Aug 25, 2020Enviroweather at MSU debuts test version of new website
The new site will go live in August 2020 and can be navigated to directly at: alpha.enviroweather.msu.edu. You will find multiple places to reach the new site on our current website (enviroweather.msu.edu). This arrangement will allow you to switch back and forth between website versions as needed, and we hope this will make it easier to become familiar with the layout and functions of the new website. Please keep in mind this is a test version, so you should expect to see some subtle changes in the website as we continue to develop some features.
We are still in the process of adding some of our models to the new website, but models and applications that are not yet developed for the new site will link to models on the current website. Both of these websites will remain accessible during this test phase, which will likely extend through the 2021 growing season. Eventually, the old site will be decommissioned and the new site will be directly accessed through the original web address: enviroweather.msu.edu.
The new Enviroweather platform features multiple changes that are designed to satisfy critical needs and make improvements previously identified from user surveys. The new design will be easier to use than the current website, and it will be geared toward viewing on smartphones and tablets. One major change will allow you to create an account and save preferences on a dashboard. This will provide faster access to the crop and pest models and weather information that is most important for each user’s production operations. The new site also includes a feature where you can create “Custom Sites” that can be used to distinguish different sections of a farm that may need different management strategies.
As with any new technology, it may take a little time to get used to a new way of doing things. To help with this, user guides are available through the “Information” link on the menu bar near the top of the page. In addition, each model or tool on the website has a “Description” tab that contains additional information on running and interpreting the model to help with decision making.
Enviroweather will host several webinars during the fall of 2020 and continue through the winter and spring of 2021. These training webinars will demonstrate how to set up an account and a dashboard, save preferences and help users navigate the new website. Announcements for these will come through MSU Extension News, so if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for MSU Extension News e-newsletters for the crops and other topics that are most relevant for you.
As always, Enviroweather welcomes your feedback, and the new website includes a straight-forward way to share your comments and ask questions about the new platform. The Feedback Form is available under “Information” on the menu bar. You can always contact Enviroweather’s program coordinator, Keith Mason, at [email protected] or 517-355-3897 for assistance with the tools and features on either website.
– Keith Mason and Jeffrey Andresen, Michigan State University, Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences