While some people may be kicking back to relax in the summer, this season keeps the Extension Service and combined Experiment Stations busy with fairs, field days, harvests, and lots of engagement from our communities. The EESC web team also pushed ahead through June and July to complete tasks mentioned in the June 11 blog, and continues to field and respond to requested changes to the new website. Here are a few new improvements that have rolled out recently:

Print, Email, and Social Sharing

Like an article or interested in an event on the site? Web visitors can now share it on social media, print it, or email it to others. Look for the new action icons on each content page.

Find Us Faculty and Staff (A-Z)

Searching the breadth of faculty and staff in the Extension directory is now easier by clicking on the A-Z menu at the top of the page.

See All Latest Content

New content added by EESC and content teams occurs daily and scrolls across the home page. Now visitors can access all recent content by clicking a homepage button or going to the direct link to see all recent content on one page.

Entry Changes

When editing or entering new content, the web groups can now see revisions made and use the revision comments field to make internal notes.

Additionally, when you type in the title field of a new piece of content, on the right side of the screen will appear any links to existing content that may be similar to help identify duplicates.

When adding a photo to the website that has limited permissions, mark the “Don’t allow reuse of this image” checkbox that appears when selecting the image.

Also, when saving content as a “draft”, “in review”, “archived”, or “published”, you can now sort by this status, and by author, all the content entered by your group. This helps to monitor content entered as needed.

Coming Next

  • Improved text and spacing on desktop computer screens
  • Design changes for different sections of the website
  • Behind the scenes development that make future features possible

Keep sending us your questions or changes that you see needed through our Web Support.

The internet by the nature of its design connects people together, but it isn’t only about reaching audiences out there. On the Extension website, it’s also about connecting with our own colleagues within OSU. Here’s some reminders about ways you may need to talk with each other when adding and sharing content.

Reduce duplication

Before putting up new content, whether an event or resource, search to see if it’s already on the website first. If it is, then you can just have it tagged for the place you want it to also appear. What if you aren’t part of the group that put up the existing content? Check who is and email/call them with your request.

Make content relevant

When finding content on the website, maybe it doesn’t have information included that you feel is needed. For example, it is missing the location of the event in the short description or title, or it is written for a commercial audience so doesn’t address small producers. Or maybe it just shouldn’t be up there. Check who created it and email/call them to share perspectives.

Evaluate content

When faculty or professional staff who are not on Content Teams are looking for content on the website and it’s not there, sometimes it may just be in the queue waiting to be entered. Other times it has been overlooked or needs to be discussed among the content team. Check what web group it relates to and email them for a status update.

Learn from others

Many people are seeing what others are doing in adding content to the website and replicating what they like about it. Find out who is in the county, program, or topic group of content you like and email them to see how they did it.

For each of the ways above, the steps to connect with the right people are the same:

Reaching out to each other helps to streamline information, make it reliable and relevant to audiences, and teaches us about the variety of ways to approach our work.

Many teams are working hard to add content to the new Extension website, but need just a little more time. The decision to move the deadline from August 1 to November 1 for accessing the archived Extension content gives more time for content teams to review and assess what is needed before the old content goes completely offline.

The migration process centers around collaborating among team members and learning how to manage content in the new site structure, and that coordination and education can take time.

Persisting in the effort through the summer may be needed to get through all the archived content and to tap seasonal student workers to help with the content entry. Some teams may also decide to prioritize entry of resources that need to be available during this busy summer season. If there is content you are waiting on, contact the content team leader to learn its status.

Other changes this week

The OSU events calendar will start showing Extension events this week. Once you enter events into the Extension website, they will automatically get exported (except attached flyers) to the OSU events calendar so you only have to enter it once. This provides additional outreach for Extension events as they get highlighted university-wide. Any new events or updates on the Extension website are transferred to the OSU calendar at the start of each day.

