This FAQ page provides answers to common questions about the OSU Extension web upgrade project. This resource will be updated as needed.
  • General
    • What will be different?
    • When is this happening?
    • Can I make changes to existing site content now?
    • How can I stay up to date and learn more?
    • How can I share a comment, question, or concern?
    • Will our new web presence be suitable for mobile devices?
  • County and program content
    • What will happen to county sites?
    • What will happen to program sites?
    • Will we be able to have pages with county-specific information?
  • Content teams
    • What does a content team do?
    • What if there is content that overlaps across teams?
  • Sounds great, but…
    • Who will post updates and put content in the new website?
    • Will we be able to do [x] like we do now?
    • Will we be able to post events, with links to register and pay?
    • Penn State’s site does [x]. I don’t think that will work for us, our audiences, or our content.
    • How can we maintain connections to our respective college websites?
    • If content is managed centrally, will there be delays in making updates or time-sensitive changes?
    • If we post something, can it automatically show in multiple places?
    • Can we connect Ideal Logic, Digital Measures, and other systems with the new website?
    • What is content strategy and why do we need one?

General

What will be different?

The breadth and depth of content from across OSU Extension will be housed in one web framework (not a network of separate sites), organized around topics. Content will be driven by and managed by programs (via content teams), based on audiences and goals. Internal content (employee resources) will be on a separate site.

See strategies at a glance for details.

When is this all happening?

See timeline and milestones for details.

Can I make changes to existing site content now?

Yes. Any work you do now to improve content will help with what we are working toward.

How can I stay up to date and learn more about the project?

The project blog is the primary resource for project information, FAQs, and status updates.

How can I share a question, comment, or concern?

Please contact the EESC project team, and we will reply as soon as possible. We want to hear from you. Your feedback will help us improve our communication plan and this project blog, especially the FAQs.

If you have a question about particular content on an existing website, please connect with the appropriate content team. If a content team does not yet exist for that topic, please contact the appropriate program leader.

Will our new web presence be suitable for mobile devices?

Yes. OSU Extension’s new web presence will have a mobile-friendly theme and design.

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County and program content

What will happen to county sites?

Content teams are responsible for coordinating statewide to take stock of existing content, evaluate it, organize it, and begin entering it into the new website. This includes content on current county sites. This work occurs in collaboration with the project team.

Counties will continue to have a presence in the CMS but will not be responsible for designing or maintaining a separate website. County landing pages will dynamically include contact information, staff directories, and relevant content.

When the new website launches, the old main Extension website, county sites, and program sites that share the same Drupal 6 platform (everything housed on the extension.oregonstate.edu domanin) will be archived, taken offline, and redirected to the new site. Existing content on these sites will not be automatically moved to the new site.

If you have a question about particular content on an existing website, please connect with the appropriate content team. If a content team does not yet exist for that topic, please contact the appropriate program leader.

What will happen to program sites?

Content teams are responsible for coordinating statewide to take stock of existing content, evaluate it, organize it, and begin entering it into the new website. This includes content on current program sites.

When the new website launches, the old main Extension website, county sites, and program sites that share the same Drupal 6 platform (everything housed on the extension.oregonstate.edu domanin) will be archived, taken offline, and redirected to the new site. Existing content on these sites will not be automatically moved to the new site.

Program sites that are currently housed elsewhere will remain live until relevant content has been integrated to the new website. Content teams, program leaders, and the project team will develop transition plans on a case-by-case basis.

If you have a question about particular content on an existing website, please connect with the appropriate content team. If a content team does not yet exist for that topic, please contact the appropriate program leader.

Will we be able to have pages with county-specific information?

There will be a way to associate content (e.g., event, article, publication, etc.) with the relevant county or counties.

If you have a question about particular content on an existing website, please connect with the appropriate content team. If a content team does not yet exist for that topic, please contact the program leader.

For the most part, it will be helpful for us all to think about “pieces of content” vs. “webpages.”

