Lately, people have been wondering how to share their recent Zoom recordings and handouts, and how to let communities know we’re still providing useful activities and resources. The website can play a part in this communication, alongside your emails, social media, newsletters and outreach to local media. We have some guidelines and examples and considerations to get you started and coordinated related to: Prepping recordings, Program pages, County pages.

County pages

The county landing page already is a spot to feature your current events, your newsletter and feature a few new pieces of content either from your county or statewide news and resources. You can also use announcements to share resources like Lincoln county.

This action of keeping your landing page fresh shows you are active. Featuring a couple pieces of new content could be done at the same time you are pulling together your newsletter.

If you have a lot of new resources, then keep your focus areas under “What we do” updated too. In addition to announcements, Lincoln county added a new focus area to encourage supporting local food, for example.

We’ve also had requests from other regions that they want one place to showcase all that’s happening across their program areas. In this case, an “Online resources and activities” focus area can be featured at the top of your What We Do section on your homepage.

Here’s an example that we will push out to counties later this week, which you can customize.

We want to elevate visibility and awareness of OSU Extension’s work with Oregon communities with particular focus on local and county-level impact and resilience in the face of COVID-19. Next week we’ll share another focus area template to help you in directing people on where to find local food, health and financial assistance too.

Program pages

Other than the event lists, program subpages are a good place to communicate with participants and volunteers in your program what new resources you have that they can do at home. The key is coordinating how these resources are added, although the design on the page can vary.

Here’s a short decision tree.

  1. Is the new resource only relevant to your local program in your county?
    1. Yes, add as a program resource to your local program group.
    2. No, see below.
  2. Is the new resource of interest to or being duplicated by other local programs in other counties?
    1. Yes, add as a statewide program resources and tag for the local county programs. This way it only needs to be updated in one place.
    2. 4-H Jackson county is an example that could be done this way since they have good resources that could be of interest to other 4-H county programs that are also adding new home activities subpages.
  3. Is the new resource of interest to other statewide programs and the general public?
    1. Work with related faculty to add through a content team as an educational material and tag for the program(s). This way it can show up on topic pages too.
    2. Oregon Master Naturalist is an example that shifted to this way.

Prepping and sharing your recordings

Content teams have shifted to giving virtual programming since the pandemic started. When giving your programming as a scheduled webinar, the recordings are posted in OSU MediaSpace within hours. You can use this recording in several ways, but there’s a few things you need to do first.

Make sure that you have informed attendees it is being recording and received the needed permissions from those attending. Please remember that recording meetings or events with youth is prohibited without express consent from their parent or guardians. See specifics on the Virtual Extension program delivery page.

To ensure we meet our ADA responsibility, please request captions for your Kaltura video, and proof and fix any issues. This will ensure the recorded content is as widely accessible as possible.

  • You may need to edit your Kaltura video to snip the beginning or end of your recording. You can find instructions here.
  • Check in if you have any branding for pre and post-production to be added.
  • Lastly you will need to share your video.

Once you have completed these steps, you can post the video on the website.

  1. Add the recording link to the event page (which can still be found by searching on the website after the event) along with any handouts. However, don’t share publicly “meetings”, especially that contain youth in the recording, on the website. See program delivery info on Zoom safety and security on our Virtual Extension website.
  2. Get the attendee list from your Zoom Oregon State report dashboard afterward and email it to them. Contact us for any questions on getting that list.
  3. Add the video on the related county focus area if the content is a webinar not meant for broader distribution (check with the appropriate content team first). See a Coos county example.
  4. See if faculty want to edit portions of the webinar to add as educational content through their content team. Visitors to the site often want quick answers not whole webinars when they find videos on the site.

You still want people to attend the program, rather than just wait to find the recording. The value of people attending the webinar live is that they can engage with you and other participants – a chance to ask questions and network. However, analytics on numbers of views of the recordings could be included in your Digital Measures reporting.

Web updates

It is important for our learners, stakeholders and funders to know that OSU Extension continues to actively serve, engage, respond and innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic—even while locations are closed and employees are working remotely.

