You can create Page-level Alerts or Organization Alerts to tell your users important, time-sensitive information, such as that a location is closed, or that the application linked from your Service page is down for maintenance. You can post Page-level and Organization Alerts to all Mass.gov content types except Promotional pages.
(A separate content type, Sitewide Alerts, is restricted to use by designated authors, mainly in the Governor’s Office, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and Department of Public Health.)
Alerts can take about 30 minutes to appear on Mass.gov, though they will display right away when viewed on edit.mass.gov.
Example of Alert on Organization page on a desktop computer
Alternatives to Page-level and Organization Alerts
Note that Alerts can substantially affect the reading experience of Mass.gov users, especially those accessing the site via mobile devices with small screens. Only post Alerts when you really need to.
We recommend against using Alerts to promote advisories, news, or nonessential content.
Such content can be displayed in other ways, such as via various sections on your Organization or other key pages.
Be sure to remove Alerts once the message is no longer relevant.
Overview & Alert Placement tab
Alert titles can be used to find your Alerts in the CMS.
They will be displayed on Mass.gov pages as part of the Alert within the yellow banner as well as on the Alert’s detail page, if the author chooses to use one.
Alert title field
Page- and organization-level Alerts can appear as:
A standalone Alert title
An Alert title with a link to an existing page
An Alert title and Alert message with no link
An Alert title and Alert message with a link to an existing page
An Alert title and Alert message with a link to an Alert Detail page
If you choose to configure the Alert as only the Alert title or the Alert title with a link, then check the box found below the “Target page” that reads: “Hide alert message, use alert title only.”
Doing so will open up 2 new fields called “Alert timestamp” and “Alert title link option.” Clicking the “Alert title link option” called Link to an existing page on Mass.gov or to an external page will open another field called “Alert link title” in which you can add a link.
Target page options
If you’re using an Alert title and an Alert message, you’ll want them to work together. The title should be brief, and the message should expand upon the title. If the overall alert can't be expressed in an Alert message, then that's when you want to link to a special page with more info or use an Alert detail page.
You can choose between 2 Alert types, those that appear on specific pages or by organization.
Most of the Alerts on Mass.gov are page-level. This option allows you to select 1 or more individual pages where the Alert will appear.
Organization Alerts will appear on all your organization's pages across Mass.gov. Use this option for important information constituents should see, regardless of which of your pages they land on. Remember, this option will put an Alert on potentially thousands of pages if you are a large organization.
Target page & target organization
If you have chosen to create an Alert for specific pages, you can use this section to tell Mass.gov which pages you want the Alert to appear on. You can add as many Mass.gov pages as you’d like by typing the name of the Target page in the autocomplete field and then clicking on “Add another item” to add more.
Choose Alert type and target page
If you have chosen to create an Alert to appear on all your organization's pages, you can use this section to tell Mass.gov which organizations you want the Alert to appear on. You can add as many Mass.gov organizations as you'd like by typing the name into the autocomplete field and clicking on the “Add another item” button to add more.
If you want to convert a Page-level alert to an Organization alert, be sure to clear the target page fields first.
You’ll find the Organization(s) field at the bottom of the first tab in every Mass.gov content type, and in documents. This field tells Mass.gov’s search which pages belong to which organization.
This is optional, however it is very helpful. Add one or more labels to be used for grouping and finding related content and documents within the CMS.
Start typing in the Label(s) field to choose an existing label from a dropdown menu that will appear or add a new label by entering it directly.
Alert Content tab
Alert severity label
There are two types of Alert severity on Mass.gov: an informational “Notice” or an emergency “Alert.” Most of the Alerts you create will likely be “Notices.”
Choose your Alert severity label
The Alert severity label appears on the page as an icon prior to each Alert title. Red is for an emergency Alert, yellow is for a Notice.
Alert severity labels
The Alert message is content that explains your Alert beyond what’s in the title. Visitors to pages with Alerts will see the following:
The “Alert!” or “Notice” icon
Anything you enter into the Alert title field
Anything you enter in the Alert message field if they click to expand the Alert
Alert message content field
The timestamp shows the date and time the Alert was last updated. It can give your audience an idea of how recent the information contained in the Alert is.
Alert message timestamp
Linking to an existing page
The default option is to link your Alert to an existing page on or off of Mass.gov. You can choose which page to link the Alert to by using the autocomplete field to search for a page title on Mass.gov, or pasting the URL address to a page on an external site. Linking to an Information Detail page is a useful way for giving users more specific information about your Alert. The link you enter will automatically be added to the Alert message text.
Linking to an existing Mass.gov or external page
Linking to an Alert Detail page
You may also choose to link to an Alert Detail page, which is an additional page where the user can find more information.
If you select this option, the Alert Detail page will automatically be created when you publish the Alert. It will include:
The Alert title
The Alert message
You may also add the following items:
More content, using the rich text field
iFrames and Videos
You can move rich text, iFrames, and videos on your Alert Detail page up or down using the crosshairs in the upper left, or by using row weights on the right.
Show Alert Message only, with no link
If there's nothing more to add to the Alert Message, select this option and that's all visitors will see.
When creating an Alert you can access the “Scheduled Transitions” tab upon saving it as a draft. This lets you set an unpublish date up to 6 months out.
If you publish an Alert without setting an unpublish date, a message will appear on the screen telling you that it will unpublish in 14 days by default.
Click on the Reschedule transition link in that message and a pop-up will appear. There, you can reset the unpublish date up to 6 months out.
Click the Reschedule transition button at the bottom of the box to have your changes take effect.
You'll receive an email reminder within 1 week of when your Alert is due to unpublish, and at that time you can choose to let the Alert unpublish or reschedule its unpublish date. This only applies to Alerts that are on the site for more than a week.
Make sure to add your Alert to all pages you believe visitors would see it. If you use a page-level Alert, we suggest you target Organization and Services pages as well as those that typically get the most traffic. You can get a high-level view of your pages' traffic from the All content screen. Or you can add the Alert to all of your organization's pages, but remember this could put the Alert on potentially thousands of pages.
It's a good idea to check with authors from other organizations to help avoid creating duplicative content. If you share affected services, consider collaborating on your emergency Information Details page and sharing the Alert across both of your content.
If you believe an emergency warrants a sitewide Alert, please contact the Governor's Office or the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)