Software Updates for March

A newly redesigned homepage for the eXtension Public Site was released today along with some several miscellaneous performance improvements and features in the Ask an Expert application.

The Public Site

The continued growth in the number of eXtension Communities of Practice strained the existing homepage layout as more and more communities were added to the Resource Areas section. We realized that the page design would need to change to accommodate all the new communities. At the beginning of this year we began a process of examining how the current homepage was being used by site visitors and used that information to guide the design process.

The new homepage design, launched today, includes a new “accordion” navigation to display Communities of Practice, a rotating listing of sponsors and partners, a tighter focus on listed events in the immediate future, a stronger visual impact to distinguish the homepage from interior pages, a direct link to Ask an Expert, an expanded list of featured articles and an expanded recent articles, FAQs, learning lessons and news listing.

Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert question assignment interface has been sped up. Additionally, when searching for someone to assign a question, the information in the expert profile view has been expanded to include an ordered and easy to scan list of expertise areas. Some tooltip views are so large that they get cut off the page, this will be addressed in a future release; however, to view the full profile you can now click the expert’s name and their profile will slide open below.

Another change can be seen on Ask an Expert profile pages. Profiles now include a listing of all open (unanswered) questions assigned to that person. Here’s a list of open questions as seen on the Assignment Dashboard. Click on an expert’s name to see what else they might be assigned.

The full text search for related AaEs/FAQs when answering a question has also been improved. Now, the search results are more accurate and you can even search by ID number of an AaE/FAQ if it’s already known what existing answer will be used to answer the question.