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Open Access Publications from the University of California

User-Friendly Resource Design: Providing Accessible Ground Squirrel Extension for the Web


In terms of internet access, California farmers are some of the most well-connected in the country. According to the USDA, 70% of farms in the U.S. have access to the web as of 2015. In California, 93% of counties exceed that national average. This prompts us to take advantage of the opportunity to employ passive extension approaches, such as websites, which can save both time and resources for Extension audiences and personnel alike. Because digital media can be distributed without the expenses associated with static print resources, this allows us to update our information platforms with greater ease and frequency. Our goal is not to replace print publications, but to adapt Extension resources for a web context and thus connect with a large and geographically extensive audience, especially those who may not customarily seek or have access to more traditional Extension services. A website allows homeowners, landowners, and pest-control professionals to consult this resource freely, at their leisure, and to adopt best management practices more quickly. However, the movement toward cloud-based resources comes with greater web familiarity and thus greater expectations for the websites people use. We are currently developing a ground squirrel best management practices website. In order to provide a user-oriented experience comparable to that of other digital media resources, we need to consider the specific needs and behaviors of a web-based audience. We aim to achieve this by synthesizing new and existing resources into consumable, approachable content on a website that focuses on usability, clarity, visual impact, and site-wide cohesion. We will discuss these goals and how we achieved them.

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