About the time I think I am aboard the digital era rocket train, I realize I am still standing on the platform. That’s okay. I am long-of-tooth and less nimble than I once was.
Nevertheless, I love the digital era and the Internet and the World Wide Web. I may not stand in line at 3 a.m. to get the latest iPhone. However, don’t take my laptop, Treo and cell phone away — and never, ever unplug my high speed Internet. I cannot live without them. I have become addicted to instant.
Western Farm Press' Web page, Western Farm Press Daily, two e-newsletters covering the tree nut and grape industries (Tree Nut Farm Press) and (Grapeline) and more than 20 online continuing education courses available for California and Arizona licensees professionals are all part of this rapidly evolving digital information autobahn. For months, Farm Press editors and Web developers have been designing a new content management system that will make Western Farm Press' Web site and the digital components attached to it more graphically interesting and easier to find and use. We plan to launch this new platform Sept. 1.
It will be a completely new look and format that’s better organized and more intuitive to our readers. It will allow Farm Press editors to provide more relevant content that is easier to navigate. Features include a more robust search function, based on a new keyword search list; related material that is instantly available; and a new and improved media player.
As an old newspaper man, it is heartening to see the Web become the vehicle for instant dissemination of news and information. I used to think it was a big deal to put out four daily newspaper editions before noon. With our new digital platform, we can disseminate news of agriculture immediately.
The first thing visitors will see when they come directly to the site is a new featured article and photo or video in the upper left hand corner of the home page. In the center column, readers will find a list of “Must Read” articles they will find useful in their farming operations and daily lives.
The upper right corner contains a new feature that will direct readers to collections of articles on the current “Hot Topics” of the day. Readers will also be shown a list of the new topic pages they’ve visited most recently. The topic pages may be especially beneficial to readers. The new platform enables editors to assemble a collection of articles, photos, videos and other features on a single topic in a specific location.
The balance of the left column will include a special video belt displaying the newest videos produced by Farm Press editors and a list of the top feature articles, blogs, podcasts, related videos and Web polls that have recently been displayed on the site.
Continuing Education Course offerings will be more prominently displayed and easier to navigate. This has been particularly popular on Western Farm Press’ Web site as evidenced by the two dozen courses now offered and the 26,000 course completions since the first CE course was launched six years ago. These courses testify to the convenience and easy access provided by the Internet. Web access to these have saved farmers and licensed professionals countless hours, money and time while providing the latest information available to make everyone more efficient agriculturists.
The redesigned Web site will also provide up-to-the minute weather forecasts, commodity quotes and commentaries in the third column on the home page. As an added bonus, the content on our new Web site will be more mobile friendly than in the past so you can access it on mobile devices.
Considerable time and effort has been invested in making the new Western Farm Press site as Web-friendly and content-rich as we possibly can. I think you’ll like it. I look forward to hearing from you after you have a chance to maneuver around the new site. E-mail me — [email protected].