1. Reuse events from last year
Events on the Extension website automatically disappear from lists and search results once the date has passed. However, the records still exist in the system, so if an event occurs annually, you can reuse the content from the previous year. This has several benefits:
- You can save effort now by reusing work from last year. All you need to do is update the dates (and flyer if there is one).
- Visitors who may have bookmarked last year’s event (or find it through Google) will see current information if they visit the page again.
- Go to the group content page for the group that you originally entered the event in.
- If you remember the title of the event, you can search for it. Otherwise, you can select “Event” in the “Type” filter above the list of content.
- Once you find the previous year’s event, click the “Edit” button next to it and update the dates. This will put it back in event lists and search results.
2. Store files in Box
Box is OSU’s file storage platform. Anyone with an ONID account can store unlimited files on Box and share them with other employees or the public. Box was created specifically for file management and has many useful features, including:
- File versioning – if the document changes each year, you can easily replace the old file with the new one without changing the link.
- Privacy settings – you can set files up so anyone (the public) can access them, only people who know a specific password, or only people with an ONID account
- There is documentation about using Box on OSU’s Box page and our Website user guide.
- Some tips for effectively setting up files in box:
- To share a file or folder with the public, click “Share” next to it. Then, turn on the “Enable share link” toggle. It is very important that you set the dropdown below the share link to “Anyone with the link.” Otherwise people will need to log in with an ONID to see the file.
- There is a link near the share link box for “Link options”. This is where you can set a password to protect the file or get the “direct download” link (which allows visitors to download the file directly without seeing it in Box first).
- Be sure to set one of your coworkers as a co-owner or editor of the file, in case you leave or otherwise can no longer access it someday.
- When you have the “share link” for the file, create a program resource and select “External website” as the resource type. This will give you a field to paste the link.
3. Break up long pages
If you have long pages that are difficult to scan, there are options to make it a little easier: page section settings and nested pages.
For most page sections, you can configure:
- Background color (alternating background colors is a good way to break up the page)
- List style (you can make lists more condensed by using a “Text list” style, which doesn’t display images with items in the list)
- Section id (you can use section IDs to create a “table of contents” at the top of the page that links to sections further down)
- Edit the page
- At the top of where page sections are configured on the edit screen, there are two tabs: “Content” and “Settings”
- When you switch to the settings tab, you can configure options for each section
One of the best ways to help a long page is to break it up into several shorter pages. Then, to prevent the sidebar from getting unwieldy, you can nest the new pages under the original, so they only appear in the sidebar when the parent is selected.
- Go to any program page that shows the sidebar and click the “Reorder Pages” button at the bottom.
- On the next screen, you can drag the pages into any order you want. To nest one page under another, drag it under and to the right. When you’re done, click “Save order”.
4. Look at peers for ideas
One of the best ways for you to get ideas for your own pages is to look at pages from programs similar to yours. Here are some programs that have been set up with some of the website’s new design features and serve as good examples:
- BEPA 2.0
- Master Gardener
- Tree School
5. Think about all your audiences
Programs produce content for many audiences, including:
- Prospective members
- Current members
- Program faculty/staff
It is, in general, usually best to organize content according to audience, and depending on what audiences your program serves, we may recommend options outside of the Extension website for content (e.g. the Extension Employee Intranet or an OSU WordPress blog).
Another audience that all programs have but that often gets overlooked is the general public. There are many reasons why the public would be interested in content produced by a program, including:
- They utilize the services provided by program volunteers (e.g. MG plant clinics)
- They are affected by the program’s outcomes or impacts
- They want to learn the information taught to program participants, but for whatever reason can’t participate themselves
However, visitors often perceive program pages as being only for active participants in a program. So, if you produce program-related content for the general public, make sure it can be found through topic and county pages, where the general public is more likely to look.
The website brought a lot of content together from all different parts of Extension, created for different purposes, at different times and sometimes published by non-Extension faculty. Everyone has come across an article or two where they wonder “Is this content accurate, useful information for Extension’s audiences?”
