How To: Implement a Custom Site Design

By Cristy Zuazua posted Jun 07, 2017 17:41

  
Hi, all - a common question we get from admins is how to best implement a new site design when working with an external designer. (If you haven't already chosen a designer, here is our recommended list of experts.) Our best practice recommendations are below:

  1. Create a sandbox site. If you are licensed for microsites, I would recommend going to your Site List and copying your main site. Name it something like "sandbox," and this will be the site where your third-party designers can work and test on, without affecting your main live site. If you are not licensed for microsites, put in a support ticket requesting one here.
  2. Give your designers access. In order to give your third-party designers access to edit the look and feel of your sandbox site, you will need to create accounts for them in your membership database so they can log into the site. Once that's done, you can add them as Site Administrators in your Site List section, below:



    If you are not licensed for microsites, put in a support ticket requesting this change, here.
  3. Show your designers where to add custom code. For designers, there are two main places to add code to change the look and feel of your site. This would be done primarily by editing the Import Theme CSS section, and the Override CSS section:

  4. Plan the transition. The most common way for us on the tech side to make your flashy new site live is to redirect the main site URL to your sandbox site. This will avoid having redo a lot of your designers' coding on your live site, and making sure that there the transition is as seamless as possible. When the site URLs are redirected, all of the other URLs will be updated.

    (Please note: any URLs that have been manually coded into HTML content items will not automatically update, and we recommend auditing your site for links like this so you can swap them out when the time comes.)

    Therefore, our best practices recommend setting a date for the new site launch. Once you've chosen a date, email support@higherlogic.com and let us know your desired date (within normal business hours!). Please include a set of login credentials with your request - we'll be using those to ensure that users can still go through the SSO process seamlessly.

Step five... pat yourself on the back! Site redesigns are always a process, but now your community site will be all shiny and new - enjoy it, and your users will, too!
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Jun 09, 2017 10:45

Thanks for adding this great blog Cristy!