AGNR Groups

Web Groups for the College of Agriculture &
Natural Resources and Affiliates

New Extension programs, old website: Your options

So, you have a new educational program or collection of subject matter that you want to share online. The Extension website is a great place to put it! Historically, new programs have been given a “Section” on the Extension website, which provides a homepage and a tabbed menu in which you can organize your content.

Unfortunately, the Extension website is old and tired, and some of the features it was built on have broken and are currently unsupported. This means that if you request a new section for your material, it won’t look or feel the same way as some of the older sections on the site. Some features are not available at all.

But there is good news!

  1. We are working on building a new Extension website. The new site will be developed working closely with Extension stakeholders, and will make good use of the newest features of web technology to ensure a great experience for you and your visitors!
  2. You can still add your content to the existing website; it will just work a little differently.

Below, we summarize the options available to Extension educators who need a web presence, from the easiest to most complicated to implement. We recommend Option 2, but you are free to choose based on your own requirements.

Option 1: Do nothing

If you have a small amount of content and it is not an urgent priority, you may want to wait until the new website is available.

Pros

Cons

You won’t have to spend any extra time re-doing the work you’ve already done. You can put your content directly into the new site, and be assured that nothing will need to be refactored to fit into the new design.

The new website does not have a launch date yet, but I would not count on it being fully launched until 2021.

 

Option 2: Use Educational Articles to post your content (preferred)

This is the option that we encourage you to try first. The Extension website was designed to use this content type for presenting subject matter, so it is a great choice if you want to share facts, figures, how-to’s, and other educational material.

If you already have an account on the Extension site, you can begin creating Educational Articles right now without any additional assistance from the Web Team. View the Website Manual for more information on Educational Articles.

Pros

Cons

  • The fastest option; you can begin immediately.
  • Less work than Options 3 and 4
  • Most versatile; you can link Educational Articles to others, display them in multiple sections, and they will most likely migrate easily to the new site.
  • Each new article will be displayed at the top of the list of articles on its associated “Topic Area” page
  • Articles can be linked together with an attached outline (similar to a menu)
  • Articles can be integrated with a Program later on if needed.
  • You don’t get the specialized layout of a program homepage
  • Your program will not be listed on the Programs page or sidebar of your Topic Area page (e.g. Food and Nutrition)

 

Option 3: Add your content to an existing section

If you work closely with other subject matter experts or have content that fits well with another topic already on the site, you can piggyback on that section.

This solution will only work for a few use cases, but for those cases, it will make management a snap!

Pros

Cons

  • Short setup time; all you need is permission from the owner of the section you’ll be sharing
  • Keeps editing simple: shorter lists of content, fewer menus to manage; etc.
  • If you already manage a related program on the website, you can manage both from the same place
  • Most features (events list, articles list, menu) are shared with other content and content editors
  • Lack of a dedicated “hub” for your content

 

Option 4: Create a new Program with limited features

If any of the solutions above will work for you, we encourage you to use them, because discrepancies between older Programs and newer (feature-limited) Programs may cause confusion/frustration for you and your users. The main reason to choose this option is if it's absolutely essential to show up in the Extension Programs list—and most people find website content through search, so this is probably less essential than you think it is.

Pros

Cons

  • On first look, this provides the most similar appearance to other established Programs.
  • Includes homepage with specialized layout
  • Listed on Programs page and sidebar of your Topic Area page (e.g. Food and Nutrition)
  • Top tabs will not display
  • Sidebar menu will not display
  • Automated Events and Articles list will not display
  • Header graphic will only display on homepage (not other pages)

Even if you choose Option 4, because you will not have a traditional menu available to organize your content, Educational Articles remain the best way to share subject matter with your website’s visitors. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Educational Articles on the Website Manual.

The AGNR Web Team is happy to help with your decisions regarding this matter and offer tips to switch from the "old," fully featured Program model to a new workflow. Contact us here.