
  • Have Breakfast with the Best on Wednesday morning at 9:00 am and again at 10:15 am. Choose from a variety of topics including digital marketing, web intelligence, social media and technical design and development.
  • Leave time for a tour to wrap up your trip. Our recommendation is the Architectural Boat Ride down the Chicago River. Our sources say it’s the best way to see a lot and learn about the beautiful city of Chicago.

Information Architecture: The Steps to a Smooth Redesign

We’re especially excited to be presenting our own session at eduWeb. Matt Walters will be representing VisionPoint on Tuesday at 11:15 am.

A successful user experience is about more than JUST design; the foundation of a successful website is its information architecture. Ironically however, IA is often overlooked during website redesign projects.

VisionPoint Marketing will provide an overview of IA and walk you through the process of understanding user goals and structuring your website so that users can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

We’ll start with strategy and research including goal setting, the competitive analysis, a content audit and user testing. From there we’ll move into the tactical elements such as building a site map and page schematics with real examples from Georgia Regents University, Western Carolina University and more.

Throughout the presentation, attendees will learn the best practices that facilitate a smooth implementation of a redesigned website.


You can also find us in the exhibit hall at booth #29. As always, look for the orange floor. We’ll have our VisionPoint t-shirts with us once again. Just for eduweb, we’ve added a new persona to our collection. Stop by to see if you’re a Samurai.

If you’d like to reach us before the conference, contact Rebecca Swibes. Not only is she a great resource for turning marketing challenges into opportunities, she’s also a Chicago native. Here’s her list of top dining locations.

  • The J Parker is an absolute MUST. This rooftop restaurant and bar is home to one of the best views of Chicago’s stunning skyline. Located above Hotel Lincoln, The J Parker not only provides its guests with a great view, but also a fine selection of food and drinks. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations, but this is one place where the wait is definitely worth it.
  • Taco Joint is one of my personal favorites. While I frequent the Lincoln Park location, the River North venue is just a 10 minute walk from the Westin. They have amazing guacamole, delicious sangria and a variety of tacos. I highly recommend the Barbacoa and Baja tacos!
  • If you’re anything like me, donuts hold a special place in your heart. Well, lucky for eduWeb attendees, the two very best donut shops in Chicago are under a five minute walk from the Westin. Firecakes Donuts and Glazed and Infused both offer artistry donuts that simply do not disappoint. Try both and let us know what you think!
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop is a Chicago classic. Try the Wreck with a chocolate shake and I promise you wont regret it! You’ll find locations all over the city, so you have no excuse not to stop by.
  • Because it’s Chicago, deep dish pizza is a requisite. Most Chicago pizza fans strongly identify with either Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East or Giordano’s. I really don’t discriminate when it comes to deep dish pizza (they’re all delicious) but I will mention Pequod’s Deep Dish Pizza in Lincoln Park as my number one recommendation on this list. Enjoy!