In our new system (as it’s envisioned now), there will be “landing pages” for counties and topics. Much of the content on our “landing pages” will get there automatically, because someone has entered content in the system and associated it with the relevant county or topic. There will need to be a human touch at some point, as we curate and maintain those pages. But it won’t be the same way that we are “updating webpages” now.

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Content teams

What does a content team do?

Please see the Content Teams page for an overview of what content teams do, the list of content teams and members, and status updates.

What if there is content that overlaps across teams?

The team leaders should discuss how they’d like to handle it when either team discovers audiences and content that may overlap. In the future, it might make sense to have cross-program teams. The project team can help facilitate these conversations, ultimately it is up to content teams and program leaders to decide how to best organize and work together.

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Sounds great, but…

Who will post updates and put content in the new website?

In preparation for the initial launch, content will be added by a combination of manual updates and automatic imports. The project team with work with each content team to develop the most efficient process for each type of content, and content teams will prioritize the content to be added or transferred.

Ultimately, we’ll work with content teams and program leaders to develop efficient workflow(s) for creating, revising, publishing, maintaining, and retiring information. This may vary across content teams and programs.

Will we be able to do [x] like we do now?

The short answer is that we will work through questions like this with the content teams.

As the content teams inventory, evaluate, and organize content, they will provide the project team with examples of content that is typical–and content that is unique. And they’ll  help us understand the audience and goals for the content. From there, we can develop the framework, features, and functions for our site.

Will we be able to post events, with links to register and pay?

Yes. And if they are tagged correctly, those events should show up automatically in relevant places (e.g., on a county landing page, on a page related to the topic, etc.).

Exact details, functions, and process for events and calendar items are in development. We will be working with the content teams to understand how events and calendar content are currently managed. And we are also involved with a larger project to implement a new online calendar for all OSU.

Penn State’s site does [x]. I don’t think that will work for us, our audiences, or our content.

Penn State Extension is one of our aspirational peers because of their user-focused digital strategy, not the exact details of their website design.

We are using their site as an example because it shows the strategy and some concepts and features we want to adapt in the context of another Extension service. We have also used the examples of Amazon and Costco.

As we work more with the content teams, we will refine and share mockups (“wireframes”), designs, and demos for our own website.

How can we maintain connections to our respective college websites?

The new OSU Extension web presence is focused on organizing content around topics more than around our internal organizational structure (e.g., program areas).

Based on initial conversations with content teams and program leaders, we anticipate that  colleges will likely maintain webpages that explain their outreach, engagement, and Extension missions and link to relevant content. Some of these links can point to the new OSU Extension web presence, and some may point elsewhere.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important for content teams, our project team, program leaders, and college communicators and web teams to work together on a sustainable plan (content strategy) for integrating, using, or transitioning content from the variety of sites in the OSU Extension web family.

It’s a great time to be having these conversations, as several colleges are also in the midst of website redesigns.

If content is managed centrally, will there be delays in making updates or time-sensitive changes?

No. Uploading and managing content in one central database does not mean that all content will need to be edited or reviewed centrally.

In most cases, content will be live as soon as the person responsible for it adds it to the system. Some content that comes into the system from a feed (e.g., Extension Catalog publications) will be updated daily.

If we post something, can it automatically show in multiple places?

Yes, that’s the plan! When someone adds a piece of content (e.g., an article or calendar event), they will be able to associate it with relevant locations and topics. This allows content to be shared more broadly and efficiently—without having to manually add the same thing to multiple websites.

Can we connect Ideal Logic, Digital Measures, and other systems with the new website?

Eventually, yes. But not for Phase 1 launch. The web upgrade is part of our comprehensive digital strategy. Over time, we will work to integrate or link to other OSU systems and databases.

What, exactly is content strategy? And why do we need one?

Simply stated, a content strategy guides plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of content. (Source: K. Halvorson)

The challenge is to curate and provide the content that our customers are looking for in a way that they want to receive it. While the idea of an “information clearinghouse” may sound appealing, too much content that is poorly organized, badly timed, and unresponsive to current interests is counter-productive.

Having a content strategy will provide a way to access and manage content locally, while sharing quality content more broadly and efficiently.

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