Switching on a new website, as we mentioned last week, can be like turning on a light—only more complex. Our new website shines a spotlight on the amazing work that OSU Extension does in helping Oregonians–and Oregon–thrive. You help that happen. Your partnerships, community relationships, programs, information, and expertise guide this work. Our new web presence captures your efforts and can help extend Extension’s reach and deepen our engagement with those we serve.

Sometime this week—barring any major issues to delay it—we will turn on the switch and you will notice a difference at http://extension.oregonstate.edu. This new web presence is just the beginning of a more engaging digital strategy. Together we will work to continue to refine and enhance the website and related strategies and systems.

If we run into any unforeseen delays or issues, we’ll post updates here and email affected groups as needed.

New website features at-a-glance

  • Mobile-friendly, responsive design
  • More visual design, with vibrant photos
  • Content from across Extension in one place with improved search and filter options
  • Content organized by easy-to-find topics, with user-focused labels
  • Consistent county presence
  • Central place from which to access and explore all OSU Extension offers, including all statewide programs
  • Content easier to enter and maintain
  • Content coordinated by teams, avoiding duplication and redundant effort
  • Visual design aligned with OSU brand; messaging beginning to align with OSU Extension sub-brand

Please keep in mind design modifications and content entry continue this week and will remain an iterative process even after the launch.

After the launch

If you have feedback or requests following the launch—from “Where is all my content?” to “What an amazing search tool!”—the EESC support team is ready to listen, consider, share, and celebrate.

Notice any power surges or flickering lights initially? We will continue to monitor and modify what is needed as we move into Phase 2 of the website upgrade project. This part of the web upgrade will evaluate how the website is performing and find new ways for the design and content to meet our goals and our audience’s interests and needs.

With much appreciation

For now stay tuned for news on the launch. A big thank you to all the Extension teams that worked hard to make it happen! You sifted through a lot of content, evaluated, revised, and uploaded much of it. The website content is stronger for your expertise and collaboration.

If you have questions at any time, please contact the project team.

We have some exciting news. The first phase of our project to update the OSU Extension family of websites is close to realization!

We are planning to launch the site the week of May 29, and “go live” by Thursday. What may seem like “flipping a switch” to make the new site public is actually a sequence of behind-the-scenes steps and collaboration with OSU’s central web services team.

If you have questions at any time, please contact the project team.

What to expect

If we run into any unforseen delays or issues, we’ll post updates here on this blog and email affected groups as needed.

Please keep in mind design modifications and content entry continue this week and will remain an iterative process even after the launch. Expect the look and feel to evolve, the functionality to be fine-tuned, and content to be expanded in the coming weeks. We are making changes in stages, and the Phase 1 launch will be a minimum viable product. Not a perfectly polished site with all the bells and whistles and all content fully in place.

How to prepare

  • County page managers should be entering events and announcements for June on the new website, and county-specific content on county pages. Linn county and Hood River County have been working on their pages during the last week, so can serve as examples.
  • Content and program teams are responsible for coordinating statewide to take stock of existing content, evaluate it, organize it, and enter it into the new website. Many sub-topic pages are filling in such as Dairy, Health Outreach, and Forest Health & Management. Check them out!
  • Want to see what else is already there? Take a preview look at the new website!

Reminders about existing content

  • Existing content on the extension.oregonstate.edu URL (which includes county and combined experiment station sites) will go offline and not be automatically moved to the new site. Individual content creators should be working with the appropriate content team to make decisions about this content.
  • Program sites that are currently housed elsewhere (not on the extension.oregonstate.edu site) will remain live until relevant content has been integrated to the new website. Content teams, program leaders, and the project team are developing transition plans on a case-by-case basis.

How to learn more

On this OSU Extension Web Upgrade Project blog you can also find information about the strategy for the new website, frequently asked questions, and content teams. Under the “Learn” menu the Training and Support page details how to enter content.

Thanks and shout outs

It’s taken a lot of people, conversations, and collaboration to get successfully to this point. It hasn’t always been easy, but by working together we are well on the way to a more effective and engaging online presence. Thank you.

This week, we give special thanks and a shout out to Wendy Hein from Clackamas County, who helped recruit several usability testing participants. Being “user-focused” is one of the guiding principles for this project, and these initial user tests have been crucial in making improvements leading up to the phase 1 launch.

Thanks again, and please contact the team with any questions.