Content teams, along with the program area leaders, have started discussions that can help to shape content quality decisions. Questions touch on process and guiding principles, such as:
- Should we put everything we write on to the website? If not, how do we decide?
- Who should be involved in the review process, and at what stage in content publishing?
- How do we determine what makes for “quality content” for our diverse audiences?
An articulated content strategy helps content teams to identify a roadmap to follow.
Step one: establish ownership and roles
Half of Extension faculty and staff can publish content, which is coordinated through content teams or web groups.
Use the content overview tool to search a content title and see what team or group a piece of content belongs to, and contact the team leader or group coordinator if you see questionable content. Your feedback can help them to see other perspectives and their response inform yours.
Roles and responsibilities, outlined earlier in 2019, clarify how people fit into the content development cycle and their relationships to each other.
Among those roles, teams and groups need to discuss who controls the content quality, holding relevant content authors accountable to content guidelines, standards and policies that will be explored in the next steps.
Step two: design and document content processes
Content may be written by author(s) but it is the content teams and program leaders that need to work together to plan, review, publish, and revise the content. It helps to share a common set of tools and expectations in this content process.
Statewide planning meetings can set the stage for a participatory process. Together you can review audience analytics and determine the content purpose, gaps to fill, and plans for the year. It can also help decide what content isn’t needed based on strategic priorities. Set up a content planning spreadsheet in Box to keep track of content to be created.
A peer review checkbox and name field appears on all articles if your team wants to use this as part of the publishing process. It currently means at least one other colleague looked at it, but does not mean the same level of scrutiny as catalog and journal peer reviews. Content that is questionable can also be put “in review” by the team or group to keep it from public view until the issue addressed.
A team needs to decide if they will independently upload articles, appoint an uploader on the team, or find program/research assistants or students to support this. These people need to be aware of the guidelines, standards and policies discussed below. An editorial calendar can help schedule content to be published at key times.
Many are familiar with the EESC directed process to review and update Extension catalog publications more than four years old. Content team leaders need to coordinate a similar process for their team’s articles and educational documents; EESC can help by setting up automated notifications and maintenance reports to use.
Step three: produce supporting documents and tools
Ground rules for doing content right can help to address differences in opinions. EESC has outlined some key recommendations or requirements below. Content teams and groups can adapt and expand on these to establish what makes for “quality” content.
Guidelines that EESC provides and encourage you to use include:
- Messaging maps to create consistency of voice and tone depending on the audience
- AP style and plain language guidelines for standard language and format of content
- Readability formatting for a web page (which is different than a print publication)
Standards mean there’s a correct way to do things, and an expectation this will be followed, such as:
- Web instructions of what content goes on the Extension website, and how to enter and tag it in the content management system; see the quick start checklists to make this clear
- OSU and Extension branding requirements
Since these guidelines and standards can be a lot to learn, EESC will help by reviewing content after it is published and making minor changes or suggestions on how to improve. More information is in the content requirements and best practices section of the web guide, or request a specific training.
Policies are critical to follow to be inclusive, ethical, or not put us at risk, this includes things such as:
- Copyright rules
- Non-discrimination and accessibility laws
- Personal data protections
Information about this is in the legal requirements section of our web guide. Also OSU’s Web and Mobile Services is offering “Accessibility Basics for the Web” trainings, including information about the OSU Policy on Information Technology Accessibility. Offered Oct. 3, Dec. 5, 2019 and Feb. 7, April 15 or June 4, 2020.
Teams and groups need to keep a pulse on what is going on with their online content and scrutinize not only if it is accurate but also if the overall quality meets our expectations.
Keep those discussions going, work with EESC to set up some shared tools and communicate the guidelines, standards and policies to group members working on the website. Then before you know it, you will have arrived at a functional content strategy.
Extension website updates
You can now see all featured questions on a single page.
