Results! Conductor Survey 2011

Author: Chas Grundy

ND Food Services Gift card

The winner of our 2011 Conductor Survey drawing was Marissa Runkle from the College of Science. She received a $50 Notre Dame Food Services gift card. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey.

The yearly survey is a good chance to listen to Conductor users about what’s working, what’s not, and where we should invest our CMS time. We feel it’s important to share the results of these surveys so you can see that we take them seriously and to help hold us accountable as we integrate your feedback into our planning and project roadmap.


Approval rating (73%) is OK, but can be better.

Conductor received a 73% approval rating (that's better than Congress!). Compared to other CMSs in higher education, though, it’s just above average (70%). While there’s no such thing as 100% satisfaction, we know Conductor can get better. One notable insight is that other CMSs don’t get tremendously better results, so switching systems (something we examine regularly) won’t necessarily provide major gains.

Users don’t know about all of the features.

A lot of comments asked for password protection, databases, photo galleries, and other things that Conductor already does. I mean, we have plenty of sites with these features and for new sites, we regularly use them. But our other site owners don't always know that. We want to make sure people know about the tools and how to get them implemented on their sites (quickly and inexpensively).

People don’t always get training and support after a site launches.

Recently, a content manager took a new position elsewhere on campus. The replacement content manager eagerly jumped into Conductor. But we had no idea this happened – and she didn’t even know we offered training. We quickly got her the information she needed, but we’ve begun to create ways to help introduce new users after a site has launched. And we can do more to educate people about Conductor well after their site has launched.

Web design options are perceived as CMS problems.

One of the comments seen in CMS surveys in higher ed (and Conductor is no exception) is the tension between the content managers and the design of the site. Content owners want more control over the appearance of the page, fonts and colors, alignment, etc. The problem isn’t the CMS – it's the template. Often, sites are designed and set according to a project that may take a year and has been vetted, approved, and nit-picked by the appropriate stakeholders. Sometimes these decisions relate to university brand guidelines or college style rules.

This would be true with Conductor or any other CMS we implemented. Simply put, the goal of the CMS is to make it possible to manage content, not design. If the design isn’t meeting the needs of the content (needing special styling or layout), we encourage users to work with their communications directors or our support staff to add the appropriate styles.

Top feature requests are all about regular use.

Most of the work done in Conductor is in pages, news, and events. Thus, people who spend a lot of time in Conductor feel the friction of any bugs, quirks, or design issues. It’s frustrating. There are a lot of quirks with the rich text editor (RTE) and some people are still using Textile but would be better served with the RTE. Adding uploads (pictures or documents) has gotten better, but there are a few areas where it gets sticky. Users shouldn’t need to jump into the source code to do regular tasks – so we’re looking at a few ideas on how to improve this. One of the biggest feature requests deals with page editing – saving drafts, previewing your content without having to save it, etc. These would make a significant difference to most users, which means it’s a top priority for us.

Top Requested Features

Conductor Survey Wrap-up

The two biggest reasons we do these surveys are to take stock of where we are (73% – not bad, but we can do better) and to guide our future efforts. It’s clear from your feedback that the biggest areas of need are the editing environment and communication about Conductor’s features and training options. We are generating ideas on how to best accomplish these and you should see the initial progress shortly.

Since we launched our first website in Conductor in 2007, this system has come a long way. Today, there are over 275 websites in Conductor and more being added all the time. We have big plans and they all lead to better user experiences and more effective websites for you.