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NRCS Web Presence. NRCS National Information Technology Seminar 2002. NRCS W EB P RESENCE. Introduction Terry Bish, CCS Where We Began Terry Bish, CCS Phase I: What We Accomplished Jane Grant, ITD Phase II: Where We’re Heading Suzanne Pender, CCS

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nrcs web presence

NRCSWeb Presence

NRCS National Information Technology Seminar 2002



  • IntroductionTerry Bish, CCS
  • Where We BeganTerry Bish, CCS
  • Phase I: What We AccomplishedJane Grant, ITD
  • Phase II: Where We’re HeadingSuzanne Pender, CCS
  • Web Farm Overview & ServicesBarb Pursley, ITD
  • Q&ATerry Bish, CCS
nrcs web presence players
NRCS Web Presence Players
  • Sponsors
    • Terry Bish, Director, Conservation Communications Staff (CCS)
    • Mary Thomas, Chief Information Officer & Director, ITD
  • Web Farm Customer Services Coordinator
    • Barbara Pursley, ITD
nrcs web presence players4
NRCS Web Presence Players
  • Web Modernization Team
      • Suzanne Pender, CCS Lead
      • Jane Grant, ITD Lead
      • Lynette Harris, ITD Lead
      • Bob Kling
      • Tony Nguyen
      • Andre Rudder
      • Cassandra Taylor
      • Darlene Williams
      • Claudette Hayes
phase ii where we re heading
Phase II: Where We’re Heading


  • Content Owner: Responsible for content appropriateness and quality assurance sites.
  • Web Coder: Works for and with content owner to make updates for Web site.
  • IT Representatives: Responsible for server administration, web page presentation, format and content adhering to NRCS look and feel. Trains new users and keeps web coder document current and correct. DOES NOT
where we began
Where We Began

Driving Forces for change

  • Freedom to E-File
  • Section 508
  • Departmental Framework
  • GPEA – Government Paperwork

Elimination Act


NRCS Initiatives – Responding to Driving Forces

  • E Forms
  • WebCAAF
  • E-Directives
  • Web Site Modernization Effort
    • NHQ – Phase I
    • State, Centers, Regions, and Institutes – Phase II
    • NRCS Internet – Phase II
where we began8
Where We Began

Branding an Agency

  • Consistency in Purpose
  • Consistency in Approach/Language
  • Consistency in Image, Design, Logo
where we began9
Where We Began

Problems of Old NRCS Web Site

  • Different look and feel from page to page
  • Constructed piecemeal
  • Information was not placed logically
  • Information was difficult to find
  • Not 508 compliant
phase i where we began
Phase I: Where We Began

Goals of the Web Modernization Team

  • Improve user access to information
  • Provide easier navigation between content areas and enhance searching capability
  • Create consistent agency identity throughout site
  • 508 Compliance (IT’S THE LAW!!)
  • Ease of updates for web coders & content managers
phase i where we began11
Phase I: Where We Began

Web Modernization Team Approach

  • Contract with TeAM for Web Support included:
    • Requirements for NRCS electronic business;
    • Requirements for federal, departmental, and agency guidelines, and laws;
    • Continuous maintenance of Web ;
    • Continuous training for web coders, project managers, and other web personnel.


phase i what we accomplished
Phase I: What We Accomplished
  • Developed questionnaire to identify user requirements for the new NRCS Web Site. (Over 100 interviews were conducted.)
  • Interview results were used to develop the New NRCS Web Presence, which included:
    • Improved accessibility
    • New and better look and feel
    • Cohesive links in line with standards for web construction and maintenance.
    • Emphasis on external and internal customer’s usability.
phase i what we accomplished13
Phase I: What We Accomplished
  • Organized contents by subject rather than by NRCS organization structure
  • Comply with Freedom to E-file Act and Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)
  • Comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (IT’S THE LAW!!)
phase i what we accomplished14
Phase I: What We Accomplished

New Web Site Launched April 8, 2002

  • Enables customers to easily find information pertaining to conservation
  • Provides ease of use and navigation
  • Provides an improved look and feel
  • Integrates USDA search engine
  • Compliance with Rehabilitation Act, section 508 (IT’S THE LAW!!)
look at nrcs now
  • Agency letterhead
  • Agency colors
  • Agency logos
  • Agency-specific graphics

For detailed information on NRCS Web styles:

phase i what we accomplished16
Phase I: What We Accomplished
  • Significant amount of work involved;
  • Training and continuous one-on-one help for web coders is necessary;
  • Web content must be understood and organized before creating a site or subsection;
  • Page testing and review is necessary in every step of the approval process;
  • Collaborative team work to accomplish goals.