The “seasonal” tagging field now allows multiple options to be selected for a piece of content.
Minor fixes have been made in the display of phone and email on county landing pages.
Collections now have the formatting options: standard teaser (thumbnail image, title, short description), grid format (3 card size images and descriptions next to each other), and plain list without images. After adding a “collection section” see the settings tab.
Thanks to Joseph Phillips, Content Strategist for the Examined Web, for ideas from his article “A four step roadmap to good content governance” for this blog post.
Hello there, everybody. I’m here to share a little more info about basic CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) practices and especially about beginning to use the Salesforce CRM platform.
One of my posts introduced the Salesforce CRM platform.
And another one outlined the steps needed to design and build CRM capabilities for an Extension program, complete with timelines.
But in case you were still wondering, there are many practical (and simple) ways in which your program will derive benefits from the advance to CRM practices. Here are examples of powerful results you can expect from this new tool. Thanks for reading on!
Organize your contacts, see a history of their interactions.
A CRM’s core purpose is managing relationships. Those relationships you have with constituents, clients, agencies, and industry partners are the lifeblood of the work you do. You spend time interacting with them as individuals, other times as groups, and the CRM will help coordinate both.
You will benefit from the sophisticated ways it maintains information about the people with whom you collaborate and get work done.
The system will, yes, provide a simple phone number or email address you need to reach out. But at a glance, you’ll also see when the last time was that you had an interaction with that person and what the outcome was. In case you ring her up to answer a big question and she’s out of the office, not to worry. The CRM’s awareness of relationships between people lets you track down the contact info for her colleague inside that organization who’s also a contributor to the same project — problem solved!
Then type in a summary of that new conversation in the CRM, allowing you to access the details any time.
Likewise for relationships with Extension clients and constituents. Go ahead and pick up the phone for a conversation with someone who’s in the midst of submitting critical paperwork. You’ll have access to an interaction history for that person in the CRM, showing you what steps have already been done and so you are able to advise them about the next step, simply because you pulled up their detailed info before calling.
Send smarter emails.
Let me share this example from an earlier post.
Let’s imagine a class or workshop that just took place. The last hour of the workshop was dominated by a very interesting discussion topic. One idea the instructor can have is to follow up with even more relevant resources to enhance what the group is learning. The steps would look like this:
- Login to the CRM immediately after class
this makes the information timely and helpful
- Create a custom email message; fill it with relevant links
make use of an email layout with attention to branding and readability standards
- The new email delivers out to the cohort
the people from that class—the appropriate audience—see the email and experience the benefit
- The cohort may continue the discussion
include a link to a discussion board where they continue sharing ideas
- Afterwards, extend the usefulness of the content
flag that helpful content so it’s then used in an upcoming enewsletter – broaden the impact on a wider audience
Additionally, the CRM will allow for an increasing reliance on automating certain emails. Automatically deliver messages even for simple things like a note to say “thank you” after a person fills out interest forms on the Extension web site.
Consider the ability to send automated reminders for upcoming project due dates and important events. Has a calendar date come and gone and an important document hasn’t shown up? A well-crafted gentle reminder can make all the difference. Salesforce can be enabled to react to predefined conditions and automatically trigger messages to the appropriate people.
Your partners — relations and support.
Another key point of a CRM is that it is a database. It stores and organizes incredible amounts of information.
Using this data, you will be empowered to manage the many various aspects of working with a program partner.
Your team will want to research prospective new partner organizations. For each prospect, you’ll need awareness of each one’s presence, capabilities, and capacity in the various geographic regions your team serves. Simply record this complex info in the CRM.
As your team’s regional specialists plan outreach efforts, lists appear for them, each one pre-filtered to show relevant information for that region.
Maintain profiles of your partners that are accurate over time. Because your entire team has access to the shared data, their contributions to the system keep up with various changes for that partner. An important piece of the partner relationship is assessing and evaluating the efficacy of the work being done with them and you will save these details in the CRM to inform future efforts.