To align with the current way we deliver services, we adjusted small but meaningful wording on the site:

  • We adjusted the emergency announcement from emphasizing we are closed to we are still here for you with related resources.
  • We made it clearer on the homepage how we are offering many online events from across the state.
  • We made sure that postponed events are now separate from active events.
  • We shared information on wearing a face covering on county sites.
  • We feature new resources on the homepage and COVID-19 topic page, like the new “Sewing cloth face coverings for beginners” educational gallery.

We also improved the speed at which you can enter and update content behind-the-scenes.

The Linn County ‘Forestry and Natural Resources’ focus area is a great example of a county focus area. These are some of the things we love:

What you can do now

Review your focus areas pages. Is there anything you can do to improve the text or images based on the example above?

See: How to create a focus area.

Website updates

Updated functionality for timezones. For example, in Malheur County the currently open/closed information displays correctly in real-time. It also displays MST/MDT next to office hours and events as appropriate.

UPDATED 5/14/2020

We want people to understand what OSU Extension does and how it is relevant for their lives. This isn’t easy, we provide resources for many topics and our impact is challenging to summarize.

Below are some tips when writing for county pages:


Make it easy to read

  • Read the text out loud. Are there sentences where you need to slow down? Is the sentence long? Try breaking the information up into smaller sentences. Consider removing some information.
  • Write for a general audience. The target audience for county landing pages is the general public. Aim for an eighth-grade reading level. Use terms that are general and understandable for people unfamiliar with OSU Extension. Avoid using program names and internal jargon when possible.
  • Write directly to the reader: Whenever possible use ‘you’. We serve you. Avoid ‘clientele’, ‘customers’, and ‘audience’.
  • More tips: See writing for the web.
  • Helpful tools:
    • Hemingway Editor: Estimates the reading level. Highlights text that is hard to read. Is free. See how to use Hemingway Editor.
    • Jargon tool: A very easy way to see what words are jargon. Rates how well the words are known.

Tips for planning your website text

The county page design has places to share different parts of our story.

County landing page

Intro text
Show the ways this county helps Oregonians; The breadth and relevance of OSU Extension; And the many ways they can learn with us. Keep it brief. Keep the words simple and easy to understand. And very easy to scan.

We recommend using this text:

OSU Extension in Malheur County
OSU Extension’s network of teachers, experts, mentors and volunteers is at your service, across Oregon and here at home. Learning with you. Sharing knowledge. Putting lessons into practice.

 

When we work together, we can create positive change in our communities. Helping farmers and gardeners grow healthy foods. Strengthening our economic and ecological future. Helping people of all ages, families and communities thrive. And much more. We’re here to help.

 

How we serve you
We provide reliable, research-based education and advice to help you make informed decisions. Access is affordable—often free. Learn through one-on-one conversations with experts, workshops, conferences, publications, hotlines, online classes, and youth development clubs and activities.

This paragraph was developed by Ann Marie Murphy, our OSU Extension Marketing Manager. The text matches the language we’ll use for the new OSU Extension brochure.

OSU Extension in Malheur County is a road sign to show users where they are on the site.

For the intro, avoid sharing how we work — or who we are (this comes later). Don’t include:

  • Our program names
  • About trained-volunteers
  • Community partners
  • Academic terms (use ‘gardening’ instead of ‘horticulture’)
  • Complex things we do, using terms the general public isn’t very familiar with: ‘collaborative community coalitions’ or ‘family and community health’
  • The word: problem(s)

First we help them understand what we do, then we tell them how or why we do it.


‘What we do’ page

Intro
This is a great place to share more details on how we help Oregonians. And how we provide our services.

We recommend using this text:

OSU Extension faculty, staff, and trained volunteers work alongside partners across Deschutes County to provide educational workshops, activities, and services tailored to the unique industries, natural resources, and people in our communities. [Optional history info, for example: We’ve been working in Jefferson County since 1935.]

 

Oregon State University’s land grant mission drives us to conduct research and share research-based education to minimize community risk, improve economic vitality, and promote personal and environmental health.