Other changes this week include the EESC web team reducing our office hours, since the number of people attending has tapered off post-launch. People can still inquire during office hours on Fridays 2-4 pm, or email to set up an individual meeting time during the week. You are always welcome to contact us as needed.

As more content is added on the OSU Extension website, our EESC web team begins to get more requests for how to organize content for specific audiences. There are different ways to appreciate what this website can do, and how you can be a partner in using the tools.

How the Website Helps

Tagged content

The website already does a lot of the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.

  • You add one piece of content and it displays many places based on the tagging and categorizing you input.
  • Update the original content later and changes will show up across the site, too. Easy!

While you may have less control in setting everything up on a particular page, it’s less likely to be a hassle in keeping the site maintained with current content and design updates over time.

Related resources

When visitors are reading content on the website, at the bottom of the page they can see “Related Content from OSU Extension.” This is generated automatically based on the type of content they just read and may answer other questions they have.

Topic pages

Content teams put up the majority of educational content on the website, and it mainly displays across topic pages or in searches. These teams can add videos, articles, documents, etc., and each piece can be tagged for a topic. Topic pages only show content tagged with that topic.

More You Can Do

As the topic pages grow in the amount of content, it’s harder for the visitor to know what key content to focus on. Also, county pages sometimes want to point people to topical content narrowed down to their regional focus. What can be done?

Add keywords

Adding custom keywords can help visitors narrow down what they see on each topic page. It’s easier if the keywords are kept up as a clean list. Keywords also makes it easier to group specific educational content tagged for a program, such as when you scroll down the sections of the Master Food Preservers publications.

Monitor topic pages

Right now, topic pages are organized by the most recent content listed first to keep these pages fresh, although we’re open to hearing how else you might prioritize content. Sometimes content is mis-tagged or duplicated and it’s easier to spot on these auto-populated topic pages. If you see something out of place, log into the site and use this new All Content Overview tool to search who created the content and ask that group to make the change.

Create collections

If individual pieces of content are related, a content team can manually gather these together in a collection. A good time to use this is, for example, the monthly gardening calendars. Others use it to group content topically or regionally.

  1. From your content team group page, create a “collection
  2. Add introductory text describing what the collection is about. For example, see Poisonous Plants Commonly Found in Pastures.
  3. Add a collection section (subheading) and select collection items from existing content in the system (video, article, etc.). Note: You can reorder these if you add each collection item separately with the “Add Collection Item” button.
  4. Then tag the collection with appropriate topics and/or programs.

This collection will show on tagged topic pages. A county can add the collection as “featured content” or from a “button link” on their main county page. It will also show on program pages that have a section for “Program tagged content list” if tagged for that program, such as the Regional Gardening Information section in Master Gardener county programs.

Drawbacks to collections  are that they must be maintained by the content team. This can be time-consuming. As new content is added to the website, it will also have to be manually added to the collection. This doesn’t happen automatically as it would for content tagged with a Topic. Collections may have gaps if new content is not added or if all related content wasn’t added when first creating the collection.

Collections are an option that serve a specific purpose and are not a solution for all needs, especially where the website is helping to organize the content too. If you have questions about this, then reach out to the EESC web team.

At the OSU Extension Service we do great work and want to make sure people can find the content that is most useful to them. In the second phase of the website upgrade, we will look at the web visitor’s experience to further design the navigation on the site, and we will listen to faculty and staff about better organizing content on topic or program pages. Watch this web upgrade project blog for future updates.

For now, the Search feature, easily found at the top of every page, assists visitors to find what they need regardless of a curated topic or program page. Just type in “Central Oregon” or “Integrated Pest Management” for example, and it looks for this reference in any of the content fields and across the site. It’s a robust feature that never gets outdated. Here’s a how-to video that shows you how to search our site.

Narrowing down search results

However, if search turns up a lot of results, then this is where the tags – such as keywords or regions – come in handy in further narrowing down the search results.

