Alerts

Use on individual pages or on all your organization's pages for important, time-sensitive information.

Summary

You can create page-level Alerts or organization Alerts to tell your users important, time-sensitive information, such as a location is closed, or that the application linked from your Service page is down for maintenance.

You can post page-level and organizaiton Alerts to ALL Mass.gov content types except:

  • Contact Information

  • Fees

  • Legacy Redirects

Note: We highly recommend not using Alerts for advisories, news, or nonessential content.

Also, keep in mind that many users access Mass.gov on phones. Creating Alerts substantially affects their reading experience, since their screens are small enough that Alert banners might take up 2 or even 3 lines. Only post Alerts when you really need to.

Important: If you're creating an Alert for a regional or statewide emergency, follow these best practices.

Overview & Alert Placement tab

Alert title

You can use the Alert title to find your Alert in the CMS. Alert titles will be displayed as part of the alert within the yellow banner in sitewide Alerts, but they will not in page-level or organization Alerts. In page-level and organization Alerts, the Alert tiles will only appear on the Alert’s detail page, if the author chooses to use one.

Enter your Alert title

Alert type

There are 3 types of Alerts: page-level, organization, and sitewide. 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.

Choose a page-level or organization Alert

Sitewide Alerts will appear on all pages across Mass.gov, and can only be created by Admins. If your organization needs a sitewide Alert, please file a ServiceNow request.

Target page group & 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 simply typing the name of the page in the autocomplete field.

Tell Mass.gov which pages you would like your alert to appear on

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 simply typing the name into the autocomplete field.

Tell Mass.gov which organizations you would like your alert to appear on

Important: Only users with certain permissions can create sitewide Alerts. If you don't have these permissions, you must select "On specific pages" or "By organization" to publish your Alert.

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.

This field also powers the "Offered by" relationship indicator (the small green rectangle(s) in the upper left corner) on each Mass.gov page. Making sure yours is right will help users who land on your content find their way to your Organization Page.

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

Informational Alerts include “Notice” in small caps before your message:

Informational Alert

Emergency Alerts include “Alert!”:

Emergency Alert

Alert message(s)

You have lots of options for creating content in the Alerts content type. However, not all of that content will appear on the page(s) you post your Alert to. Here’s what visitors to those pages will see on a page-level or organization Alert:

  • The “Alert!” or “Notice” tag

  • Anything you enter into the Content field in the Alert Message section

Note: Keep what you write in the Content field short. Large modern screens fit about 120 characters, but small screens will “wrap” your message (so that it takes up multiple lines).

For example, here's what an Alert looks like on a desktop...

...and here's the same Alert on mobile:

Timestamp

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.

Your timestamp will appear on sitewide Alerts, or on an Alert Detail page

In sitewide Alerts, the timestamp will be displayed as part of the Alert banner and on the Alert Detail page, if you have chosen to use one.

Note: If you have linked your Alert to another page on Mass.gov (for example, an Information Details page), updating that page will not update the timestamp of the Alert.

In page-level and organization Alerts, the timestamp will be displayed on the Alert Detail page, if you have chosen to use one. It will not be displayed as part of the Alert banner.

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 or Service 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.