Public & visitor feedback
Alerts (sitewide)
Use for important, time-sensitive information that needs to run across the entire Mass.gov site. Using this content type is restricted to specific roles and users.

Why use this content type?

Use Sitewide Alerts to share important, time-sensitive information, such as about severe weather or a public health emergency.
Creating Sitewide Alerts is restricted to designated authors, mainly in the Governor’s Office, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and Department of Public Health.
Sitewide Alerts are different than Page-level and Organization Alerts, which can be created by any author and display only on specific pages. Learn more about 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 Sitewide Alerts when you really need to.
Only 1 Sitewide Alert banner can display at a time, so if it links to multiple alert messages, it needs to be worded clearly. It also should be brief, as everyone who visits Mass.gov will see this Alert on every page they read.
Sitewide Alert in desktop view
Sitewide Alert on a mobile device

Overview & Alert Placement tab

Alert title

Alert titles can be used to find your Alerts in the CMS.
They also 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 fieldeld
Sitewide Alerts can appear as:
  • A standalone Alert title
  • An Alert title and Alert message with no link
  • An Alert title and 1 or more Alert messages with links to existing pages
  • An Alert title and 1 or more Alert messages with links to Alert Detail pages
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.

Organization(s)

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.
Organization selector

Labels

This is optional, however it is very helpful. Add one or more labels to 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.
Labels field

Alert Content tab

Alert severity label

There are two types of Alert severity on Mass.gov: an informational “Notice” or an emergency “Alert.”
Alert severity lable
The Alert severity label appears on the page as an icon prior to each Alert title.

Sitewide Alert message(s)

The Alert message is content that explains your Alert beyond what’s in the title. Visitors to pages with Sitewide 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. This message will show by default on the Mass.gov homepage and only if the visitor clicks to expand the Alert on all other pages.

Sitewide Alert message

Enter text you want to display here. Be concise. Limit length to about 75 characters to keep alerts to 2-3 lines on a phone. T
Sitewide Alert message field

Timestamp

Optional. 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.
For Sitewide Alerts, this date is shown with each alert message.
Timestamp field
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.
Link to an existing page on Mass.gov or to an external page
You may also choose to link to an Alert Detail page, which is an additional page where the user can find more information.
Link to an Alert Detail page
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
  • A Timestamp
You may also add the following items:
  • More content, using the rich text field
  • iFrames and Videos
  • Contact Information
  • Related links
If there's nothing more to add to the Alert Message, select this option and that's all visitors will see.

Contact

Optional. Select a Contact Information item to appear in the sidebar on the Alert Detail page, if your Alert has an Alert Detail page.
Contact Information field
Optional. Add links to related information to appear in the sidebar on the Alert Detail page, if your Alert has an Alert Detail page.
Related links field

Scheduled unpublishing

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.
Transition schedule
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.

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