Criteria for Programs on the Extension Website

You say “program,” I say “program” so why aren’t we talking about the same thing? Extension faculty and staff find this term so useful, “program” is used in many different ways.

For the purposes of the website, we use a definition of program that is customer-driven and narrower to what some may call “programming.” This is distinct from the organizational internal structure of seven “program areas” described in the “about us” menus (with some overlap for program areas that primarily do programming). It is also distinct from the industry or discipline-specific programs that on the website show under the “topics” menu where a range of research-based educational information is shared.

To better make this distinction, the programs in the website menu are now framed under “Get Involved” to find ways people in our communities can, or do, engage with Extension as participants or volunteers in long-term, statewide recognized program activities, in projects, or at events (including classes and camps).

  • Main audience is individual members of the general public
  • Content includes events, forms, and materials for participants as program resources (only shows in the program pages or found in search)
  • Frequency of content is continuous, both in creating and sharing the content
  • Where it shows up is in the Get Involved menu, and on county and/or topic pages
  • Created by a program group that does operations for the program (vs. content team or county office)

Criteria for Projects on the Extension Website

Recently “projects” were added as new content type to address some information sharing activities or centers that did not fit the program criteria and have materials or tools that do not make sense as stand-alone content pieces. Only the “project” as a whole will show up in a search. The alternative is “collections” mentioned in the next section.

  • Audience is individuals within organizations (e.g. school districts, government agencies, industry, or other partners)
  • Closely connected content that includes information dissemination, finished “products” and supporting documentation, background research, etc.
  • Probably ongoing for some time, then “done” when funding ends or other reasons
  • Where it will show up is in the Get Involved menu, and on county, program, and/or topic pages
  • Created by a content team – see the new section on instructions for “adding projects”

For some informational centers that have a web presence outside of the Extension website, these have been added by content teams as “online resources” to the site. If they are OSU Extension activities and fit the new “project” criteria above, then contact the web team to get these set up as “projects” instead. We’ll share examples of projects in future blogs as they get set up.

Criteria for Collections on Topic Pages

The “topic” pages themselves also serve as the landing spot for sharing about work Extension is doing in different areas, such as dairy or irrigation. They provide a way to display articles, videos, Extension catalog publications, etc. together under a topic. New designs of these pages are in the works and will allow for greater organization of how content is featured and displays on the pages. In addition, content teams can make “collections” that are more specific than the topic, and the criteria includes:

  • Audience is learners, producers, and others looking for educational resources on the Extension website
  • Content is separate pieces (articles, videos, publications, etc.) that are gathered together for a specific purpose (e.g. region-specific like spiders in Central Oregon or category-specific such as water-wise landscaping)
  • Manually created, so the “collection” needs to be regularly updated to add new content
  • Where it will show up is on a topic, program, and/or county pages (the latter must add as “featured content”)
  • Created by a content team – see a previous blog post Getting Content Organized on the Website

Finally, EESC will continue to meet with program area leaders, and do usability tests with different audiences, to find ways to add visibility and improve usability of content for various stakeholders.

It’s been over two months since we launched the first phase of the Extension website, and the number of page views has increased 67% and our bounce rate (those who look and leave) has decreased 44% since the same time period before the launch.

The educational content that the Extension website provides on various topics have attracted new visitors to the website over the past two months. Half of new visitors to the site (50%)* come to read this educational content and they stay longest on these pages (3-4 minutes each).

In comparison, less than a quarter (18%) of returning visitors view the educational content and instead use the website more to engage with the on-the-ground activities.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of returning visitors to the site view programs’ resources and close to a quarter (22%) visit content provided by county offices (e.g. events, newsletters, office hours, faculty/staff). Top search terms (8 out of 10) indicate that people involved in 4-H programs have been very active during this fair season in accessing the website.

Subpages

Subpages are the side menus on county office and program pages, and these additional pages in some ways can serve as a landing spot for local relationships (i.e. a place to direct people on the website). They can also be pointers or guideposts for people to know where to find things, especially as things have changed with the launch.

Are you thinking about adding additional subpages with more information about your  county office/combined station? This can include describing the local context and expertise county-based faculty bring. If you are thinking about creating subpages, get in touch with EESC to request example formats and learn how subpages can be set up for consistency and less maintenance.