 

[Optional partnership info, for example: OSU Extension is a partnership of USDA at the federal level, OSU at the state level, and Harney County.]

We don’t recommend including:

  • Our program names (i.e. Family and Community Health). Include this information on focus areas.

Note: The “what we do” section provides some concrete examples of information that can be learned about in this county. About section can be a great place to include impact information, this displays further down on the page.


Focus areas

Titles
Create concise, easy to understand titles.

  • Is the title is getting too complicated? Perhaps there are too many topics contained within one focus area. Try breaking it into multiple focus areas.
  • Is the title too long? Try removing some of the information or adding it to the description.

Title example:

  • Livestock
  • Home food preservation and safety
  • Small Farms
  • Field crops
  • Nutrition and healthy living
  • Youth activities

Description
Briefly outline the benefits. The description text shows on the “What we do page”.

Example title and description:

Activities for youth: 4-H empowers young people with hands-on learning experiences to help them grow and thrive. By creating a safe and welcoming environment, young people develop the skills needed to make a positive impact on the world around them.

Home garden and landscape: We provide research-based information for backyard gardeners and green industry professionals, including regional specific information.


Working together on county pages

We will be collaborating with each county on developing their county pages. This will include optimizing the use of the website’s design, refining landing pages and creating focus areas.


Website updates

  • Checkout the updates to the statewide 4-H including user-friendly menu and the great way they are using the website’s designs! Nice work!
  • There is a new youth development topic page. It is ready for programs and focus areas to add this topic tag to your content. Educational content for the public can show on this topic page.

Now that the new county designs have launched, it’s time to focus on filling out content for your county’s focus areas. Here are some tips to get you started. Also, if you’re in Eastern Oregon, the web team is coming your way for a training this week (see more at the end of this blog post).

1. Review some examples

  • View a mockup of a local focus area at the end of this post. Includes annotations.
  • Review examples of county pages using the redesign and new focus areas: Tillamook county and Washington county. From the county page, click “What we do” in the county’s navigation. Items under “Highlights” are focus areas. We appreciate these county’s help with testing their current content in the new designs!

2. Choose user-friendly titles

When writing a title for your focus area, we recommend:

  • User-friendly titles: Use terms that are general and understandable for people unfamiliar with OSU Extension. Avoid using program names and internal jargon when possible.
  • Encouraging action: Show people how they can become involved (e.g., use “Preserve food at home” instead of “Food preservation”).
  • Concise titles: If a desired focus area is too big to use a simple phrase because it includes too many topics, it should probably be broken into multiple focus areas.

Here are some examples:

  • Activities for youth
  • Caring for your forestland
  • Grow your gardening skills
  • Start or grow your small farm
  • Preserve food at home

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like some help identifying focus area titles or how to organize content to fit within focus areas.

3. Select which types of local focus area

There are three options for focus areas:

  • 1) Display a custom page: this includes a place to add information about the local context, related resources, contact info, etc. See mockup at end of this blog post for an example.

Or, link to existing content:

  • 2) Link to a local program (for 4-H or MG): Links will take visitors directly to the landing page for that local program (i.e. Benton County 4-H).
  • 3) Link to an existing focus area in another county: if you would like to display a focus area that has been added by a different county (e.g. for a regional focus area), select it here. Links will take user directly to that focus area.

Select which desired option under “How to display” when creating a local focus area.

4. Create or edit a focus area

Read last week’s blog post for training materials to get started on creating or editing your focus areas.

The following focus areas have been or will been created for you:

  • Any content that is currently within county sub-pages. We’ll transition this content to focus areas for you.
  • 4-H and Master Gardener: These have been added. They link directly to county program pages (e.g., Gilliam County 4-H)
  • Gardening: A template for gardening is being developed.

You can change the order of focus areas on the ‘What we do’ page and select which three to include on the county landing page.

New locations for content in new design

County programs & local focus areas
Three focus areas are set to display on the county landing pages. The ‘What we do’ page also includes:

  • All focus areas: listed under the  ‘Highlighted’ heading.
  • Programs offered: Include all programs on the OSU Extension site that have been tagged with your county. See what is a program on the OSU Extension website.