Just check one or more of the filter boxes that appear on the search result pages, and it will give you just the content tagged for those terms. Currently only 5% of visitors, who used search in the past two weeks, used these filters. A third of visitors instead tried a more specific search term in the search field. Here’s the most common search refinements in the past two weeks:

  1. Hogweed -> giant hogweed
  2. Horse fair -> Clackamas county horse fair
  3. Jobs -> employment
  4. 4-h -> 4-h summer conference
  5. Cherries -> canning cherries

Search keeps visitors on the site

Visitor sessions that used search features in the past two weeks browsed through more pages and stayed longer on the website than the site average.

Those that used search filters visited twice the number of pages and stayed double the time on the site than those who only used the search field. They saw more and hopefully learned more. Though, everyone spends about the same amount of time on average (just over a minute per page) reading the actual content they find.

Making good content available on the website and also making it more digestible is something we can do now. While we work on the second stage design, encourage visitors to use the search field and filters to find what they are looking for, and they may also discover new information along the way.

It’s fun to see new content that is put up on the OSU Extension website. County pages continue to fill out as the web groups add events and announcements. Thanks to those who are taking the time to add eye-catching photos! It’s also important to add in contact name and email to all events, so they are ready in the coming weeks to be exported to the OSU calendar (which requires this information).

Topic pages also are filling in as more Content Teams add educational materials, and as EESC begins adding more regional and topical tags to news and publications. If you don’t know what to tag your content with, see the full list of tagging options. If you spot something that is mis-tagged or missing on a Topic page, let us know and we can look into correcting it.

Newsletters with a New Format

You can also add newsletters from any group now, and it’s the same process for all groups.

  1. Create your main newsletter landing page that tells what the newsletter generally is about or who it is for. Find a link to do this when creating a “newsletter issue” in your group.
  2. Create an individual “newsletter issue” by adding text, a link, or uploading a file, and associate it to that main newsletter page. Every issue will be tagged this way.
  3. You are only able to add issues to a newsletter that was created in your group.
  4. Finally, add that newsletter with a “button link” or select it as “featured content” on your county or program page. You only need to do this once.
  5. Check out full details in the Guides on managing content.

As with events, you need to communicate with other groups to make sure you’re not duplicating efforts and so they know the newsletter is ready to be added to their county or program pages.

Keyword Improvements

We cleaned up the keyword list that consists of 700+ terms and helps to narrow down search results and topic pages by filtering on a specific term. Keywords are custom to content you add, and it will help to keep them under control and reduce duplication if you:

  1. Reuse existing keywords if possible. As you type in the keyword box, keywords that already exist and match what you typed will appear in a list where you can select them.
  2. Use all-lowercase letters unless the keyword contains a proper noun.
  3. Try to use nouns whenever possible (instead of adjectives or verbs). E.g. “sustainability” instead of “sustainable”.
  4. Only use one “form” of each keyword. E.g. don’t tag a piece of content with both “apple” and “apples”.
  5. Don’t repeat information in other fields. E.g. if you have tagged content with the region “Central Oregon”, you don’t need to add it as a keyword.
  6. Avoid acronyms.
  7. Use keywords that could apply to more than one piece of content.
  8. Each keyword should contain a single idea. E.g. instead of “trees and shrubs” use the separate keywords “trees” and “shrubs”.
  9. Keywords need to be separated by a comma.
  10. These tips are saved in the “Getting Started” guide.

Change Your Own Profile

Finally, you can now edit your own profile whether or not you are in a web group. Just log in with your ONID at the link at the bottom of the website and you can:

  • Upload your headshot photo
  • Add or edit your bio
  • Select your expertise (to be shown as an Expert on a Topic page)

For other changes to your or other’s profiles, contact our support team.

Training & FAQs

EESC had a good turnout for the Webinar for Extension Faculty/Staff Working on the Website on June 12, 2018, which was recorded. We had a lot of questions and have posted responses under the FAQ section. Thank you for all your efforts to jump in and learn about the website through hands-on experience.

