How to Create Year-Round Custom Content
Custom content types are an exciting addition to the tools you have available to manage your year-round engagement. They facilitate many kinds of list-centric content that may not be easily represented by the existing options for including web content or static pages into your app.
If you're familiar with the custom content types we added within events in our 2018.2 release, you'll be right at home here. The functionality isn't quite identical, but it's very similar! In fact, if you'd like some ideas of what you can do with custom content, the video that we put together for that release is a great place to start.
Defining Your Content Types
Begin the process on your organization's detail page in the backoffice, and push the Add New Content Type button at the bottom of the content tabs on the left:
Custom content types are very flexible, so there are a lot of options on this page, but almost everything is optional. You can also edit your custom content types as much as you'd like after you've created them, so don't be afraid to experiment! Let's look at this form section at a time.
Content Type Name
The name you choose will be visible both in the backoffice and in the app, so choose something that's meaningful for you and your users.
The first part of this section allows you to choose the set of fields that will comprise your content type, all of which will appear on the detail screen in the app. The Name field is required, and will be pre-selected. For a few of the available fields, there are some additional decisions to make. The two custom fields require you to provide a label that will be shown in the app. Date fields have a number of related choices to make:
- You can opt for a single date, or a range. The former might be appropriate for one-shot events like a calendar of periodicals and their publication dates, while the latter would be more appropriate for a calendar of events.
- You can opt to include times or not. If your calendar of events was mostly multi-day, on-site conferences, showing only dates might make more sense, whereas times would be very important for a calendar of webinars.
- Each content type must specify a default time zone. The items on the list can override this value if necessary. This enables devices all over the world to display your data correctly in the app.
- If you opt to enable automatic expiration, the items of this type will be automatically removed from the system after their date has passed.
The second part of this section allows you to enable relationships between items. Resources are used to attach files and links to your custom content items.
These settings control the appearance of the list screen for your content type.
- The header banner image and text will always appear at the top of the list, regardles of the number of items. They provide a good way to explain a list if the name isn't enough, to attract your users' attention, or to provide additional branding for your content.
- The items in the list will always display the item names. If you've enabled the Small Image field, that will also be displayed for all items. You may choose zero, one, or two additional fields that you've enabled to also appear in the list.
- Finally, you can choose how the items in your list will be sorted.
For most lists, choosing sort criteria will be very straightforward. We recommend that you always choose a combination of settings that give each item a unique position in the list: for example, if you sort the list by date, and many of the items have the same values, you should add a secondary sort like name. The Sorting field is available for custom cases where the sort order might need to be independent of the information that is visible to users, or where it's insufficient to uniquely sort the content.
Managing Your Custom Content Items
Once you've created a custom content type, it will appear as a new tab on your organization's detail page. That tab will allow you to add new items, as well as showing the first few things from the list. The View All button will take you to the full list.
If you press the Add New Item button, you'll be taken to an edit form that's customized to that content type, with fields for each of the content fields that you enabled. Once you've created an item, you'll be taken to a detail page where you can further manage it. As well as showing you the item's content, and giving you controls to edit or delete it, the detail page allows you to link the item to others (if the rules for the content type allows it).
Adding Your Content To Your Menu
Once your content type is set up the way you'd like, and you've created your items, you can make that content visible in the app by adding it to your menu:
- Go to your organization's detail page, and push the Manage Menu button in the top navigation.
- Your custom content types will be added to the Additional Available Items box on the right side of the page. Drag them to the appropriate spot in your menu structure on the left.
- Use the Edit button for each item to assign it an icon. (This is required.) You can also assign the menu item a different name from the name of the content type, if you'd like.
- Once you're satisfied with your changes, use the Save button in the top navigation to update your menu.
The changes will be visible in the app once it updates the details of your organization. You can use the refresh button at the bottom of the menu to force this to happen immediately.