The look and feel of a community is fully customizable using drag and drop rearrangement to fully custom development and integration with external site and applications.
Table of Contents
- Basic Editing
- Advanced Editing
- Managing Pages and Creating Custom Pages
- Customizing Styling
- Creating and Editing Widgets
- Best Practices
User interface customization is based on the concept of themes. Themes define the visual organization and styling for the community user experience. To learn more about the components and purposes of a theme, see What is a theme?
Editing themes is primarily handled within the management panels. To access the theme options,
- Go to Manage > Manage Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme).
- The available options for editing the theme are then presented. To edit the default version of a theme, select the Manage Default Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme) from the list of theme management options (note that the site theme does not have a default implementation).
- Select Edit this Page.
You are now viewing the page editor. Each widget on the header, page, and footer now includes a header. When you place your mouse over the header, you'll be given options to configure the widget (if it supports configuration), manage its responsive behavior (if the theme supports responsive reflowing), change the widget's format, and remove the widget from the layout.
When hovering over a widget, select the option to configure the widget (not all widgets support configuration options):
Each type of widget exposes its own set of configuration options. In the screenshot, a Generic Content widget was selected for configuration, so the configuration form allows for the title, content, and style options to be defined. Some widget expose multiple sets of configuration options and, in those cases, a row of tabs appears at the top of the configuration form to enable switching between the different types of configuration options exposed by the widget.
When you're done making changes, click Save. Note that this has not committed any changes and other visitors to the community are not affected. The save is only to your current in-process edit of the page. The widget that you configured will have its preview updated to reflect your configuration changes.
If the theme supports responsive reflow behavior for small screens, the icon in the widget toolbar will appear. Clicking it shows the options for responsive reflow behavior:
Select the behavior you'd like for this widget:
- Always shown, Priority 1 in single column mode: The widget will be shown in the multi-column layout and single-column layout. When in single column layout, the widget will have a priority of 1 with respect to other widgets.
- Always shown, Priority 2 in single column mode: The widget will be shown in the multi-column layout and single-column layout. When in single column layout, the widget will have a priority of 2 with respect to other widgets.
- Always shown, Priority 3 in single column mode: The widget will be shown in the multi-column layout and single-column layout. When in single column layout, the widget will have a priority of 3 with respect to other widgets.
- Only shown in single column mode: The widget is only shown in the single-column layout. It is hidden from the multi-column layout.
- Hidden in single column mode: The widget is only shown in the multi-column layout. It is hidden in the single-column layout.
For more details on responsive reflow and mobile support, see How does Telligent Community support mobile devices?
A widget's format is a theme-defined list of options controlling how the widget should be styled, selecting the option shows the list of formats:
Select the format for the widget from the available options. For the default theme, these options are:
- No Border with No Spacing: The widget will have no borders and no spacing between itself and the widgets around it.
- No Border with Spacing: The widget will have no borders, but will have spacing between itself and the widgets around it.
- No Border with Spacing and Header: The widget will have no borders, will have spacing, and will show its title/header.
- Top Border: The widget will have a top border.
- Top Border and Header: The widget will have a top border and will show its title/header.
When editing a header, footer, or default version of a page, the widget toolbar will include a lock icon which can be toggled on or off to lock the widget in child contexts. To learn more about locking and inheritance, see What is a theme?
To remove a widget, select the option from the widget's toolbar. Note that this change is not committed until the entire page is saved or previewed.
You can drag and drop widgets to change their order or region within the page. Start dragging anywhere on the widget (its toolbar or content).
To add a widget, find the type of widget you'd like from Edit this Page management panel and drag it onto the page where you'd like it to be placed:
Once the widget is placed on the page, it's preview will load and you can use the toolbar options to further configure the widget.
The same editing session can be used to make changes to the header, page, or footer. To switch between the header, page, or footer, hover over the area you'd like to edit and click it's Edit Header (or Footer or Page) button:
This will change the Edit this Page management panel to control customizing the layout and widgets in the newly selected area (header, page, or footer).
To change the layout, go to the Edit this Page panel and select the Layout tab:
Click on the layout you'd like to use for the current area (page, header or footer) being edited. The existing widgets will be rearranged into the new layout so you can preview the changes easily before fine tuning widget placements by dragging and dropping widgets.
As you make changes, you may find that you want to revert changes that you haven't yet published or revert changes to the default for the community. To do this, click Revert on the Edit this Page panel:
You'll see the header, page, and footer with the current published and unpublished state of each area. To revert an area, click it to see the reversion options. Depending on the edited state, you may be able to revert to the factory default, the configured default, or revert your staged or unsaved edits. As you select to revert areas, the changes will be shown on screen to allow you to make other changes, but they are not yet committed. You'll still need to preview or save/publish them.
When you've made enough changes that you'd like to see a live version, you can chose to preview or save the changes.