Groups

Also, since our webinar many people have been contacting us to be added to web team groups so they can add content to the website. Group managers are able to add new members to their group.

Something to keep in mind: County-based faculty need to be working with content/program groups to add content to the website rather than through county office groups. This is a change from in the past. Some people may be in more than one group based on the type of content they need to add. This is explained in the first part of the webinar and on the Content Teams page, but please have people contact us if they need further clarification.

Newsletter

EESC will be rolling out a “newsletter” content type in the next weeks. We will be moving over existing ones into this new format for you. For any upcoming newsletters, we’ll add information to the “managing content” guides online to show all groups how you can add any newsletters. More coming soon!

Contact us

Other than this web upgrade project website, which is full of all the training information mentioned, EESC is available through WebEx each week in our web team’s office hours to also walk you through questions you may have.

These two weeks since the launch have been a transition period, and we are doing our best to guide you through it. This is happening through the EESC web team’s:

A few quick pieces of information that everyone entering content should know:

  • When adding content, it defaults to published. If you want to save it as a “draft” or “for review” in the unpublished state, there is now a drop-down field or checkbox above the Save button.
  • Content teams need to add “regional” tags and if relevant “MG ___county” program tags in Step 2 of the edit screen, so information that is unique to one area of Oregon can be narrowed down in search results or, if relevant, show up on Master Gardener county pages.
  • Newsletters are currently added differently depending on the group you are in. Content groups add them as “educational documents,” program groups as “program resources,” and counties as “button links” to e-news or Box. We are working on long-term solutions to make adding and displaying newsletters easier and better for everyone. For now, contact us to talk through your newsletter questions and needs, and we’ll help you develop the best short-term approach.
  • Archive sites can be found by typing “archive” in front of the old URL, e.g. https://archive.extension.oregonstate.edu/[mycounty]. These will only be available until August 1st, so content needs to be added on the new site or saved in Box by then.
  • Photos can be uploaded using the thumbnail image buttons in your edit screen. Be sure to only upload photos that you have permission to use, or photos from EESC’s Photo Archive. Include photos that represent your diverse participants.

We are also making small changes to public views and behind the scenes based on feedback in these initial weeks. Here are updates we are working on over the next few weeks:

  • Exporting Extension events into the OSU Events calendar, which will need to require the event description, contact name and contact email address fields (look for this change later in the week)
  • Guiding content teams on best ways to complete migration of content before August 1 when the archive sites go away
  • Adding regional tags and keywords to the EESC gardening stories and news to improve their findability
  • Investigating and working on improving website performance
  • Improving and providing more instruction/examples of how to display or order content in auto-populated sections of the website
  • Focusing on the overall design to improve usability, readability, and look/feel of the web pages
  • Continuing to monitor analytics to learn how audiences are using our new site and content.

Keep sending us your questions or changes that you see needed through our Web Support.

Webinar Trainings

Are you responsible for adding content to the website that people may be seeking?

If so, we have a couple webinars coming up that take you behind-the-scenes to:

  • Answer frequently asked questions,
  • Review roles & responsibilities, and
  • Show how to select & display content on pages.

It’s a new approach for many, so join us for the upcoming webinars:

June 5, 1-2 pm, Web Content Webinar for 4-H County Programs

June 12, 9:30–10:30 am, Webinar for Extension Faculty/Staff Working on the Website

The June 12 webinar will give a chance for web teams that are related with programs or county/combined sites to hear more about the content teams work too. While not required, it can help if you’ve reviewed the training and support resources first, or have tried adding to the website, so that it isn’t completely new to you before the webinar. As always EESC welcomes your questions and suggestions before, during, and after the webinars.

If you joined us Monday afternoon for the New Website Overview webinar (watch the webinar recording), then you heard how Search is the main way to navigate our new website. Many more people are taking advantage of the Search features, according to analytics from pre- and post-launch, making the Search page the top visited page over this past weekend.

