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Overview of changes for county sites

There are two major aspects to the transition of county websites: 1) changing the visual format and organization to match the MU Extension home page, and 2) changing the way pages are edited from using MS FrontPage to a Web-based authoring system for county sites called WebTool.

Format and organization

The new county pages have the same look as the MU Extension home page, with some additional features to localize them. The county home page has a banner with the county office name and optional photo of the office, programming or local scenery. Navigation includes links to these standard pages:
   Location (driving directions and Google map)
   Faculty and staff (directory listing)
   Services (descriptions of services that the county office provides to customers)
   Plans and reports (annual reports and plan of work)
   County extension council (council list, meeting times, links to elected officials)

Screenshot of Vernon County home page
Graphic: screenshot of the Vernon County Extension Center home page in the new format

The navigation menu for "Local programming" will link to subpages with local content about local programs. These subpages might include 4-H clubs, Master Gardeners, county newsletters and pages about county-specific programming.

As you see from the example screenshot above, the home page body is divided into three columns, with navigation on the left and the office address and calendar on the right. The calendar will display all events from WebApps where the county is selected as the "Event county" or under "County audiences."

The center column of the home page holds local content that will be updated regularly to be timely and accurate. As in the example, it can include video clips and graphics.

When creating subpages, you will have a few templates to choose from, with the flexibility to include or omit the right-side calendar. There are only a few templates so far, but as counties start building pages and have different kinds of content and pages to bring in, we will add new templates to accommodate your needs.

Under this new system, all county pages will have the same basic look to preserve consistency across our sites and present a professional, coherent image of MU Extension. To this end, we've also assembled a set of editorial style rules and Web publishing guidelines for county editors to follow.

Editing tool

Counties will no longer use MS FrontPage for editing Web pages. Instead, we have a new Web-based system for editing pages that does not require any new software. This system, called WebTool, is similar to WebApps in the way you log in and click through the menus to change options and add pages and content.

County pages are stored in the database, but the URLs will still show the county folder name. The address for your county home page will be http://extension.missouri.edu/countyname/ or http://extension.missouri.edu/countyname/home.aspx. The only difference is that we will not use .html, .htm or .shtml files any more.

WebTool allows you to edit and preview your pages in an interface designed to be easy to use.  We have added new features and improvements to the system since introducing it in June 2010 and we will continue to improve it. Your feedback, suggestions and feature requests are welcome.

Our goal for WebTool is to
1. make the tool easy enough to use that you don't need too much training,
2. place as much of the instructions and help files right in the tool so that you don't have to look far for it, and
3. make it flexible enough that counties can either have a minimal site that is easy to update occasionally or a robust site that is growing constantly.

Because the WebTool is Web-based, all you need is a browser and Internet access to update pages. You do not need to be on the campus network; pages can be edited from anywhere.

WebTool is located at http://extension.missouri.edu/webtool/, but staff will only be granted authoring access for county sites when they have received initial training. In addition to training, the Web team will work with each county to evaluate their content and help organize files and navigation for the new site.

In addition to the Web site management tool, the tool for managing county "Web resources" is also here. These resources are short blurbs about local programs (much like Google ads) that appear on the statewide category pages. For an example, see http://extension.missouri.edu/main/DisplayCategory.aspx?C=4 and choose Boone County or St. Charles County to localize on the right. The county calendar and local resources will appear.

All regional staff have already been given access to add resources.
How to add local resources


 

 

 




Contact
  Kate Akers, Technical and training support
  DeeAnna Adkins, Editorial style and design support