Lessons Learned

phase ii where we re heading17
Phase II: Where We’re Heading

Phase II Plans

  • Incorporate the consistent NRCS visual identity in all NRCS Web pages (States, Centers, Institutes, Regions)
  • Continue navigation consistency, usability
  • Develop an Intranet for NRCS employees
  • Continued 508 Compliance (IT’S THE LAW!!)
phase ii where we re heading18
Phase II: Where We’re Heading


  • Continue maintaining current site by fixing age-related content and accessibility issues
  • Research and analyze Content Management System (CMS) solutions
  • Enhance/update design and architecture of site based on post-launch feedback
  • Provide more Web training
  • Implement look-and-feel consistency
  • Develop Intranet for internal users
phase ii where we re heading19
Phase II: Where We’re Heading

Toward a Consistent Look and Feel

phase ii where we re heading20
Phase II: Where We’re Heading

Approval Process – Work in Progress

We want your assistance and input. It is a collaborative effort. A core team will be developed to create procedures to make decisions such as:

  • Who approves sites?
    • Process
  • Steps for coders?
  • Process steps and changes?
phase ii where we re heading21
Phase II: Where We’re Heading

Toward a Consistent Look and Feel




phase ii where we re heading22
Phase II: Where We’re Heading
  • Contract Award
  • Talk to State/Region/Center/Institute staffs – a collaborative effort.
  • Develop Schedule
  • Develop look/feel, navigation plan
  • Develop Intranet

What’s Next - Work in Motion

web farm overview services

Web Farm Overview & Services

Why the Web Farms?

Web Farms in a Nutshell

NRCS Web Farm

Web Farm Services

Applications in the Web Farm

Implementing New Web Farm Procedures

Service-Level Agreements

Barb Pursley, ITD

why the web farms
Why the Web Farms?
  • Drivers
    • USDA Security & Homeland Security
    • Presidential Management Initiative
    • Freedom to eFile, GPEA (eGovernment)
    • OCIO: Web sites open to the public will be hosted outside the USDA network
  • Web sites open to employees only AND where both computer and employees are in the USDA network may be hosted locally
web farms in a nutshell


OCIO Firewall

Web Farms in a Nutshell







Fort Collins

Web Farm

Kansas City

Web Farm

St. Louis

Web Farm

Outside the USDA network






the nrcs web farm


The NRCS Web Farm



public access

(e.g., State Web sites)


public access

(eForms online)














Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANS)

Storage Area




web farm services
Web Farm Services

Web Farm provides:

  • Highly available, reliable, secure environment
  • Web site hosting (static)
    • States, Institutes & Centers, Regions, NHQ
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
    • via anonymous download

Web Farm Services

Web Farm does not provide:

  • State application hosting
    • Software developed by State
    • Database access
applications in the web farm
Applications in the Web Farm

Who Uses the Web Farm

  • New Agency Web pages
  • Web sites for States, Centers, Institutes, Regions
  • Numerous business applications
    • eFOTG, Soils, Gateway, etc.


applications in the web farm30
Applications in the Web Farm
  • Interagency services
    • eForms
    • eDirectives
    • Event calendar
    • Email list server
    • Interagency portal
    • WebCAAF
    • OIP (Office Information Profile)
    • Photo Gallery
implementing new web farm procedures
Implementing New Web Farm Procedures
  • Effectively manage the Web Farm’s growth and future requirements
  • Additional security measures
  • Resource allocation management


service level agreements
Service-Level Agreements
  • Service Level-Agreements (SLA)
    • Signed agreement negotiated between Web site owner and Web Farm
    • Covers the services provided (and not provided)
    • Signed by Web site’s organizational leader or sponsor and Web Farm management


service level agreements33
Service-Level Agreements
  • SLA Inclusions
    • Defines roles & responsibilities for all parties
    • Provides contact information
    • Defines operating arrangements
    • Defines resources (staff, equipment)
  • SLA Exclusions
    • Content review or changes
    • Application development
    • Technical support for software
    • Training or support of site management tools
what s next
What’s Next
  • WebTrends reports (Web site traffic analysis)
  • Automated publishing

Coming soon:



Any questions?

Terry Bish, Moderator