The last stop on this year’s regional website trainings concluded last week at the Coos County Office in Myrtle Point. I traveled across the state with stops at the Malheur and Union County offices (Eastern Region), Wasco and Deschutes County offices (Central Region), Klamath Basin Research & Extension Center and Josephine County offices (Southern Region), Marion County office (Western Region), Washington County office (North Willamette Region), and the Tillamook and Coos County offices (Coastal Region). Thanks to Amerie Lommen and Victor Villegas who helped out during the workshops. We live in an incredibly beautiful state. 

It was great seeing familiar faces, meeting people who I’ve only known through email, and getting to know many others. Overall, 72 people participated in the workshops. Kudos to the Regional Directors, office managers, and the others who helped schedule and coordinate the workshops. 

While I’m very familiar with the technical aspects of the Content Management System, seeing how users actually interact and create content was helpful. Thanks for sharing your process, questions and feedback! If you attended one of the workshops, and haven’t taken the post workshop survey, please do. Your feedback will help us as we plan next year’s workshops. 

If you didn’t have an opportunity to attend one of the workshops, or need more help, you can request an individual or small group Zoom web conference with me. Let me know if you are interested.

Topics that generated the most audience reaction

Box shared link settingsUsing Box for file management

Programs like 4-H have forms that change every year. In the past, to update a form, you would need to login, remove the old file, upload a new file, and change the link. Is there a better way? Did you know you can set up a shared link to directly download a file bypassing Box completely? Another great feature in Box is the ability to replace files without the link changing. This is a big plus. Users will always get the current version of the form. We recommend that you don’t include the year in your links. By not including the year, you won’t need to change anything on the website next year. The drawback of using Box  is that it takes longer initially to get things set up. The plus is next year all you need to do is replace your forms in Box and users will get the correct form, without you making any changes to the website. Box also allows you to password protect files and folders with a password you set. Creating a password protected folder is a great way to share information with volunteers. See the Extension Website User Guide for more information.

Page sections

Did you know that you can change how lists are displayed? We have multiple display options. In the Page sections area on the edit screen, click the Settings tab. There you can choose the list style. See the For Advanced Users: Page Section Settings for Custom Design page on the Extension Website User Guide for details.

The screenshots below show the same list of items but with different list styles.

List (search results) 

Grid (teaser cards)

Text (bulleted list)

For those of you who didn’t get an opportunity to participate in the workshops here are the handouts we provided to attendees.

Top 5 things you can do to help improve the Extension website

  • Simple ways you can improve the website.

Extension website help and support

  • Learn where to get website help and support.

Box logoOver the last month or so I’ve been traveling around the state giving regional website training workshops. At these workshops I’ve been promoting Box for file management, especially when you have files that change on a regular basis. One of the weaknesses of Drupal, is file management. Box offers some features to make up for that.

Programs like 4-H and Master Gardener™ have quite a few forms for volunteers and participants. Updating these forms and uploading them to the website each year can be an arduous task. 

This process involves logging into the website, locating the old file, removing it, then uploading the new file. The problem with this method is the link to the file changes. What if someone bookmarked last years form, or the file wasn’t deleted? This can lead to the dreaded Page Not Found (404) error, or a Google search result that links to last years form (not good). 

This is where Box excels. With Box, you can create a URL to the file that doesn’t change, even when you replace the 2019 form with the 2020 form. Replacing a file is a snap, and Box is version controlled. Each time you replace a file, a copy is saved in the version history. So if you make a mistake, or want to see what the old file looked like, or even revert to a previous version, you can do that right in Box. 

Box shared link settingsYou can also use Box to password protect individual file(s), or folders. Have you ever wanted to provide volunteers access to files require a password to access? This is quite simple with Box. You can even create links that expire after a particular date.

Box is far from a perfect solution however. Setting the direct link to a file is not intuitive process. It is quicker to initially upload your files to the website. Yet using Box will save you time in the long run. The initial set up is tedious, but you only have to do it once. When it’s time to update your files next year, login to Box, replace the old file and you’re done. 

