Thursday, March 3, 2011

National Defense University Press Launches Online Scavenger Hunt

Joey Seich is the Internet Publications Editor at the National Defense University Press (NDU Press), located in Washington, DC. NDU Press leads the National Defense University Enterprise in publishing and disseminating vital and complex defense and national security scholarship in a variety of media to inform and influence defense and policy decisionmakers, as well as the joint professional military education community and interested public.
“I want to do a holiday scavenger hunt,” I stated matter-of-factly to my boss over coffee. It was 8 A.M. Monday morning in October. My boss laughed; I didn’t.
He quickly realized I was serious and I went on to explain, “I want to do a holiday scavenger hunt on our Web site. I want to hide holiday graphics across the site. A company did it at a conference I went to and it increased their web traffic by over 600%. I want to try it.”
“You do realize we work for the Department of Defense?” he questioned. I nodded. He shook his head knowing I wouldn’t drop the idea, “Put together a proposal, we’ll take it to the Director.” I quickly agreed.
Fast forward two months and the proposal had somehow made it through the Director, Legal, and the Front Office. I was still in shock when the paperwork landed on my desk: APPROVED.
Now December, NDU Press is launching a Holiday Scavenger Hunt.
The scavenger hunt occurs in two phases. The first phase kicks off Tuesday, December 14 at 12 p.m. from our NDU Press Facebook page. This part of the contest is modeled after the Social Media Scavenger Hunt that the National Archives hosted back in April. On each site, there will be a KEYWORD and a clue leading the user to the next site in the hunt. The first 10 people to send all the keywords in the right order to a provided e-mail address will win a prize. This part of the contest will conclude at 12 p.m. on Thursday, December 16.
The second part of the contest will take place over 10 days. During this part of the Scavenger Hunt, virtual “easter eggs” will be hidden throughout the NDU Press Web site. Some easter eggs will only be viewable from specific browsers, adding to the challenge. Other easter eggs will highlight experimental CSS techniques pioneered by developers such as Andy Clarke and Eric Meyer. Those participants that find an easter egg will win a prize.
Join the NDU Press Holiday Scavenger Hunt!Contest prizes include a signed copy of Partnership for the Americas by Admiral James G. Stavridis, photographic prints of the National Defense University by Tara Parekh, NDU apparel, and subscriptions to Joint Force Quarterlyand PRISM.
The NDU Press scavenger hunt is part of an ongoing Department of Defense–wide effort to shift to a more participatory Web.
This past year, NDU Press made a conscious effort to focus on collaboration, site usability, and web standards. NDU Press maintains a websiteblogFacebook page and Twitter andFlickr accounts. In January, the NDU Press site was redesigned using a simple site architecture and coded in HTML and CSS. Disqus is used for site comments and runs using JavaScript. The site is tested for browser capability and articles are individual optimized for search engines.
When the site was launched in February, it attracted 711 visitors. Now the site redesign has paid off. Just last month, the NDU Press site received 6,148 unique visitors. The site offers first-class information with a focus on feedback and collaboration.
You can also find the NDU Press scavenger hunt on
The National Defense University is the Nation’s premier center for joint professional military education. The University is an accredited graduate-level institution that provides an educational and research environment to prepare future leaders of the Armed Forces and other civilian agencies for high-level policy, command, and staff responsibilities.

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