The AgCenter recently redesigned their 4-H websites. During that time we revamped no only the look and feel but also the content we offered. Our goals were to have a marketing and recruitment tool for new members and parents, a retention tool to help maintain member longevity and a learning tool to supplement parish programs and project books.
These four main portals make up the 4-H website family.
To make the site as attractive and effective as it needed to be, we decided to create a family of sites that gather a related group of designs, tailored to each audience, under a single “gateway” design. The gateway design would have to be attractive to a general audience, easy to navigate, and quickly lead the segmented audiences to the areas of the site where they can find more customized, targeted design wrapped around age/audience specific content. The gateway portal features areas to highlight prominent events, news, and programs and breakout portals for camp, kids and teens. Sarah –as you click each area will be highlightedDrop Down Menus – for easy navigationRotating Banner – to highlight featured contentLatest PicturesLink to Kids’ Clubhouse News Feed – which is pulled by RSS from the 4-H News areaLink to Teen PortalRecent VideosHot List andFeatured Site – which changed based on what is current
Our first subsite portal developed was for our camp grant walker facility. With 4-H summer camp being the most popular 4-H event, a site was needed to feature the camp. Campers and parents and individuals interested in renting the facility can find the information they need. Included is a facility calendar, facility tour, photos, forms and information about upcoming camps.
The virtual tour is a feature that gives a panoramic tour that users can pan over to see the camp grounds. This feature uses Flash.
We have also made use of the popular Flickr photo site to stream pictures and slideshow within the site design.
The “4-H Kids Clubhouse” section of the site, which started with very little content, needed a different approach to attract the 4th-6th grade youth. Focus groups were conducted with a variety of youth in the age group to determine what site features would be the most attractive. Emphasis was placed on marketing the 4-H program to new youth while providing educational concepts. Click to next Slide.Focus Groups – 2 groups of kids (around 10 in each group) in the 4th-6th grade were brought in during summer camp and asked to tell us about their favorite sites, what they liked about those sites, what 4-H programs they were most interested in seeing in the future, whether or not they used the Louisiana 4-H website and what they would like to see on the website that would make them use it more.At our 4-H University event 10 teens agers were brought in and asked similar questions.
Brightly colored, graphic rich images were incorporated with interactive features and games to make the site as attractive to the target audience as possible. Iconic school images such as rulers and notebook paper were used in a whimsical manner to create a sense of familiarity without seeming didactic, so as to be in keeping with comments from members of the focus group, who indicated a willingness to participate in educational material if they “didn’t know it was educational.” The resulting “ 4-H Kids’ Clubhouse” is tailored to fourth- through sixth-graders and features nearly a hundred games, quizzes, downloadable activities and videos. Launched October 29, 2008, the Website, based on the entry project book for 4-H, is broken down into six areas: agriculture, environment, plants, animals, family and world. These areas cover activities and educational concepts that explore the many different areas and projects that 4-H offers, all while reinforcing the curriculum presented in 4-H club meetings across the state.
One of our most popular games, “The Farmer”.This game was purchased from a company who did customizations for the LSU AgCenter by adding our logo and making grammatical and spelling changes. This game is hosted on the LSU AgCenter server.Read slide.
Several game templates were purchased that can be reused and customized. These games templates include the crossword, word search, jigsaw puzzle, matching game, quiz and word jumbler. Other games were found on external sites and embedded on pages with 4-H branding. . The goal was not to build every game ourselves but to create an environment where youth would want to come to access a variety of fun games while being exposed to the 4-H brand and educational information. We want to associate the word “fun” with “4-H” in new ways..
The Kids site features not only games but educational activities pulled from our project books and an online bookshelf of recommended educational books.
The site also feature videos in each portal area. Most videos are hosted on YouTube to both increase traffic and give youth something familiar and popular to associate with. Read slide blurbs.LOST = Louisiana Outdoor Science & Technology camp (7th-8th graders)
In order to capitalize on youth interest while 4-h is fresh in their mind a web contact form was developed.The Join Now feature allows youth who are on the website to quickly and immediately submit their information and/or questions to 4-H agents. The information is emailed to the 4-H agent for the appropriate parish and the agent is responsible to contact the interested youth with more information. This feature is used quite often, sometimes by current 4-H’ers saying hi or asking a question, and oftentimes by youth wanting more information on their local 4-H and how they can join.
The teen portal is our most recently developed portal. It features an image gallery, teen directed news and opportunities and featured sites and links. Work will begin on developing content areas for teens this year.
As part of the teen area an online training module was purchased to allow teens the ability to practice contest simulations before competing at the annual 4-H University event.
Louisiana 4-H Online - Reaching Audiences Better with Enhanced Design
Reaching audiences better with an enhanced
What are we trying to
Modules are important, but should be designed
as an aid to program leaders, not a replacement
for club activities
What is Needed?
Primary focus: 4th-6th
Secondary consideration: New overall design
Overall, age-neutral gateway that will serve as
a launching pad for age-appropriate portals
portal – “4-H Kids Clubhouse”
Camp Grant Walker
•Drop Down Menus
•Link to Kids’ Clubhouse
•Link to Teen Portal
Viewers use their mouse to pan over the image to see a 360º view of camp.
Images are loaded to a Louisiana 4-H Flickr account and embedded using Flash into the CMS page.
Louisiana 4-H Kid’s Clubhouse
Target Age: 4th-6th Grade
Content areas based on Discovering 4-H Project Book.
Special URL: www.4-HClubhouse.com
Primary Goal: Marketing and Education
The Farmer Game
Kids grow crops, raise
chickens and sell their
products in this
fun, interactive farm
game. They have to
make decisions about
what crops to purchase
and when to
fertilize, water and spray
Offsite Hosted Game
•4-H Program information
•“How To” activity sheets
•Guides to local bike clubs, park
and nature trails.
Middle School aged youth were
approached at our Louisiana LOST
camp to help host educational how-to
In addition, the poultry specialist
worked with the LSU AgCenter
Communications department to
produce videos showing youth how to
do poultry showmanship.
Target Age: 7th-12th
•Image gallery with links
•Hot List featuring
famous 4-H’ers and life
and career skills.
•Trip and Opportunities
Main portal is developed
but content areas have
not been completed.
Work will begin on the
teen portal content this
Online Training Module – 4-H U
Online Training Module for our
4-H University Contest
•Uses XML files for backend allowing
us to easily add new modules and
•Developed by Portico Learning
•Substantial cost ($15,000)
Addition of new games monthly
Online poll feature
Enhanced educational content pages
Online access to Louisiana developed project books
Educational content modules
Online video submission
Online access to Louisiana developed project books
Online Service-Learning Web site
Enhanced volunteer materials
Email Katina Hester at