See our webguide (beav.es/extension-webguide) for detailed instructions for using Box to manage files. Visit the OSU Box website for complete documentation.

We are headed your way!

Starting next week and continuing through October, EESC’s web team will be hosting regional Extension website training sessions across the state. Don’t miss this in-person opportunity to learn about the website and how you can contribute. RSVP to reserve your place.

Dates and locations:

Central Region:
Sept. 17 (Tue.), Wasco County Office (The Dalles)
Sept 18 (Wed.), Deschutes County Office (Redmond)

Western Region:
Sept. 24 (Tue.), Marion County Office  (Salem)

Coastal Region – North:
Sept 26. (Thur.), Tillamook County Office (Tillamook)

Southern Region:
Oct. 2 (Wed), Klamath County Office (Klamath Falls)
Oct. 3 (Thur.), Josephine County Office (Grants Pass)

Metro Region:
Oct. 17 (Thur.), Washington County Office (Beaverton)

Coastal Region – South:
Oct. 22 (Tue.), Coos County Office (Myrtle Point)

Note: Eastern Oregon workshops were held in April.

Agenda

Each workshop will have a morning and afternoon session. Try to attend both sessions if possible.
Note: The Wasco and Deschutes County workshops have different start and end times, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Morning session (10:00 am to 12:00 pm)
The morning session will include an overview of the Navigator project, understanding the differences and purposes of office, program, and content team groups, updating your website profile, tagging, and basic content creation.

Lunch break (12:00 pm -1:00 pm)

Afternoon session (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
After lunch we’ll dig deeper into managing landing pages, content types, tagging, best practices, tips and tricks, how to avoid duplicating content, and answering your questions.

 

Do I need to do any preparation before the workshop?

No. However, you’ll get more out of the workshop by learning about the Navigator project and skimming through the website guide beforehand.

What should I expect?

The format will be a combination of lectures, how-to demonstrations, one-on-one assistance, advice, and learning from your peers.

What should I bring?

Your ideas and questions

A WiFi enabled laptop, tablet, or pair up with a colleague.

Bring anything you want to add to the website on a flash drive, or on your laptop. We’ll show you how to add it to the website.

What will I learn?

You will learn: How to create and edit content. What tagging is and why it is important. Your role within your office, program or content team. And where to get your questions answered as you learn how the website works.

RSVP

If you are planning on coming to a workshop, please RSVP to ensure we have enough room for everyone.

Imagine if you could ask your smart speaker to search the OSU Extension website for events located near you, or ask Siri to find all of the blueberry pruning publications in the OSU Extension Catalog?

Alexa, ask OSU Extension what upcoming Master Gardener events are happening near me? 
Siri, show me all of the OSU Extension Catalog publications on pruning blueberries

While this isn’t a reality today, we designed the website to be “exportable”, giving us the  ability to send content to multiple platforms. This might take the form of a virtual assistant, like Alexa, a smartphone application, a chatbot, or whatever the future brings. None of this would be possible without all of that structured content that you all have been creating.

Today, we can interact with machines in highly intuitive, natural ways through smartphones. Virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri have changed the way we interact with machines, using technology like Natural Language Processing (NLP). 1

How people interact with computers is no longer limited to the mouse and keyboard. Recent advances in Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and voice recognition software are rapidly changing how we interact with our devices and computers. Remember when we all used floppy disks, rotary phones, and VCR’s? Do you miss them? Keyboards and mice are also destined to become relics of the past. Talking to your phone feels kind of strange to most people, myself included. I typically just use Siri for settings reminders, alarms, and timers, but much more is possible.

Siri, remind me to create a blog post on August 2nd at 2:00 pm.

For me, this is much faster than launching a program, typing and entering the date and time. Let us know how you are using virtual assistants by leaving a comment below.
OSU Extension digital strategy diafram

Here are some interesting statistics on voice activated searches. 2

  1. 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
  2. About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020
  3. 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.

