Extension Website Update Fall 2023
From Judy Bingman
There have been several variations of the Extension website system. As the needs of the organization changed, so did the functionality of the website and its complexity. As the technology advanced, so did our attempt to keep up.
Three years ago the Director of Information Technology and then Director of Communications and their managers outlined the strategy for what would be the guiding principles for website development for Extension. The past 3 years have been the living of that plan.
There were 3 Phases. So far, together we have:
· Aligned the site branding to the required campus standards.
· Improved site security with the Drupal 9 upgrade (be aware, Drupal 10 is on its way)
· Ensured site meets all accessibility requirements.
· Identified a group structure that would allow unit sites to live independently but allow for easy sharing of statewide content.
· Identified and installed important functionality, including filtering of events, releases, and staff by unit, keyword, and program area.
· Improved the visual representation of the site and expanded the options of displaying images.
· Simplified the editing process and provided real-time and recorded training on each aspect of content development and editing, including a new User Manual which will be released Friday and previewed today.
· Improved the user experience by changing from a global hodgepodge of content and deep navigation clicks to topic-specific content in independent, yet linkable, topic-based websites.
· In those topic-based websites, we’ve customized the navigation so it fits the unique needs of that topic and we’ve assigned content ownership to experts in those areas so that only those with permission can add and edit content.
· There was a flurry of websites built in 2006-2010. They were built in a now archaic platform, cold fusion. We’ve identified 432 of these sites or partial sites and have successfully transitioned 326 of them to either new topic sites or respectfully bid them a fond farewell. Of the remaining 100, 72 have clear paths forward and are in process for transition to new Drupal sites. The rest, if unclaimed, will be removed by end of year.
· We identified a system to allow for registered website users which can track participants’ achievement through courses; today’s Moodle Online Learning System which several of those 432 legacy sites required.
· We’ve added new content types we’ll demonstrate today, including remote videos, recipes, podcasts, and newsletters.
· We’ve elevated the exposure of local and state blogs.
· We’ve cleaned up unit site navigation so you can better showcase the local programs you offer and not worry about those statewide programs you don’t.
· We’ve simplified the process of taking digital content and turning it into a newsletter that meets all the required brand elements and accessibility features.
· We’ve simplified the podcast procedure and elevated their exposure.
· We’ve elevated the impact of our program area successes by cleaning up the global navigation and creating pages specifically designed by program leaders for their teams.
· As we enter Phase 3 of the original strategic plan, the web team is perfecting the final needs identified that day in the basement of Taft: a filter function that allows the public to apply multiple filters to a database of content and return tailored results. This function is used on the legacy sites, such as trees, wildflowers, and shrubs.
Keyword Expertise in Biographies
Remote Video process
Topic Websites and the Removal of Legacy sites from Websites
EWM Registrations vs. Website Events
- List of Available Keywords
- Example of Remote Videos
- Example of Recipe
- Example of Newsletter
- Homepage of Podcasts
- Sizing Photos to Pixel Sizes
- How to Write Staff Titles
- Creating Accessible PDFs