Topics

The top ten visited topics since launch are:

  1. Gardening Techniques
  2. Home Food Preservation
  3. Insects
  4. Weeds + Pastures and Forages
  5. Vegetables
  6. Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees
  7. Weeds
  8. Berries and Fruit
  9. Lawn and Turfgrass
  10. Tree Care + Forest Health and Management

These are just a few of the many topics on the website, and we expect the top visited and the total list to evolve over time. EESC will periodically adjust the topic menu as needed based on content, content team feedback, user feedback, and analytics.

This week EESC reviewed requests from content teams about adding new topics, or dividing up or renaming existing topics. We will consult with groups who have contributed content to any of the topics recommended for changes. EESC welcomes feedback from content teams about topics at any time.

Topics should:

  • Include the highest priority content for your program area
  • Be areas that will continue to get fresh content over time
  • Be easy for users to understand and be terms users would use to do a search

Criteria for requesting a new topic:

  • There is quite a bit of content
  • There is a content team associated with the topic
  • There is user feedback or other data that supports the need for and label for the topic

To provide feedback, suggest a change to existing topics, or request a new topic, contact EESC Web and Content Strategy team.

* Percentage taken from a subsection of all content (65% of total pageviews) that excludes navigational pages such as homepage, search page, list pages (list of all events, all latest content, all topics, all faculty/staff) and imported news or publications (not entered by groups).

If you are a leader of one of the Content Teams, then you may be thinking about next steps. We created a new instructional guide, and gleaned ideas from the Content Teams that have completed entering their priority content. Here’s a few steps those teams took to review and consider for inclusion their content:

  • Started the process well before the deadlines (final deadline is now set for November 1st)
  • Kept their audiences in mind to help whittle down the content most valuable to keep
  • Asked team members to review for inclusion specific content divided by region or topic
  • Rated the content by more than one person to determine if to keep, archive, or update
  • Reviewed content inventories to make sure none were missed and to check all information needed for entry was complete
  • Tasked one of the team members with learning to enter the content and responding to questions from other team members initially (some also used support professionals or hired students to help with entry)
  • Created opportunities during statewide gatherings or through webinars to collaborate with EESC to discuss feedback and train team members on how to enter content
  • Reviewed the content on the new website Topic pages and through searches to see if content was mis-tagged or missing and worked to correct it

Websites work because the people behind it are focused on better ways to make it function. This doesn’t only include the technical pieces, but also the people who make the content happen. Thank you to those who have taken the time to learn the new website and to get content reviewed, updated, and added.

If you are still learning how to add educational content or ready to shift the responsibilities and guide others on your Content Team on how to do it, the Managing Content Team’s content instructional guide is ready to use. This rounds out the other guides already available on the Training page.

Also included in it is details on File Management for when you have a document, such as a PDF, that you want to add to the Extension website. This lets you know the options, and how to make the content work best for ease of use and updating.

In the future, EESC will give you more tools to help with workflows and define clearer roles, so keep us updated on what is needed or what is working best on your Content Team.

While some people may be kicking back to relax in the summer, this season keeps the Extension Service and combined Experiment Stations busy with fairs, field days, harvests, and lots of engagement from our communities. The EESC web team also pushed ahead through June and July to complete tasks mentioned in the June 11 blog, and continues to field and respond to requested changes to the new website. Here are a few new improvements that have rolled out recently:

Print, Email, and Social Sharing

Like an article or interested in an event on the site? Web visitors can now share it on social media, print it, or email it to others. Look for the new action icons on each content page.

Find Us Faculty and Staff (A-Z)

Searching the breadth of faculty and staff in the Extension directory is now easier by clicking on the A-Z menu at the top of the page.

See All Latest Content

New content added by EESC and content teams occurs daily and scrolls across the home page. Now visitors can access all recent content by clicking a homepage button or going to the direct link to see all recent content on one page.

Entry Changes

When editing or entering new content, the web groups can now see revisions made and use the revision comments field to make internal notes.

Additionally, when you type in the title field of a new piece of content, on the right side of the screen will appear any links to existing content that may be similar to help identify duplicates.