Providing an engaging, high-quality online experience is a key element to the success of the Navigator project. This online experience can be enhanced by website personalization. In the future, users will be able to create a personal profile by selecting the topics, programs, projects they are interested in, and their location. We can then provide a customized dashboard highlighting the latest tagged content, local events, and much more. Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will be able to provide additional insights into users interests, based on previous interactions with Extension. Here is a simple example of how this might work. “Bob” participated in a canning workshop last fall. Chances are he might be also interested in becoming a Master Food Preserver. Knowing this, next time Bob visits the website, his dashboard displays information on the course and how to register.

Preparing for the future – part one

 

Recent website updates

  • Members of topic committees are now able to modify content tags.

 

_______________

1 https://www.axelerant.com/resources/articles/conversational-commerce-integrating-bots-with-drupal-commerce

2 https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/04/10/voice-search-statistics-2018

“Why is adding content so complicated?”, this is a question I’ve heard frequently since the website launched last year. The short answer is we’re creating Structured Content. All of those individual fields you see when creating an event (i.e., topics, programs, counties, short descriptions, etc.), these fields help us create structured content.

When your program’s event is tagged with a topic, it displays on the corresponding topic page. If you tag your event to the surrounding counties, it shows up on the event list on those counties. This increases the reach of your event.

We recently added ‘Local Focus Areas’ for county office groups that appear on the county’s “What we do” page. Local focus areas provide a way for counties to share information about your local Extension activities, work, or research. Local focus areas are intended to act as a link between counties, programs and topics.

Once a local focus area is created, other offices can link to it. When tagged with a topic, a link to the topic page automatically appears on the local focus area page. Pretty cool, but wait there’s more. When your focus area is tagged with a topic, an “In Your Community” page is generated on the tagged topic’s page. The page displays a page with a map showcasing your county’s unique work, and connects the high number of new visitors who enter the site through topic pages to learn more about what is in their county.

In your community page

Learning how to add content to the OSU Extension website does take a bit of patience, planning, and time. I think you’ll find this time well spent. In part two, we’ll explore how structured content fits into website personalization, CRM integration, chat bots and other possibilities, as we prepare for the future.

Preparing for the future – part two

Coming to a location near you

We are in the process of scheduling regional in-person website workshops. We are looking at dates in September and October and will let you know when they have been finalized. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us, submit a help ticket, or visit the Extension web guide.

Recent website updates

  • Ability to ‘feature’ an announcement to show it on your county’s landing page. By default, the newest announcement is displayed.
  • Tabbed sections, like on BEPA 2.0, are now available for use on program pages.
  • Fixed problem with misaligned map markers.

Navigator Update

As an organization, we’ve all been heads-down, working hard, and focused on the Extension website for the past year. We’ve made great progress, but this is just one component of an overall digital strategy that we call “Navigator.” It’s a good time to celebrate how far we’ve come, focus on next steps, and look ahead.

Navigor slide deck imageYou may be wondering:

  • What is Navigator?
  • How does this relate to the Extension website?
  • How does this connect to our CRM (Salesforce)?
  • What’s important for me to know or do right now?

We shared a general Navigator update at the May 17 Outreach & Engagement Quarterly conversation to answer these questions and provide more information. You can watch the recording (starts at 1:30) or view the slides. If you’re in a hurry, skip to the last two slides for tips on what to know and do right now, and where to learn more (hint: beav.es/navigator)

We’ve also revised the homepage for the project website to provide quick, easy access to common questions and helpful resources.

And as always, we welcome your comments and questions.

 

Upcoming webinars

Managing County Landing Pages and Local Focus Areas

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:00 4:00 pm
Friday, May 31, 2019 9:00 – 11:00 am

Presented by Bryan Mayjor

This series of webinars are geared towards staff and faculty who are responsible for managing County landing pages, announcements and events. Program and Content Team members are welcome to attend.

Learn about the new options for managing County landing pages, and Local focus areas.

