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.

Do you have annual research reports and not sure where these should go? What about a journal article published outside OSU? Or a weekly alert that comes from your research? We have some answers to guide you in knowing whether or not this research content should go on the Extension website and next steps based on that decision.

On November 1, the archived county sites go away so if your content team hasn’t reviewed the content to see if there’s anything to update and move over, then it’s still easy enough to do in the next weeks. After that, it becomes harder once the server is taken down and the content files are backed-up in Box folders.

For combined stations or others with research related content:

If you have further questions or suggestions related to research or archived content, please contact the EESC web team for more information and discussion.