When adding a photo to the website that has limited permissions, mark the “Don’t allow reuse of this image” checkbox that appears when selecting the image.

Also, when saving content as a “draft”, “in review”, “archived”, or “published”, you can now sort by this status, and by author, all the content entered by your group. This helps to monitor content entered as needed.

Coming Next

  • Improved text and spacing on desktop computer screens
  • Design changes for different sections of the website
  • Behind the scenes development that make future features possible

Keep sending us your questions or changes that you see needed through our Web Support.

Many teams are working hard to add content to the new Extension website, but need just a little more time. The decision to move the deadline from August 1 to November 1 for accessing the archived Extension content gives more time for content teams to review and assess what is needed before the old content goes completely offline.

The migration process centers around collaborating among team members and learning how to manage content in the new site structure, and that coordination and education can take time.

Persisting in the effort through the summer may be needed to get through all the archived content and to tap seasonal student workers to help with the content entry. Some teams may also decide to prioritize entry of resources that need to be available during this busy summer season. If there is content you are waiting on, contact the content team leader to learn its status.

Other changes this week

The OSU events calendar will start showing Extension events this week. Once you enter events into the Extension website, they will automatically get exported (except attached flyers) to the OSU events calendar so you only have to enter it once. This provides additional outreach for Extension events as they get highlighted university-wide. Any new events or updates on the Extension website are transferred to the OSU calendar at the start of each day.

Other changes this week include the EESC web team reducing our office hours, since the number of people attending has tapered off post-launch. People can still inquire during office hours on Fridays 2-4 pm, or email to set up an individual meeting time during the week. You are always welcome to contact us as needed.

It’s fun to see new content that is put up on the OSU Extension website. County pages continue to fill out as the web groups add events and announcements. Thanks to those who are taking the time to add eye-catching photos! It’s also important to add in contact name and email to all events, so they are ready in the coming weeks to be exported to the OSU calendar (which requires this information).

Topic pages also are filling in as more Content Teams add educational materials, and as EESC begins adding more regional and topical tags to news and publications. If you don’t know what to tag your content with, see the full list of tagging options. If you spot something that is mis-tagged or missing on a Topic page, let us know and we can look into correcting it.

Newsletters with a New Format

You can also add newsletters from any group now, and it’s the same process for all groups.

  1. Create your main newsletter landing page that tells what the newsletter generally is about or who it is for. Find a link to do this when creating a “newsletter issue” in your group.
  2. Create an individual “newsletter issue” by adding text, a link, or uploading a file, and associate it to that main newsletter page. Every issue will be tagged this way.
  3. You are only able to add issues to a newsletter that was created in your group.
  4. Finally, add that newsletter with a “button link” or select it as “featured content” on your county or program page. You only need to do this once.
  5. Check out full details in the Guides on managing content.

As with events, you need to communicate with other groups to make sure you’re not duplicating efforts and so they know the newsletter is ready to be added to their county or program pages.

Keyword Improvements

We cleaned up the keyword list that consists of 700+ terms and helps to narrow down search results and topic pages by filtering on a specific term. Keywords are custom to content you add, and it will help to keep them under control and reduce duplication if you:

  1. Reuse existing keywords if possible. As you type in the keyword box, keywords that already exist and match what you typed will appear in a list where you can select them.
  2. Use all-lowercase letters unless the keyword contains a proper noun.
  3. Try to use nouns whenever possible (instead of adjectives or verbs). E.g. “sustainability” instead of “sustainable”.
  4. Only use one “form” of each keyword. E.g. don’t tag a piece of content with both “apple” and “apples”.
  5. Don’t repeat information in other fields. E.g. if you have tagged content with the region “Central Oregon”, you don’t need to add it as a keyword.
  6. Avoid acronyms.
  7. Use keywords that could apply to more than one piece of content.
  8. Each keyword should contain a single idea. E.g. instead of “trees and shrubs” use the separate keywords “trees” and “shrubs”.
  9. Keywords need to be separated by a comma.
  10. These tips are saved in the “Getting Started” guide.

