User Guidelines

1. General guidelines

The redesigned platform is divided into several main sections. The new design features a header with the navigation menu, main content section, sidebar on the right and the footer section. The look of the platform, i.e. the contents that are shown depend whether the user is signed in or not.

2. Main sections

2.1. Header with navigation

Header contains three parts:

  • the uppermost bar (black) which displays the links to sign in/out or to sign up and the link to user’s profile page,
  • header image,

navigation menu which displays links to different parts of the platform depending whether the user is signed in or not and his/her level of authorization.

2.2. Main content section

Main section is located below the header to the left and it is used to display majority of the platform’s content depending on the part of the page user visits. On the home page, it features slider, list of community groups, latest featured blogposts and latest community activity.

2.2.1. Latest community acitivity

The latest community activity part of the main page is the closest thing to newsfeed on other social networks such as Facebook. Here you can share “little things”, like share a link to some interesting content or simply ask a question. For these “little things” it is easier to do it this way than to create a whole blogpost or open a new discussion.

2.3. Sidebar

The sidebar displays personalized user links (e.g. private messages, edit profile, etc.), upcoming events and images of sponsors. Sidebar’s content also depends on the user being signed in or not because of the personalized user links.

2.4. Footer

The footer displays standard copyright and disclaimer, but there is also the link to the platform’s privacy policy.

3. Content parts of the platform

The platform’s contents include:

  • About,
  • Blogposts,
  • Resources,
  • Working Groups,
  • Events,
  • My Page and
  • Manage (only for administrators).

3.1. About

In the About section you can find User Guidelines, Photos, Videos and FAQ.

3.2. Blogposts

The blogposts part of the platform contains all of the blogs posted by users about various topics. Below the links to the latest blogposts, there are several lists such as featured blogposts, latest blogposts, most popular blogposts as well as monthly archives for easier navigation.

3.2.1. Adding a new blogpost

If you want to add a new blogpost, click on the button “+Add” in the upper right part of the main section in the blogposts part.

After you click this, Add a Blog Post page will open up, and there you just fill in the content. The process of filling out the form is simple. After you write a title, the URL field is automatically filled out for you and it is suggested that you do not change it manually. You can write tags, separated by comma, and put between quotation marks if one tag has multiple words.

Main part is the Entry part which you edit in the Editor. Editor has 2 modes – Visual mode and the HTML Editor for people with knowledge about writing HTML code. The editor is simple to use as it resembles any typical text editor, but is doesn’t have as much editing options as desktop text editors. Next, you can choose if you want to post your blog immediately or in some time in the future, and set the Privacy and Comments settings on your blogpost.

After you have finished editing your blogpost, you can choose Save as Draft which enables you to continue editing it at a later time, choose Preview to see how it will look to the other members, and finally Publish Post to make it visible to others.

One other option is Share on Facebook, which shares the link to your post on Facebook. It is optional, but if you choose to share it, you can write your Facebook post text in the provided text area or leave the generic text.

3.2.2. Editing blogposts

After you have published your post, you have the possibility to change it anytime on the Edit Blog Posts page, which you can display by clicking on the Edit Blog Posts button in the top part of the main section of Blogposts. This page will display a list of your blogposts, and if you want to edit one you can simply click on the link “edit” next to the post’s title. If, for some reason, you want to delete one or more blogposts, you can do that by checking the boxes left to the blogpost’s title and then clicking the “Delete” button.

3.3. Working groups

When you visit the Working groups link, the first thing that is displayed is the list of groups with short description of the group, and the information about how many members does a certain group has.

You can then continue to click on a group of your choice. If you are not a member of the group then the button “+Join group name” will be displayed, and if you click it, you will either join the group automatically or will be asked to wait until the group moderator approves your request to join the group.

If the join button is not displayed it means that you are either already a member of that group or that the moderator configured the group to accept new members by invite only.

The working group content is divided into several smaller content areas, and in this part, the sidebar is not displayed. The content areas include:

  • Information - which displays general information about the group and its members,
  • Group discussions - where you can share your thoughts and opinions about various topics,
  • Summary of topics - where you can find general topics guide for certain group,
  • Members – the list of members who are in the group besides you, and
  • Pages - which displays a list of pages connected with the group if there are any.

Both members and non-members can see the group contents but only members can add comments, join on the discussions, and generally, create or add contents.

3.3.1 Post a discussion

As a member of the group, you can comment and discuss on other people’s topics, but you can also start a discussion about your own topic. To do that, you need to click on “+Post a Discussion” button which is located below the last discussion in the Group Discussions area.

After you have finished you can choose to preview your post or to publish it.

3.4. Events

The events part of the platform is where you can find all of the events, both upcoming and past, by different categories or date. After you click on the events in the navigation menu, you will be taken to the main events page where upcoming events are displayed.

If you want to see past events, you can click on “Past Events” button on the top of the main section. Besides that, there are also buttons “My Events” which displays events user is attending, and “Upcoming Events” to see future events. On the right side there is a list of filters “Popular Event Types” in which you can select an item to filter the events by certain type.

3.4.1. Adding a new event

In the top right corner of the main section in the Events part of the platform there is a “+Add” button that is used to create a new event. Upon clicking it, the Add an Event page is displayed in which you fill out the form with information about the event. Besides usual form fields, user can set the event’s type from a dropdown list of common event types, the starting and ending time/date of the event, event’s location and other useful information.

In the end, you can choose the privacy setting of the event, i.e. whether everyone can attend and see details or only invited people. In addition to that, one can choose to disable RSVP and/or hide the guest list.

Similar to the blogpost, a Facebook share checkbox is available if you want to share this event on social network.

3.5. My page

The My page part of the platform is similar to profile pages on the social networks. Here you can post a status (displayed in the Latest Community Activity), add some text about you and change your personal information (profile image, etc.).

4. Working with text editor

The text editor is very similar to any other desktop text editor. It has not as many formatting options as desktop editors but it can accomplish the tasks needed on the platform.

Besides the usual B – bold, I – italic, etc. buttons which everyone is already familiar with, the editor has the ability to add links, add an image, add media, paste as plain text and add file.

Every one of these buttons, except the “Paste as plain text” one, opens up its own additional window in which you fill out the details about each upload.

To add a link you must enter the link URL and the text of the link or select the text for the link in the editor prior to clicking the add link button.

If you want to add file, you just have to select the file from your computer, and choose the title once the file has been selected. It is advised that you do not change the Link URL manually (just let it be).

To add some media (video) it is only necessary to paste the embed code from some of the internet media providers (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.).

And finally, to add the image you again choose the file from your computer, or provide a URL to the file. After that you can choose the layout of your image, padding, and width. Again do not change the link to your image.

The editor offers a feature of HTML editing. If you are familiar with HTML mark-up, you can tweak your post even more with this option, but if you are not, then it is strongly advised not to change any HTML code because you can lose your work.

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