We have been hearing over the past week from several programs, content teams, and county/combined station page managers. You have been asking specifics about how to best add content and discussing adjustments needed to make content fit on the site. We are listening, and providing one-on-one guidance as needed along the way.

Programs

  • It’s not your imagination. If you’ve been on the staging website you may have noticed your submenus are now easier to locate on the left side of a desktop screen.
  • Want to have a list of all program events happening across the state? We set up a section on the statewide program page that pulls in any county events or announcements tagged with your program.
  • Refer to the “Managing Program Content” guide for the details on how to add “program tagged content lists” using keywords or “program resources list” using categories to the landing pages. It’s a little bit of magic to help arrange content on your program page.

Content Teams

  • We have added Expert profiles on the sidebar of sub-topic pages. Are you missing and want to be added to a page? Let EESC know.
  • Coming soon! We are in the process of migrating more EESC content that falls under these topics, such as featured gardening questions or news. It will help fill out topic pages.
  • Thanks for those who have been adding content. Since content teams will continue after the launch, how is the coordination process going? Share your lessons learned with EESC.

County/Combined Stations

Who can add to your county site?

What events should you put up?

  • The website will launch the last week of May 2018, so add any of your events happening June 1 or after. Events for May will remain visible on the existing Extension website through the end of the month.

Want to still feature topic- or program-based content?

We welcome your questions! Contact us or drop in for office hours/open labs on Wednesdays 9am – 12pm and Fridays 2 pm – 5 pm.

County teams can now begin adding announcements, events, sub-pages, and social media links! View our Friday county webinar for the details. Also refer to the managing county content guide for specifics on entering content.

All teams (topic, program, county):
As more content gets added to the website, keep sending us your questions and suggestions. It helps to clarify if you’re on the right track before you enter too much content. Your suggestions help us to make needed changes, too.

Tips for content entry

When entering in your content, remember to:

  • Make sure any links do not point to content on the current Extension website (URL includes http://extension.oregonstate.edu/)
  • Include a thumbnail image, so that it looks unique on the landing pages (when in the edit screen, click the thumbnail button to upload)
  • Tag your content in Step 2 of the edit screen with the topics, programs, and/or counties it may relate to (so it can show up across the site in all relevant places)

Content: Good examples

As more content is entered, we’ll show examples of well-formatted content on the site. This week we highlight this article: Hay Options – When You’re Short on Hay

  • It uses short paragraphs with the key point in the first line of each.
  • The headings make it easy to skim.
  • The style of writing to “you” is welcoming.
  • The tips are clear and helpful.

Next week we’ll look for an example of a well-formatted program landing page or county sub-page to share. Here’s a video with instructions on making a sub-landing page.

What’s next

We are still designing the topic landing pages and will continue to work with content team leaders on this. If you have suggestions or questions, please let us know.

There are two major events happening with the Extension web upgrade project this week that are of interest to many of you: events and a demo of county pages.

Events

We are making final adjustments to the “events” content type, ensuring that events display properly in various places on the new site, and updating the quick-start guide with instructions. We anticipate this will take 1-2 days. We will notify content team leaders directly “events” are ready for use.

County pages demo

On Friday, May 4, 2-2:30 p.m., we invite you to join a webinar focused on the county/combined station pages in our new web presence. We will record the WebEx session and share/post the link for those who can’t attend live.

Connection info:

  • WebEx link (same as the link for our regular Friday office hours/open lab help sessions)
  • To connect to audio by phone dial: +1-415-655-0002 (US Toll), access code: 929 325 368

Audience:

County leaders, office managers, current county and combined station site managers

Purpose:

  • Review design, content, functionality of county/combined station presence in new website
  • Provide “getting started” resources for site managers to manage county-specific, non-program content and pages

Background:

  • Because county/combined station pages pull much information dynamically from other content in the system (e.g., staff directory, map, statewide programs, educational content from content teams), that information needed to be in the site before it would make sense to design or review county pages.
  • Content teams have been entering content since early March, and events will be available this week. There is now enough content in the system to allow us all to have a better sense of how county pages are taking shape.

Welcome, Michele!

This week, please help us extend a warm welcome to Michele Scheib, who started work as content strategist for OSU Extension on Monday.

  • Content team leaders are welcome to “drop in” (virtually or in person) and meet Michele during office hours/open labs, beginning this Friday.
  • Content teams will also begin to see Michele copied on email responses, as a way for her to come up to speed on the project and learn about our content.
  • Michele will join EESC director Jennifer Alexander at the May 8 OSU Extension Regional Operations meeting for introductions and a website update with program leaders and regional directors.