Change Your Own Profile

Finally, you can now edit your own profile whether or not you are in a web group. Just log in with your ONID at the link at the bottom of the website and you can:

  • Upload your headshot photo
  • Add or edit your bio
  • Select your expertise (to be shown as an Expert on a Topic page)

For other changes to your or other’s profiles, contact our support team.

Training & FAQs

EESC had a good turnout for the Webinar for Extension Faculty/Staff Working on the Website on June 12, 2018, which was recorded. We had a lot of questions and have posted responses under the FAQ section. Thank you for all your efforts to jump in and learn about the website through hands-on experience.

Groups

Also, since our webinar many people have been contacting us to be added to web team groups so they can add content to the website. Group managers are able to add new members to their group.

Something to keep in mind: County-based faculty need to be working with content/program groups to add content to the website rather than through county office groups. This is a change from in the past. Some people may be in more than one group based on the type of content they need to add. This is explained in the first part of the webinar and on the Content Teams page, but please have people contact us if they need further clarification.

Newsletter

EESC will be rolling out a “newsletter” content type in the next weeks. We will be moving over existing ones into this new format for you. For any upcoming newsletters, we’ll add information to the “managing content” guides online to show all groups how you can add any newsletters. More coming soon!

Contact us

Other than this web upgrade project website, which is full of all the training information mentioned, EESC is available through WebEx each week in our web team’s office hours to also walk you through questions you may have.

These two weeks since the launch have been a transition period, and we are doing our best to guide you through it. This is happening through the EESC web team’s:

A few quick pieces of information that everyone entering content should know:

  • When adding content, it defaults to published. If you want to save it as a “draft” or “for review” in the unpublished state, there is now a drop-down field or checkbox above the Save button.
  • Content teams need to add “regional” tags and if relevant “MG ___county” program tags in Step 2 of the edit screen, so information that is unique to one area of Oregon can be narrowed down in search results or, if relevant, show up on Master Gardener county pages.
  • Newsletters are currently added differently depending on the group you are in. Content groups add them as “educational documents,” program groups as “program resources,” and counties as “button links” to e-news or Box. We are working on long-term solutions to make adding and displaying newsletters easier and better for everyone. For now, contact us to talk through your newsletter questions and needs, and we’ll help you develop the best short-term approach.
  • Archive sites can be found by typing “archive” in front of the old URL, e.g. https://archive.extension.oregonstate.edu/[mycounty]. These will only be available until August 1st, so content needs to be added on the new site or saved in Box by then.
  • Photos can be uploaded using the thumbnail image buttons in your edit screen. Be sure to only upload photos that you have permission to use, or photos from EESC’s Photo Archive. Include photos that represent your diverse participants.

We are also making small changes to public views and behind the scenes based on feedback in these initial weeks. Here are updates we are working on over the next few weeks:

  • Exporting Extension events into the OSU Events calendar, which will need to require the event description, contact name and contact email address fields (look for this change later in the week)
  • Guiding content teams on best ways to complete migration of content before August 1 when the archive sites go away
  • Adding regional tags and keywords to the EESC gardening stories and news to improve their findability
  • Investigating and working on improving website performance
  • Improving and providing more instruction/examples of how to display or order content in auto-populated sections of the website
  • Focusing on the overall design to improve usability, readability, and look/feel of the web pages
  • Continuing to monitor analytics to learn how audiences are using our new site and content.

Keep sending us your questions or changes that you see needed through our Web Support.

OSU Extension has been serving Oregon for more than 100 years, and our previous website debuted in 2011. It was time for an upgrade. We are proud to be able to better showcase your content, expertise, resources, and opportunities on our new website, launched earlier today.

Thank you, OSU Extension! Whether you provided input during the research phase, serve on a content team, create or review content, participated in a webinar to learn more, or just read emails and blog posts about the project to stay informed, you helped us reach this milestone.

What has changed for our audiences?

  • Central place from which to access and explore all OSU Extension offers, including all statewide programs
  • Thanks to our content teams, the best of our content is now all in one place, with better search and filter options.
  • Content organized by easy-to-find topics, with user-focused labels
  • Mobile-friendly, responsive, on-brand design (which we continue to improve and refine)
  • Ability to find an OSU Extension location “near me” (this functionality will be added for other content in the future)

What is the same?