Links to the ‘What we do’ page are in your county’s navigation. Links to 4-H and Master Gardener can now be found with focus areas.

Social media & newsletters
When the content is for:

  • The county as a whole (e.g., county newsletter): These go in the orange quick link bar on the county landing page.
  • A particular topic or program (e.g., Eastern Oregon Gardening Newsletter): These go in the orange quick link bar on the relevant local focus areas. County Master Gardener and 4-H social media are already part of local program pages, but can also be added to relevant focus areas.

We recommend using announcements to promote new newsletter issues.

County subpages
Content that is currently in county subpages will be transitioned to local focus areas by EESC. If we aren’t sure how to make the content fit, we’ll work with you to find a solution.

Eastern Oregon website trainings this week

You are invited to attend in-person trainings in Eastern Oregon this week:

  • Malheur County office on Wed., April 24: 10am-noon, lunch break, then continues 1-3pm. If anyone wants more personal, hands on instruction, contact Bobbi Howell.
  • Union County office on Thurs., April 25: 10am-noon, lunch break, then continues 1-3pm. If anyone wants more personal, hands on instruction, contact Sherry Nantz.

The trainings will focus on using the new county page designs. Please bring your questions and a laptop if possible, so we can work with you on your county pages. For questions about the location or accommodation, please contact Bobbi Howell (Malheur County) or Sherry Nantz (Union County). For questions related to the training, contact Bryan Mayjor or Victor Villegas.

Getting help

  • Attend our office hours starting April 26th on Tuesdays and Fridays. Visit by WebEx, in person or by phone.
  • As always, you are welcome to contact us if you have a question or suggestion.

Mockups & a shout out

A shout out to Carrie Berger and the forestry team for the awesome content they developed for county subpages! This content provided an inspiration and starting place for the focus area mockups below.

Focus area mockup with annotations.
Click mockup to view larger version.

Focus area mockup.
Click mockup to view larger version.

The updated designs provide a way to share and highlight what OSU Extension does within our counties and helps to:

  • Provide a landing spot for local relationships: These pages provide a place where people can find what is offered in their county and learn the local context of programs and other county offerings.
  • Provide guidance for finding resources: These pages provide ways to help users visiting county pages find educational resources on the OSU Extension website.
  • Decrease duplicate content entry: When one faculty member works in multiple counties, focus areas provide a way for them to enter county or region specific information about a topic or program. This info can then be shared on other relevant counties.
  • Prioritize local content: Local events and announcements will be given priority. They will display before and display separate from other tagged events (e.g., other events you might be interested in).

What is coming this week

  • County landing pages: We updated the county designs based on your feedback and posted the new county designs.
  • Local focus area content: County offices can highlight what you do in your county and share the local context. See below for an example.
  • What we do page: This page displays a list of local focus areas and programs offered in this county.
  • County events: There will be a new events page to display all county related events. And ways to highlight a few upcoming events on county landing page and on focus areas.

Please keep in mind design modifications will remain an iterative process. Expect the look and feel to evolve, the functionality to be fine-tuned.

Shout outs

Thank you to Amy Schmid, Jenifer Halter and Laurie Gibson for working with us last week to help us test out county content in the new county designs.

How to prepare

  • Review new county designs and think about any content you need to create.
  • Find or take a photo of your county office to help people find your building. This will display with the county contact info.
  • See training options below.
  • County group coordinators, keep an eye out for an email from us this week when the changes and new features are live and ready for you to use.

Training

  • Watch video on how to create local focus areas.

Visit our new user guide to learn:

Getting help and providing feedback

  • Contact us to schedule one-on-one help sessions
  • Attend office hours. Our team will be available for weekly office hours after the new county designs launch.
  • As always, you are welcome to contact us if you have a question or suggestion.

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your feedback and challenges related to the county pages and the site as a whole. Please continue to share any feedback on how these changes are working for your counties and teams.

Examples of new county page designs

Example county landing page

Example focus area