With established partners, those vigorous periods where the actual work is getting done will lead to new relationship management challenges. Make use of the CRM’s database features to design and manage workflows. Salesforce will be a quick and easy way to manage the sometimes complex communication plans you’ll need to customize for each partner.
Though its true the possibilities are endless, hopefully you’ll agree I have shed light on a few effective examples that will save your team time and energy? I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Extension website updates.
- The OSU Extension homepage looks a little different now. Updates were made based on user data. We are also working on a more comprehensive homepage design to come this fall.
- Minor feature update: added ability to change list style and anchor id of collection sections
- We made changes to the main menu based on user feedback. “Find us” is now “Contact us”. We added a link to ‘Ask an Expert’; And the latest website content is now available under ‘About us’.
We want people to understand what we do 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. Here 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:
How the design can help
The county page design has places to share different parts of our story:
County landing page
Make OSU Extension relevant to the general public. Show why they should care, by helping them understand what we do — and how it affects their lives. Keep it brief.
We recommend including:
- How we help Oregonians
- It is affordable to learn with us (often no cost)
- How they can learn with us (classes, tours, etc.)
We don’t recommend including:
- Information about how we work: our program names, about trained-volunteers, community partners, etc. This comes later.
Note: The “what we do” section provides some concrete examples of information that can be learned about in this county.
The Benton County Extension Service helps you solve problems, develop life skills and manage your resources.
We share reliable, research-based education. Access is affordable, often offered at no-cost: Talk one-on-one with an expert. Attend a demonstration, tour, short courses, youth development club or activity. Read our publications.
County landing page example, see Hood River.
‘What we do’ page
We recommend including:
- More details on how we help Oregonians
- How we provide our services: through our faculty, staff, trained volunteers and community partners
We don’t recommend including:
- Our program names.
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.
‘What we do‘ intro example:
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 demographics in our communities.
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.
‘What we do’ page example: Union
Focus area page
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.
- Food preservation and safety
- Small Farms
- Field crops
- Nutrition and healthy living
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.
- 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.
We are headed your way!
Starting next week and continuing through October, EESC’s web team will be hosting regional Extension website training sessions across the state. Don’t miss this in-person opportunity to learn about the website and how you can contribute. RSVP to reserve your place.
Dates and locations:
Sept. 24 (Tue.), Marion County Office (Salem)
Coastal Region – North:
Sept 26. (Thur.), Tillamook County Office (Tillamook)
Oct. 17 (Thur.), Washington County Office (Beaverton)
Coastal Region – South:
Oct. 22 (Tue.), Coos County Office (Myrtle Point)
Note: Eastern Oregon workshops were held in April.
Each workshop will have a morning and afternoon session. Try to attend both sessions if possible.
Note: The Wasco and Deschutes County workshops have different start and end times, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Morning session (10:00 am to 12:00 pm)
The morning session will include an overview of the Navigator project, understanding the differences and purposes of office, program, and content team groups, updating your website profile, tagging, and basic content creation.
Lunch break (12:00 pm -1:00 pm)
Afternoon session (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
After lunch we’ll dig deeper into managing landing pages, content types, tagging, best practices, tips and tricks, how to avoid duplicating content, and answering your questions.
Do I need to do any preparation before the workshop?
What should I expect?
The format will be a combination of lectures, how-to demonstrations, one-on-one assistance, advice, and learning from your peers.
What should I bring?
Your ideas and questions
A WiFi enabled laptop, tablet, or pair up with a colleague.
Bring anything you want to add to the website on a flash drive, or on your laptop. We’ll show you how to add it to the website.
What will I learn?
You will learn: How to create and edit content. What tagging is and why it is important. Your role within your office, program or content team. And where to get your questions answered as you learn how the website works.
If you are planning on coming to a workshop, please RSVP to ensure we have enough room for everyone.
