In this article, we'll take you on a tour around your Community Essentials site, helping you become comfortable with its layout and most important features.
- If you're an admin, this will help you hit the ground running building an engaging community that meets the needs of its members.
- If you're a user, this will help you understand where to view community content and engage with other members.
At the top of your site is the navigation menu. Because it's located within the site header, it's available at all times, ensuring you can quickly access a page at any time.
Use this menu to quickly access the primary areas of your Community Essentials site.
NOTE: A down arrow next to a menu option indicates a dropdown with additional options.
The Participate menu is particularly important, as it serves as a jumping off point to share information and content with the community. As you can see in the image above, you can:
- Post a message to the community discussion
- Upload a file to the community library
- Post a news article (admin only)
While you can also perform these actions from within the community, this menu enables you to do so from anywhere, and do so quickly.
Likely the first page you'll see upon logging in is the Home page. Because it's one of the most visited pages, it's purpose is to provide an automatically updating feed of the latest community content, like discussion posts, library entries, and news articles. It also showcases other important information, like upcoming events, unanswered discussion posts, and community polls.
The Home page serves as a jumping off point to quickly get to the content you're most interested in viewing.
NOTE: To learn more about customizing your Home page, see Update Your Site Home Page.
Your two communities
Your Community Essentials site includes two communities: Open Forum and Staff Forum. While similar, these communities have some obvious distinctions and serve different purposes. Let's dissect each to better understand them.
This is your public-facing, member-centric, Topic Community. In a Topic Community, all content, upon creation, must be flagged with one or more of the topic tags that were created by a Super Admin, in order to ensure that all content belongs to organization-approved categories. This makes all community content easily searchable by users interested in specific topics.
In your Topic Community, your community members can:
- Engage in discussions
- Share (upload) files in the library
- See upcoming community events
- Personally connect with one another
This is your private community, for exclusive use by administrators and staff. It's primary purpose is to be a testing site in which Super Admins and Community Admins can preview different settings and configurations before making them "live" in the member community. For example, use the on-page semi-transparent edit options to customize the Home page or use the Color Picker to sample different color schemes for text, buttons, and links.
NOTE: Super Admins, Community Admins of this community, and anyone in the Staff security group can access and use the Staff Forum community, and the navigation option in the top menu will be visible to them only.
After using it to plan your member community, this community is an ideal staff community in which to share ideas and information relating to the community.
Engage with others
From within your Open Forum community, you'll see five tabs:
- Community Home - Much like your Community Essentials site's Home page, the community Home page serves as a feed that showcases the latest community discussion posts, library uploads, news articles, and events.
- Discussion - View all of the conversations happening in the community discussion.
- Library - View all of the files that admins and members have shared in the community library.
- Events - View a list of all upcoming events.
- Members - View a list of the names and email addresses of all community members. From here, you can also send a message to a member's profile inbox, add them as a Contact to more easily stay in touch, and click their name to view their profile. In addition, like the Directory, you can search for someone by first name, last name, and/or email address.
Find and connect with others
If you're new to the Higher Logic platform, you may be wondering how to search for and find other users. If so, the answer is simple: the Directory.
The Directory is similar to your site search, but instead of searching for content you're searching for people. This is accomplished via criteria like first name, last name, email address and location. The ultimate goal of using the Directory is accessing user profiles and connecting with others, and it can most simply be explained as the interface through which users' profiles are searched for and displayed.
A user's profile page may include general information about them, like their name, bio, contact details, and educational background (we say "may" because this information is voluntarily provided per user).
NOTE: See Find Other Members to learn more.
Available only to Super Admins, the Admin interface enables you to configure important settings for your Community Essentials site, run reports to garner insights into how your site is performing, create polls to keep a finger on the pulse of your members, and more.
To access this interface, click the Admin on the Admin Toolbar.
NOTE: See Admin Interface Overview to learn more.
Manage community settings
Super Admins and Community Admins have access to an area of settings for their Community Essentials site. These settings control various aspects of the community, such as community events, join and view permissions, and content moderation.
To access these options, simply click Settings to the right of the community name.
NOTE: To learn more about all of these options and features, refer to the articles in the Manage Your Topic Community section.