10 most visited pages over this weekend

  1. Search page
  2. Home Page
  3. Programs List
  4. Gardening top-level topic
  5. Find Us page (locations)
  6. 4-H main page (statewide)
  7. Animals and Livestock second-level topic
  8. Master gardener main page (statewide)
  9. Article: How long do garden seeds last?
  10. Featured question: Raised bed lumber, pressure treated safe?

Most common search terms (used on the site) over the weekend

  1. “compost tea”
  2. “compost tea brewer”
  3. “horse”
  4. “record book”
  5. “canning”
  6. “compost”
  7. “horse fair”
  8. “blueberries”
  9. “cool form”
  10. “fair book”

Twice as many people visited the Extension website after the launch and are staying twice as long to view more than one page, compared to the previous weekend on our old site.

OSU Extension has been serving Oregon for more than 100 years, and our previous website debuted in 2011. It was time for an upgrade. We are proud to be able to better showcase your content, expertise, resources, and opportunities on our new website, launched earlier today.

Thank you, OSU Extension! Whether you provided input during the research phase, serve on a content team, create or review content, participated in a webinar to learn more, or just read emails and blog posts about the project to stay informed, you helped us reach this milestone.

What has changed for our audiences?

  • Central place from which to access and explore all OSU Extension offers, including all statewide programs
  • Thanks to our content teams, the best of our content is now all in one place, with better search and filter options.
  • Content organized by easy-to-find topics, with user-focused labels
  • Mobile-friendly, responsive, on-brand design (which we continue to improve and refine)
  • Ability to find an OSU Extension location “near me” (this functionality will be added for other content in the future)

What is the same?

  • The Extension home page (extension.oregonstate.edu) as well as all county home pages (e.g. extension.oregonstate.edu/baker) have the same URL as before.
  • Some statewide programs have opted to maintain their current external site at this time. Content teams, program leaders, and the project team are developing transition plans on a case-by-case basis.

What has changed for us?

  • You should feel lighter! Hundreds of outdated, orphaned documents that were never deleted or archived are now offline and no longer show up in Google searches.
  • Content coordinated by teams, ensuring alignment with audience needs and program priorities and avoiding redundant efforts.
  • No more duplicate content. For example, OSU Extension Catalog publications are automatically added to the site, so no one needs to re-post these. Content can also be easily shared among various topics, counties, and programs as applicable.

The recent status report takes a look at what is on the website now, and we’ll share project updates in the coming months as the website continues to evolve.

What to do now?

As you explore the new website, you may be surprised! Maybe it’s a different way of finding information (we’ll be doing some demos about this in the coming week). Or maybe you didn’t know we had so much information on a particular topic.

Here are some things you can do now to explore and help improve our site.

  • Join the New Extension Website webinar on Monday, June 4, 2018, 1:00-2:00 p.m. for an overview of the website and to tour its new features.
  • Do a search or browse and see what you find. If you come across something that doesn’t look right, let us know. It will take time to get the tagging and displays fine-tuned on the site.
  • If you identify missing content, please contact the EESC project team. We will be able to help content teams access previous content so it can be reviewed, updated, and integrated into the new website.
  • It may take a month or two for the new webpages to get reindexed in Google, so it’s good to link to our new content, and encourage our audiences to do so as well. One place to begin doing this is to highlight new pages on social media.

What happens next?

We want OSU Extension’s web presence to become a go-to, trusted resource. And knowing that people often turn online for answers, we want to be sure they find us.

We’re committed to making OSU Extension’s web presence data-informed and user-driven, and we will need your ongoing support and feedback. You can expect regular updates on how the website is reaching our audiences, and how to be involved in keeping it fresh, findable, and accurate. If you have suggestions or questions at any time, please contact us.

As we go forward, we will need to continue working together to develop and sustain a true strategic approach to our online content and digital engagement. It isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.