The webinar will also cover basics such as:

  • logging in using DUO
  • editing your your website profile and photo
  • your role(s) and responsibilities

Connection details

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Meeting number: 926 421 616
https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/j.php?MTID=mba8857044232bad552e68e86dcd0310a

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 926 421 616

Friday, May 31, 2019 9:00 – 11:00 am
Meeting number: 920 145 176

https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/k2/j.php?MTID=t076ed23b5c0de87cdf34c2a4df4ba482

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 924 232 853

 

 

Extension Website updates

List of recent updates and changes:

  • County Social Media lists change of location: These used to be displayed on the sidebar navigation, now display on the landing page.
  • County faculty and staff listing: Regional Directors are now displayed at the end of list. Previously Regional Directors were listed first.
  • Ability to customize introductory text on local programs list pages (for statewide programs).
  • Fix non-local events showing in short list on landing page.
  • “Image Slider” paragraph type no longer crops images.

The Division of Outreach and Engagement is excited to welcome Mark Kindred in our newly established Salesforce developer position. Mark comes to O&E from our cousins in Ecampus where he served as a multimedia developer. His specialty was database and web app development. Prior to arriving at OSU in 2013, Mark was an entrepreneur running a consulting agency with clients in five states. In all of these professional roles, the time spent connecting with the people who are clients/stakeholders was among the most rewarding aspects of performing the work at hand. With a life that has included stints in Maryland, Alaska, Texas, and his standout favorite, Oregon, Mark’s enjoyment of unique, new places means he will enjoy the process of learning about your corner of Oregon as the role takes shape.

Mark will be working with Lucas Turpin and O&E Leadership to begin the needs assessment and alignment phase of our Customer Relationship Management implementation across O&E. During this time, don’t expect to see a lot of changes as 90% of this work will be planning to ensure our implementation aligns with the business needs of your units and the long term strategy of the university.

The team looks forward to talking with you about how CRM is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits to you.

For this  week’s post, we thought we’d start the year with a couple of tips that can save you time and frustration.

Select lists

Did you know most select lists on the Extension site are searchable? 

Just place your cursor in the select field and start typing and select.

Scenario where this would be helpful:
You are creating an event and want to tag additional counties. Just place your cursor in the select field and start typing. As you type, matches will start to appear, once you find the county you are looking for, select it by clicking it. This technique is especially helpful for selecting items from long lists, like topics.

Linking to files on Box

A common situation we come across is the need to link to documents which change often or yearly, such as a registration form. Box is a great solution for this. After uploading a document, copy the URL (web address), then use the URL for creating a program or online resource, or link to the document on a subpage. See the Box section on our File Management guide for more information.The file can be set as private (only a select list of people can access it), viewable for anyone at OSU (requires ONID authentication), or anyone with the link can access it. Once you have created the link, you can modify the file, even replace the file with the current version. Your link on your page will always work and return the latest version of the file.

Scenario where this would be helpful:
Let’s say you are a 4-H agent in Morrow County and you need to post a form for Morrow County 4-H website. By uploading the form to Box, you can replace the file each year without changing the link on your website. Then if someone has the link from last year, you can be assured that everyone is accessing this years form. Added benefit — if the form shows up in a Google search, the link will go to the current version, not last years, or the 2012 version.

New to Box? Visit the Getting Started with Box page or contact Victor Villegas for personalized help.

homepage preview

What will the new Extension website look like?

We gave a brief website demo at the Extension Annual Conference during Tuesday morning’s Administrative Update session. This was the first opportunity to share working-draft versions of a few basic landing pages, features, and content examples. See below for screenshots of the new website in progress. Click images below to view screenshot of entire page.

Thanks to the hardworking content teams for helping us achieve this exciting milestone! We are at this point only because of the feedback we’ve had during our kickoff and  planning meetings with each of you! Together, we are making good progress and on track for our March 2018 initial launch.

Homepage

homepage preview

Program page

program page

County page

county page example

Article

County page

Related content examples

related content preview

related content preview