The past couple of weeks sparked some new possibilities to test out, in hopes of resolving ongoing requests from content teams. Everyone has a role in making this possible. What then is the role of the content strategist? It involves listening for commonalities, looking for bright spots, and asking questions to facilitate people thinking about strategy.
Currently, group conversations have generated insight into:
- Facilitating workflows that can support a new way of doing things.
- Creating a way to share human interest stories that show the value of Extension’s work.
- Improving access to resources in ways that audiences want.
A lot goes into identifying, writing, reviewing and tagging content that only experts in the subject can do. Entering, coordinating and managing educational content by the content team, however, needs further discussion.
Events, announcements, newsletters, and county focus areas can all still be managed by the county office groups. Educational content, however, shifted to the program areas. Regardless of where faculty are stationed, the content is valuable regionally and statewide, and no longer seen as tied to a county. Who then is best to enter and manage this content of the statewide teams? How do we leverage existing resources to do so?
Some new ideas include:
- Write into your annual work plan 5% of website responsibilities that go beyond creating and updating content, so that your time as a team member is acknowledged and supported.
- Shift responsibilities and offer incentives, so a champion wanting to spearhead this innovative change can take time to set up topic pages and tagging guides as needed to organize and maintain content.
- Leverage support professionals from the program area, such as education program assistants or research assistants, to learn the entry, tagging, and coordination processes.
“We need to capture the essence of who we are as a community in Extension and how we meet the needs of our communities,” said Anita Azarenko recently at the Quarterly Conversations. She asked, “How do we put feeling back into our website?”
Content analysis published in the Journal of Applied Communications* found the majority of awareness campaigns on agricultural websites used logical appeals with education-based and fact-based content. However, content with emotional appeals can be more effective in connecting with and being remembered by web visitors.
Stories showcase the value of what we do for the public by putting a face to our work. Publishing stories ourselves in addition to media coverage can increase the longevity and reach of our stories, and help show people how they too can benefit by being engaged with our programs. EESC is moving forward to capture these stories and to find the best way to showcase them online.
3) Audience navigation
Technology can level barriers for some, and be a learning curve for others. Audiences come with all different preferences and skill levels. The new content management system helps to customize how content is displayed, even for the audience that just wants a straight list of resources in one place.
Topic landing pages came out ten months ago so teams could organize the content based on audience needs and interests. The “custom topic sections” can gather similar content under easy to skim headings. Keywords (which are now easier to modify) can help filter less relevant content. Links to these resources can still be reached from county page focus areas if people enter the site that way, and topics continue to evolve based on content developed and how audiences look for it.
We’ll continue to work with faculty on improving audience access to resources they depend on in the coming months.
- A recording is available from Quarterly Conversations on Extension’s digital strategy.
- Updates to the faculty and staff directory fixed filter functionality, added new filters and fixed links to county, program and unit/department on profile pages
- A pesticide safety disclaimer is now an option to add in English or Spanish on articles (just check the box on relevant content)
- Content that appears in web-based newsletter issues and or collections now have an attribution stating this connection.
* Assessing the Content of Online Agricultural Awareness Campaigns Joy N. Rumble, Quisto Settle, and Tracy Irani, This research is available in Journal of Applied Communications: https://newprairiepress.org/jac/vol100/iss3/10
So, we have arrived at the point where you’ve dreamed up some digital engagement strategy magic for your Extension program that, once deployed as a Salesforce site, will advance Extension’s mission of serving Oregonians. That’s great! What now?
What’s the time commitment?
The next questions are the obvious ones: what does a CRM project (see “What exactly is a CRM?“) look like in real life? What decisions will need to be made and how will it move from inception to deployment? And… how much time do we need to get the job done? Let’s review a pretty typical framework that helps answer that very question.
Step 1: Assessment, resulting in a Project Charter
The CRM project team will consist of the primary stakeholders inside your Extension program and the Navigator digital engagement strategy team. Work sessions will be scheduled in advance to allow the project team to meet for about four to five hours per week.
