This FAQ page provides answers to common questions about the OSU Extension web upgrade project. This resource will be updated as needed.


What is this project about?

OSU Extension must have an effective, engaging web presence to remain relevant and successful in an increasingly digital—and increasingly competitive—world.

Our current web presence, which includes a vast and diverse family of independent sites, has aged out and suffers from duplication and efficiency issues. We must also understand that we are not our customers. Our customers come to us online seeking answers to questions, not as passive recipients of information we feel is important for them to know.

We need to move to a web presence that is driven more by user needs, demands, and data than by organizational structure and internal thinking.

To get there, we must shift our web strategy from “site development and design” to “content strategy.” This project is the first step in that process.

This is a major shift. We are committed to making it because we believe it’s essential for our organization’s ongoing success and relevance.

More about the project.

What will be different?

Going forward, we will focus our web efforts and resources on using the power of Drupal (a content management system, or CMS) to manage content, not design websites.

Over time, we will also work together to move away from an “information clearinghouse” approach and develop a customer-focused, data-informed content strategy.

See strategies at a glance for details.

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.

Will our new web presence be suitable for mobile devices?

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

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Strategies, Process, and Timeline

What will happen to county sites?

In Phase 1, there will be no major changes to county and employee resource content.

In Phase 2, county sites and employee resource pages will naturally phase out as our content strategy takes shape and dashboards in OSU Extension’s content management system (CMS) become more robust—with locally relevant, dynamically added content.

Counties will continue to have a presence in the CMS but will not be responsible for designing or maintaining a separate website.

See strategies at a glance for details.

What will happen to program sites?

In Phase 1, the project team will work with current site managers to begin transition planning for program, subprogram, and other independent sites. This will require case-by-case discussion. Some of these sites may migrate—to the extent possible—to OSU Drupal.

In Phase 2, EESC will lead collaborative development of a customer-focused web strategy, focusing on integrating or transitioning appropriate content from these sites to the OSU Extension CMS.

See strategies at a glance for details.

How were these strategy decisions made?

The project team developed strategy recommendations based on the project discovery research (internal and external), steering committee feedback, industry best practices, and expertise from EESC communicators and technologists.

After reviewing the recommendations, the Outreach & Engagement executive team (Scott Reed and Lindsey Shirley) approved a set of essential commitments, guiding criteria, and web strategies for moving forward with this project.

See strategies at a glance for details.

When is this all happening?

Phase 1 (transition) is happening now through January 2018. Phase 2 (developing and applying content strategy) will continue throughout 2018.

See timeline and milestones for details.

Can I make changes to my existing site content now?

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

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Sounds great, but…

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.

How will we create an integrated web presence when program areas have college-based websites that don’t always use a consistent format? It seems there are pluses to keeping our college-based sites, but a more integrated connection is something we should be looking at.

Yes, we should look at an integrated connection. That’s why this is not a “website redesign” project. It’s about working together on a sustainable plan (content strategy) for integrating, using, or transitioning content from the variety of sites in the OSU Extension web family to the new content management system.

If content is managed centrally, will there be delays in making time-sensitive changes, like calendar items?

No. Managing content centrally does not mean that all content will need to be added, edited, or reviewed centrally.

As we develop the content management system, we’ll evaluate the most efficient way to add each type of content.

And, this system will allow content (like calendar events) to be shared more broadly and efficiently—without having to manually add the same thing to multiple websites.

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