Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to configure the Resource Library to create an aesthetically appealing and effective experience for your partners. In this step-by-step article, we'll walk you through the process of configuring the different elements of the library and presenting best practices and tips to maximize visuals.
For instructions on how to best structure library content, please also check out this article. For a general tutorial on how to access and update Library settings, this article can help. You can also watch a slightly abbreviated video version of this article here:
Optimize Design & Content for Visual Impact
There are two important areas that affect the aesthetics of your partner Library:
- Design: In addition to structural settings that influence the UI, the main design options within the Channeltivity Library consist of the Header Banner and Quick Search Tiles.
- Content: The best way to create visually compelling content is by customizing the thumbnails of each document.
To create a visually engaging library experience for your partners, both areas need to be considered.
Design Best Practices: Partner Library Settings
This article assumes that you've figured out what content you want to share with your partners and distributors, and the general structure of your library. If not, do that first before continuing.
If you're starting with a brand new, empty Library, it's going to look something like this. Move your mouse over the header, click the actions button and select "Configure Library":
This will reveal the configuration menu, from where you'll access all the individual settings pages:
Step 1: Library Settings
The Library Settings side bar has a number of configurations that affect the UI:
The two Library modes give partners a slightly different experience:
- Folders Mode gives you a more traditional navigation where partners traverse Folders to view their contents. Folders appear in a tree and within the content panel itself as long as the sort order is set to "Alphabetical". You should pick Folder Mode if you have a lot of content.
- Flat Mode is a more modern approach that is good for smaller libraries and content that’s tagged and/or uses lots of custom fields. All content is visible on the Library home page and Users navigate and find content by searching and applying filters.
You should only enable filters if at least one of the following is true:
Otherwise, you'll only have the Document Type filter appear, which in most cases isn't useful enough to display.
Default Sort Order:
If you're using Folders, they will only appear in the content area when using the "Alphabetical" sort order. In general, we suggest "Recently Changed" for the best experience.
Use "Large Tiles" or "Small Tiles" and then make sure your content has nice thumbnail imagery.
Default Thumbnail Setting:
Definitely select "Fill". Having content with edge-to-edge thumbnails looks significantly better.
Step 2: Header Banner
To maximize visual impact, we strongly recommend setting a Header Banner background image and customizing the text to ensure legibility. Background images with a consistent brightness (mostly dark or mostly light) work best.
The most important thing is to make sure there's enough contrast between the text and background image. You can do this by:
- Changing the Text Color. If you have a dark background, pick a light text color and vice versa.
- Enabling Text Shadow. Set the Text Shadow Color to create high contrast with the text color. For a light text color pick black as the text shadow color; for a dark text color pick white as the shadow color.
- Enabling the Overlay. Set the Overlay Color to create high contrast with the text color. For a light text color pick black as the overlay color; for a dark text color pick white as the overlay color. Adjust the Overlay Transparency to ensure good contrast.
Create a good balance of background image visibility and making the text legible.
Step 3: Quick Search Tiles
Quick Search Tiles allow you to give your channel partners predefined views of Library content. Their visual nature also has design benefits, breaking up Library content and drawing the user's attention.
Best practices for Quick Search Tiles to create a nice Library design:
- Use similar image styles to create consistency
- 3-4 Tiles are ideal.
Content Best Practices: Thumbnails
While the Library configuration definitely has an impact on its visual appeal, selecting and configuring thumbnails for individual pieces of content is key for an engaging partner experience.
Thumbnails are set when you're creating Documents in the Library. Depending on the types of content added, you have a number of option for selecting a thumbnail:
- Default - a generic and not very colorful thumbnail based on the type of the content
- Generated - for certain content types, the Library will automatically generate a thumbnail
- Custom - upload your own thumbnail image file to represent the content in the Library
For a PDF, the thumbnail selection might look like this:
The "Thumbnail Display" setting allows you to override the Library's default setting on how the thumbnail displays for users. In the image above, you can see how thumbnails render using the "Fill" setting with the thumbnail taking up the entire space. Below, the "Fit" setting scales down the thumbnails to be visible in their entirety.
Best Practices for Content Thumbnails
Use the following guidelines to maximize the visual appeal of your content:
- Custom thumbnails will look best (and they're also the most work).
- Fill will always look better than Fit. Ideally, you should only use Fit on a case-by-case basis in the following scenarios:
- Critical elements of an image are getting cropped (headshots or logos, for example)
- As a temporary solution until you get the content updated with proper custom thumbnails.
- For certain content types (spreadsheets, text content, etc.) generated thumbnails look terrible. It can be better to use the default thumbnail if no custom one is available.