The team will focus on establishing what reporting needs exist for the program. In other words, what data points need to be delivered to governmental bodies/agencies, division leadership, program leaders, constituents, or other audiences. Decisions based on this assessment will lead to planning the CRM app design to facilitate collection, analysis, and delivery of that info using Salesforce. The info we glean from this step yields the set of Project Requirements.
Project RequirementsThe operational features of the CRM software that provides the functionality needed for the project to be successful. In other words, if each and every requirement is satisfied by the performance of the CRM software, then the overall project is a success.
Once the Project Requirements are established, we express an agreement to proceed with development work using a Project Charter document signed by the team members. Now, the project may move ahead.
Project CharterA project charter is a formal, typically short document that describes your project in its entirety — including what the objectives are, how it will be carried out, and who the stakeholders are. It is a crucial ingredient in planning out the project.
Step 2: Develop, test, iterate... and repeat
As the Salesforce developer, I will be engaging in dev (development) cycles that fulfill our project requirements. This does mean the time commitment of other members of the team will be relatively low. The primary requirement is time spent reviewing the individual deliverables provided by the developer and providing thorough feedback and/or approval. Review sessions will be scheduled to correspond with incremental milestones reached during each dev cycle. The sessions are expected to occur on a weekly basis.
The goal here is to produce working CRM components, to test each one thoroughly, discover what works and what doesn’t, and then create new iterations of the components until they meet everyone’s behavior and performance expectations.
The Salesforce source (programming) code that delivers the functionality needed to satisfy the project requirements.
Step 3: Deploy, CRM training
The light at the end of the tunnel appears! As we run our project through its final paces, and conquer our last set of bug reports, all we are left to do is celebrate our new CRM app that’s ready to launch for the world to see! Our party will include cupcakes and/or some organic, nut-n-berry muffins, plus a round of high-fives for everyone who contributed to the project’s success. This is the point at which full deployment of the new source code means the new CRM app is “live” for your target audience to access online.
DeploymentThe deployment of a project is the final step that makes the new CRM app available to your users and the broader public. Now that beta testing has been completed, the app is ready to be used for actual work.
Build it and they will come? Well, no, we know better than that. Your team will benefit from a new CRM app only to the degree they’re informed about best practices and how the app becomes a digital tool they can turn to in their day-to-day work. As we did back in the day when Microsoft Word or a web browser was first introduced to our daily routine, a strong “habit” can be hard to establish, but progress should be steady and consistent.
The Navigator team will be there to schedule periodic trainings as well as provide ad hoc support.
The goal is for everyone on your team to make a contribution to the success of new CRM practices. The highest rate of success will come from nearly everyone pitching in to the effort. The Navigator team will coordinate with the leaders in your program to ensure we set the appropriate expectations and respectful approach to the time constraints you face during this time.
About the Navigator digital engagement team. In the coming months, many of you will hear from me (Mark Kindred) as I begin a phase of needs assessments, as a step toward producing a long-term CRM strategy. I look forward to talking with you and ensuring my work is in alignment with the business needs of your unit and the long-term vision of the university. The digital engagement team is looking forward to talking with you about how digital engagement is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits.
Clock icon created by bezier master from Noun Project.
Here are the basic stats for focus area pages, for the period of March 20, 2019 – August 7, 2019:
- Pageviews: 3,655
- Average time on page: 1 min. 17 sec.
- % Entrances (views where it was the first page viewed on the site): 26.59%
- % Exits (views where it was the last page viewed on the site): 28.78%
- % New visitors: 61.53%
These stats (the low time on page, entrance, and exit rates) suggest that visitors are using focus area pages as a navigation tool on the way to the content they want to see. This is what we want to see. Additionally, the percentage of returning visitors to focus areas is significantly higher than for the site as a whole (38.47% vs. 13.12%).