To preview your changes, click Preview on the Edit this Page management panel. This will save your changes to your personal staging area in Telligent Community. Your changes are saved but will not affect or be visible to any other visitor of the community. This will also enable preview mode where, as you navigate around the community, your staged changes are visible to you and only you. This means that you're viewing the community and are able to interact with it and fully review your changes on any device you're signed in on.
When you initially enter preview mode any device you are signed in on will enable preview mode and allow you to preview your staged changes. If you open a new browser or connect to the community on a device after preview mode is enabled, you'll need to go to Manage > Manage Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme) > Preview Stated Changes and enable previewing.
As you navigate around the community in preview mode, the preview indicator will show on the top left of the browser window. You can click the preview indicator to open the Preview Staged Changes panel and approve / deny changes. See How do I preview UI changes in the community? for more details.
To save and publish without previewing, click Publish on the Edit this Page panel. The changes you've made will be immediately published and live on your community.
For more advanced editing techniques, see How can I rebrand my community in an upgrade-safe way?
To view a list of all available pages in a theme or to create a new custom page, go to Manage > Manage Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme) > Manage Pages:
Here you'll be presented with a list of all of the current pages defined for this theme. For platform-defined pages, select the page name for a description of the page and options to view the page or to edit the page's layout. For custom pages, you can view, edit the layout, edit the definition of the page, or delete the custom page complete.
To add a new custom page, click Add Custom Page.
To customize the styling of the user interface using cascading style sheets (CSS) or LESS, go to Manage > Manage Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme) > Edit this Theme and review the HTML Headers > CSS Files list:
This lists identifies the CSS/LESS files in the order they'll be included on all pages of the theme. You can select a file and click Edit to edit the file and its configuration or select it and Delete it. New files can be created using Add or uploaded using Upload.
When editing a CSS file, Telligent Community requires that you specify the rendering options of the file:
These options allow you to define the situations and requirements to include this CSS/LESS file on a rendered page.
Often it is beneficial to break up CSS/LESS files to be more manageable. Individual files to be included can be added to the Supplementary Files > Supporting Files list which also supports source file editing. To reference a supporting file in another file (for example, a component CSS/LESS file in a CSS/LESS file in the CSS Files list), edit the file and copy its URL (as shown in the previous screenshot). This URL is formatted appropriately to enable Telligent Community to adjust file references appropriately for the file-type-specific usage.
When editing files, the Preview button can be used to add any edits to the staged changes list and enable previewing as you edit (see How do I preview UI changes in the community? for more details about previewing) . You can optionally click Save to publish your changes immediately.
When you're done making changes to all files, be sure to Preview or Publish on the Edit this Theme panel.
If you make any changes, be sure to also Preview or Publish on the Edit this Theme panel.
Widgets themselves can be created or edited to implement new or different functionality. To learn more about widget development, see Widgets in developer training.
Contextual and default theme components are imported/exported from the management panels. Factory defaults can be imported/exported from the administration UI.
Default and contextual themes are imported/exported from the management panel within the context of the theme you want to import/export. To access importing/exporting:
- Go to Manage > Manage Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme).
- If you want to import/edit defaults, select Manage Default Site Theme (or Group Theme or Blog Theme).
- Select Import Theme or Export Theme.
When exporting the default or contextual theme, you can either export the current page (if you are currently looking at a page within the theme) or the entire theme. The entire theme contains the header, footer, all effective pages, theme configuration, shared widget configuration options associated to the theme. The export includes defaults or factory defaults if the requested context is not available (according to theme inheritance logic). Note that the default/contextual export is suitable for importing on sites that already have the theme installed, but cannot be used to install a theme that doesn't yet exist on another site (you'll want the factory default export to create the theme on another site).
When importing the default or contextual theme, the Import Theme management panel will show a list of applicable changes from the file being imported. Note that if there are no changes from the current effective configuration of the theme, no options will be presented to be imported. One or more options can be selected and imported for previewing within the current theme being viewed. The imported changes are always staged for your preview -- the changes are not published for other users until you publish them enabling you to make adjustments to imported theme components before publishing.
Factory default themes are imported/exported through the administration UI:
- Go to Manage > Administration > Interface > Themes.
- To import, click Import. To export, locate and select the theme to export and click Export.
The factory default export includes the same theme options as the default/contextual export but also includes all of the widgets referenced by the header, footer, or any of the pages in the theme. The factory default export is suitable for sharing with other sites that don't yet have the theme installed (since it includes the widgets as well).
When importing a factory default implementation of the theme, the import will be immediate if the theme is new. If the theme already exists, the changes to the theme are all imported and staged for previewing, adjustment, approval, and publication.
For a guide to best practices when customizing the Telligent Community user experience, see What best practices should be followed when customizing the user interface?