  • The Extension home page (extension.oregonstate.edu) as well as all county home pages (e.g. extension.oregonstate.edu/baker) have the same URL as before.
  • Some statewide programs have opted to maintain their current external site at this time. Content teams, program leaders, and the project team are developing transition plans on a case-by-case basis.

What has changed for us?

  • You should feel lighter! Hundreds of outdated, orphaned documents that were never deleted or archived are now offline and no longer show up in Google searches.
  • Content coordinated by teams, ensuring alignment with audience needs and program priorities and avoiding redundant efforts.
  • No more duplicate content. For example, OSU Extension Catalog publications are automatically added to the site, so no one needs to re-post these. Content can also be easily shared among various topics, counties, and programs as applicable.

The recent status report takes a look at what is on the website now, and we’ll share project updates in the coming months as the website continues to evolve.

What to do now?

As you explore the new website, you may be surprised! Maybe it’s a different way of finding information (we’ll be doing some demos about this in the coming week). Or maybe you didn’t know we had so much information on a particular topic.

Here are some things you can do now to explore and help improve our site.

  • Join the New Extension Website webinar on Monday, June 4, 2018, 1:00-2:00 p.m. for an overview of the website and to tour its new features.
  • Do a search or browse and see what you find. If you come across something that doesn’t look right, let us know. It will take time to get the tagging and displays fine-tuned on the site.
  • If you identify missing content, please contact the EESC project team. We will be able to help content teams access previous content so it can be reviewed, updated, and integrated into the new website.
  • It may take a month or two for the new webpages to get reindexed in Google, so it’s good to link to our new content, and encourage our audiences to do so as well. One place to begin doing this is to highlight new pages on social media.

What happens next?

We want OSU Extension’s web presence to become a go-to, trusted resource. And knowing that people often turn online for answers, we want to be sure they find us.

We’re committed to making OSU Extension’s web presence data-informed and user-driven, and we will need your ongoing support and feedback. You can expect regular updates on how the website is reaching our audiences, and how to be involved in keeping it fresh, findable, and accurate. If you have suggestions or questions at any time, please contact us.

As we go forward, we will need to continue working together to develop and sustain a true strategic approach to our online content and digital engagement. It isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.

Switching on a new website, as we mentioned last week, can be like turning on a light—only more complex. Our new website shines a spotlight on the amazing work that OSU Extension does in helping Oregonians–and Oregon–thrive. You help that happen. Your partnerships, community relationships, programs, information, and expertise guide this work. Our new web presence captures your efforts and can help extend Extension’s reach and deepen our engagement with those we serve.

Sometime this week—barring any major issues to delay it—we will turn on the switch and you will notice a difference at http://extension.oregonstate.edu. This new web presence is just the beginning of a more engaging digital strategy. Together we will work to continue to refine and enhance the website and related strategies and systems.

If we run into any unforeseen delays or issues, we’ll post updates here and email affected groups as needed.

New website features at-a-glance

  • Mobile-friendly, responsive design
  • More visual design, with vibrant photos
  • Content from across Extension in one place with improved search and filter options
  • Content organized by easy-to-find topics, with user-focused labels
  • Consistent county presence
  • Central place from which to access and explore all OSU Extension offers, including all statewide programs
  • Content easier to enter and maintain
  • Content coordinated by teams, avoiding duplication and redundant effort
  • Visual design aligned with OSU brand; messaging beginning to align with OSU Extension sub-brand

Please keep in mind design modifications and content entry continue this week and will remain an iterative process even after the launch.

After the launch

If you have feedback or requests following the launch—from “Where is all my content?” to “What an amazing search tool!”—the EESC support team is ready to listen, consider, share, and celebrate.

Notice any power surges or flickering lights initially? We will continue to monitor and modify what is needed as we move into Phase 2 of the website upgrade project. This part of the web upgrade will evaluate how the website is performing and find new ways for the design and content to meet our goals and our audience’s interests and needs.

With much appreciation

For now stay tuned for news on the launch. A big thank you to all the Extension teams that worked hard to make it happen! You sifted through a lot of content, evaluated, revised, and uploaded much of it. The website content is stronger for your expertise and collaboration.

If you have questions at any time, please contact the project team.