We gave a sneak-peak of the new county landing page design at the Extension Annual Conference during Tuesday morning’s “Ask the Experts About the New Extension Website” session. See design below.

In January on your county’s landing page (homepage), you will be able to add a large hero image, background photos or shading, and calls to action. You can add a ‘quick links bar’ featuring four links to social media, events, newsletters, etc. Also highlight priority county/local programs, activities and resources.

Below is an example of Yamhill County that shows different design features you can apply. Think about how your current content will best fit into this style and where you need to write some text or find some photos.

Full details on how to create this look will be provided when design elements are ready on the live website. Please send us questions or what you think about the new designs!

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your feedback at the Extension Annual Conference. And thank you for your continued hard work to create and add content to the website.  We know this process isn’t always easy or straight forward. Together, we are making good progress! The website is growing as a place where Oregonians can come and easily find the amazing content you create and provide. We appreciate your hard work in making this site awesome!

Design with annotations

This is the design for large screens (desktop). Note: The wider you make your browser, the larger you will see the design. View full-sized annotated design.

Design without annotations

View full-sized design.

As November comes to a close, we have new instructional videos for those working behind the scenes on the website. These show the basics you need to know, and are also explained further in the written training guides. You can learn how to:

  • Update your personal profile information
  • Add events, announcements, or newsletters
  • Improve how an image displays
  • Link to another web page or resource

More videos will be coming out next month. In the meantime, you can also get an in-person demonstration during the Extension annual conference. Join us on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm for our session “Ask the Experts about the New Extension Website” in Corvallis. The whole web team will be on hand to listen and walk through your questions and challenges. We will also explore how to more effectively search and find resources on the website, so you can better assist Extension clients. If you cannot attend, reach out to us about doing a virtual session this winter.

Over the past month, many different meetings generated suggestions for website improvements that can be helpful for all teams and visitors. Thank you for taking the time to share your issues and explore the options. Now we want to update you on changes you can start seeing today.

The most requested change included control over how content is displayed and organized on the topic pages. Content experts who volunteer to be on topic committees can now do this type of curation (contact the web team or a content team leader if interested in serving on a topic committee).

Other improvements the web team focused on included events, search, and navigation. Here are some of the recently implemented changes on the site that will make for easier access:

Auto-labeling Events

Events that used to list the name of the group that added the event (e.g. Lincoln County Event) now will just say the city/town hosting the event, so it makes sense no matter where it is posted.

Displaying Events

Events now show in chronological order on county and program pages since the events tagged for the county/program are now mixed in with the ones created by that county/program.

Navigation

When visitors see an event or resource of interest to them, they can now click on the teaser photo in addition to the title to get to it, which makes it easier for touch-screens.

Search

Results that bring up documents (e.g PDF files) directly, now allow a visitor to click on it to open or save, and/or to click on a link that brings them to the page where it can be found, so they can see other related resources too.

Segmenting Events

The county or program subpages can now just show specific events by category. Just add the events list (gray button) and select the “calendar” you want to display. Events marked with that calendar will show up on the subpage. Currently, only Forestry Extension is available as a calendar, but you can request other ones be added by EESC.

Subpage Navigation

Programs can now create nested sidemenus (i.e. subpages under subpages) for additional subdivisions of information. Learn more in the program guide (or if a 4-H program, click here).

New Window

Some people requested that external links (i.e. online resources) and PDFs open up in a new window, so people aren’t taken away from the Extension website. This will not be changed since it needs to be set this way for accessibility overall and on mobile devices.

Still Coming

Additional changes to the events, search, and other features will be coming based on feedback over the past month.

Also, a new look to the program and county pages is currently being worked on, which may address some other suggested improvements. More details on these will come in future blog posts.

If you have other needs or questions, please feel free to contact our web support team.

Thank you to all the early adopters of the new website – your efforts over the past months pave the way for others who are just getting started.

It’s through your willingness and persistence to try out and report on your experiences in using the Extension website that helps the web team make iterative changes and improvements, and to spot any irregularities that can occur when so much customization happens. As you have shown, this hands-on experience makes the website’s new structure less of a mystery and prepares for the digital way forward.

The opportunity to shape the website involves everyone at Extension regardless of whether you are on a content team or not. We are still in the early stages of this transition process from a minimal viable product to one that continually evolves to meet your goals and audience needs. It’s not too late to get onboard.

Be a Topic Steward

Have you looked at the Topic menu pages and wondered why a certain resource is at the top of the page, or found it difficult to locate the useful resource you always used to direct people to? If this describes you, then you may want to be part of a topic committee that decides what to feature on these topic pages, and how to organize it in a way your audiences will understand. You might also discover cool new content others are uploading that you didn’t know about before. Contact the web team if you have topic expertise and interest in this opportunity.

Be Recognized

If you work with Extension we want to see your updated profile and headshot photo on the site. To do this, anyone can click on the “My Account” link at the bottom of the Extension website and log in with their ONID to make directory changes. People will then be able to see you on the county/combined station office pages, or if you select one of the topics in the “Expertise” field of your profile, then you’ll be recognized under “Meet the Experts” on a topic page.

Be Informed

At the web launch in June, the county and combined stations stopped being the place where educational content lived. It now can be found under the Topic menu pages. The roles of the office staff also changed for the most part, as this type of content is now entered by content and program teams, and this frees up some of their time to prepare for the client database system that will need attention to enter and maintain contacts in 2019. For a visual of the journey through the new strategy, and milestone details see Phase 2 of the Timeline.

Thanks for getting involved and joining other Extension faculty, staff and leaders whose efforts have helped get the heavy lifting done, and now need a team to help carry it forward.

As the website continues to evolve, Extension faculty and staff can stay on top of updates and share your input through events this month. EESC is gearing up for web trainings, and giving web status and strategy reports to different groups throughout October. Here is what is coming up:

  • Friday, October 5th at 9am – 12pm: 4-H program groups listening and practice session at the Linn County Extension office. Open to all 4H web teams – bring questions and content you want to enter.
  • Tuesday, October 9th at 2:45 – 3:30 pm: Regional Directors meeting presentation with a focus on overall web strategy, county and combined station website status, and next steps.
  • Wednesday, October 10th at 11 am – 12 pm: Combined stations webinar to address website questions about the combined station web pages and to discuss the best place for research content.
  • Weeks of October 15th – 26th: Leadership meetings by program area to highlight the website’s current progress, discuss content strategies, and make plans going forward.

The web team also provides webinars or in-person meetings on request (a few are already being discussed). We will also meet up all together again for a session “Ask the Experts about the New Extension Website” on Tuesday, December 4 at 2:15 – 3:15 pm at the Extension Annual Conference in Corvallis.

To get information about any of these events, please contact our web team. See you there!

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.