Here is a graph showing how visitors get to focus areas:
A majority (~57%) of visitors to focus areas click on focus areas from a county page. Of those, around 35% do so on the county’s landing page. The second most common way people get to focus areas is by searching on Google or another search engine, which makes up a majority of the “Entrances” in the graph above.
On focus area pages, counties can:
- Select topics to direct visitors to and related experts to contact in their county.
- List programs and events offered in the county related to that topic.
- Highlight individual pieces of educational content that are especially relevant to their county, such as newsletters.
Here is a graph describing where people go from focus areas:
We see that 37.86% of visitors find content of interest and click to it from the focus area – if this type of information has been featured. Watch or read how to do this in our Website User Guide.
Finally, here are the top 10 visited focus areas up to now:
- HAREC Plant Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory Services
- Douglas County Home Garden and Landscape
- Benton County Forestry and Natural Resources
- Douglas County Forestry and Natural Resources
- Deschutes County Home Garden and Landscape
- Lane County Home Garden and Landscape
- Washington County Home Garden and Landscape
- Lane County Forestry and Natural Resources
- NWREC Berry Crops
- Douglas County Livestock and Forages
Ideas for improving county focus areas
Here are some things you can do as a member of a county group to improve your county focus areas:
- If you offer services at your office, make sure to add them to the website. Some of the more popular focus areas are those that give information about services for the public, such as laboratory services, pressure gage testing, and supplies for checkout.
- Make sure to tag your county events with a topic. Events are displayed on focus areas based on the topic(s) they are tagged with. Analytics show that a lot of visitors to focus areas are interested in the events listed there.
EESC will also use this data to make design and functionality improvements for focus areas, which may potentially include making them more visible on topic landing pages or linking to them from content pages themselves.
Recent website updates
OSU recently updated the version of WordPress used for their blog platform. If you use an OSU WordPress site you will see some changes, including a new text editing interface called the Gutenberg Editor. Links to training instructions have been added to the OSU WordPress instructions. Please contact us if you need any help with the new editor, including turning it off.
Alexa, ask OSU Extension what upcoming Master Gardener events are happening near me? Siri, show me all of the OSU Extension Catalog publications on pruning blueberries
While this isn’t a reality today, we designed the website to be “exportable”, giving us the ability to send content to multiple platforms. This might take the form of a virtual assistant, like Alexa, a smartphone application, a chatbot, or whatever the future brings. None of this would be possible without all of that structured content that you all have been creating.
Today, we can interact with machines in highly intuitive, natural ways through smartphones. Virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri have changed the way we interact with machines, using technology like Natural Language Processing (NLP). 1
How people interact with computers is no longer limited to the mouse and keyboard. Recent advances in Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and voice recognition software are rapidly changing how we interact with our devices and computers. Remember when we all used floppy disks, rotary phones, and VCR’s? Do you miss them? Keyboards and mice are also destined to become relics of the past. Talking to your phone feels kind of strange to most people, myself included. I typically just use Siri for settings reminders, alarms, and timers, but much more is possible.
Siri, remind me to create a blog post on August 2nd at 2:00 pm.
For me, this is much faster than launching a program, typing and entering the date and time. Let us know how you are using virtual assistants by leaving a comment below.
Here are some interesting statistics on voice activated searches. 2
- 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
- About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020
- 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.
Providing an engaging, high-quality online experience is a key element to the success of the Navigator project. This online experience can be enhanced by website personalization. In the future, users will be able to create a personal profile by selecting the topics, programs, projects they are interested in, and their location. We can then provide a customized dashboard highlighting the latest tagged content, local events, and much more. Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will be able to provide additional insights into users interests, based on previous interactions with Extension. Here is a simple example of how this might work. “Bob” participated in a canning workshop last fall. Chances are he might be also interested in becoming a Master Food Preserver. Knowing this, next time Bob visits the website, his dashboard displays information on the course and how to register.
Recent website updates
- Members of topic committees are now able to modify content tags.