Updates and next steps

  • Reminder: May 29 is the target “launch week” for phase 1 of our new Extension web presence. Content teams should continue to focus on content entry, consulting with the project team as needed.
  • Cool development: Our site now automatically creates a thumbnail image from the first page of uploaded documents. We are exploring options to do this also for online resources (i.e., links to external websites), but for now content owners should continue to upload a thumbnail image for these manually.
  • Coming soon:
    • We anticipate releasing the “events” content type to content teams this week. We will notify content team leaders directly when this is available.
    • Pending successful launch and early use of the “events” content type, we anticipate being able to re-engage with office managers and county leaders to review county office landing pages next week. We will communicate directly with those groups about a webinar opportunity.

Over the last week, we’ve made some updates the content types. We have replaced the “resources link” content type with three new content options:

  • Educational document: This is where PDF, Word, PowerPoint, or Excel documents that contain general interest educational material can be uploaded.
  • Online resource: This is for linking to educational material located on another site.
  • Program resource: This is for adding documents or links for a specific program (e.g. registration forms, program reports, policies and procedures, etc).

Any content that was previously a “resource link” has been moved to the new appropriate content type.

These changes are based on our ongoing conversations with content teams and our collective learning experience as more content is added and we identify common issues and challenges.

See links below for more details.

New sections in the Quick Start Guide:

We encourage content teams to review these updates before entering more content this week. Please contact us with any questions or join us during office hours.

Fun fact: The current OSU Extension website turned seven last week and was initially launched April 6, 2011.

Greetings OSU Extension colleagues!

This week we share an update on the overall project timeline and a few more resources that will be helpful to content teams.

Project timeline

Based on input we’ve received from program leaders and content teams–and on our project team’s remaining priority tasks–we have set the week of May 29 as the target “launch week” for phase 1 of our new Extension web presence.

This timeline allows approximately seven more weeks for content entry, programming, and design. It also provides about a month for our new content strategist to come onboard, learn, and contribute.

For now:

  • Content teams should continue to focus on content entry, consulting with the project team as needed.
  • The project team will be focusing on the highest-priority design and programming tasks, and on priority content that we manage.
  • We will consult with content teams who manage program sites that will not “live” in the new Extension website at phase 1 launch, to confirm short-term and transition plans for those sites.
  • After the “event” content type is available, we will re-engage with office managers and county leaders to review county office landing pages. We will do this as soon as possible, but at minimum two weeks before launch.

Resource updates

Colleagues,

We’re happy to announce that Michele Scheib will join the EESC team as content strategist for OSU Extension. Her first day will be Monday, April 23.

Michele joins us from Eugene, Oregon. She most recently worked for Mobility International USA, and had a lead role in developing and implementing a new organizational website in Drupal and new database in Salesforce. She brings experience in web content development, analytics, usability, and accessibility.

Michele will collaborate with EESC colleagues and our program/topic-based content teams to plan and manage content and associated processes for OSU Extension’s online presence.

In her first few weeks, we will work to arrange opportunities for her to meet with content team leaders. For now, please continue to contact the project team directly with questions about the Extension web upgrade project, as outlined on the project training and support page.

Please help us welcome Michele to EESC and OSU Extension!

Hello Extension friends,

While it might not feel like spring (I wore gloves and a scarf to work this morning. Gloves!), the calendar does tell us that April is here.

Project timeline update

For those of you who have been tracking this project closely, you know that means  our new Extension website did not “launch” in March, which was our original goal.

We are still aiming to launch “phase 1,” a minimum viable website with essential features and priority content, this spring. Based on input we’ve received from program leaders and content teams, and on our project team’s assessment of remaining priority tasks, we will set a new target launch date this week.

In other news:

  • Content strategist: The content strategist recruitment is in the final stages! This person will serve as a key link between the project team and content teams. We’ll announce our new team member with a blog post, when it’s official.
  • What’s happening this week: The work plan for this week continues as outlined in last week’s post. We continue to prioritize support for content team leaders with office hours/open labs, and as-needed meetings. As a result, we are not as far along on our programming and design work. (Again, we are VERY excited for the content strategist to join our team. Can you tell?)
  • Resource update: We’ve made updates to the “managing program content” guide.