- General Best Practices
- Product Best Practices
The Resources module is far more than just a simple upgrade from Finalsite’s legacy File Manager. Throughout the module’s re-write, Resources morphed and evolved into a powerful asset management system with numerous ways to upload, organize, and display multimedia content in just a few simple clicks.
We’ve highlighted ten features, tools, and options found within Resources that will undoubtedly save you time managing your school’s images, videos and files. Some features you may have already known about, and some you’ll wonder how you ever got by without.
#1: Upload files and multimedia directly through various social media sites
Resources has an impressive array of options to upload multimedia content. Uploading directly from a computer is still the most common, but our social media-first world means everyone is already uploading their photos and videos to their own social media accounts.
Your school is no different. And with Resources, you can eliminate the annoyance of having to download photos from Facebook or Instagram for use on the website.
Clicking the green “Public Resource” button opens the above window that provides you with six upload choices. Your first choice is uploading content directly from your computer by dragging the file into the box or by clicking on the blue “Select Files” button.
But the really exciting options are further to the right: upload files directly through a web address, camera, Dropbox, Facebook, and Instagram.
Pulling in content from your school’s social media accounts is easier than ever, so take full advantage of all the incredible photos and videos across your school’s social media accounts.
Options like Dropbox allows you to create a public Dropbox account where parents and students alike can upload their own photos and videos. Resource admins can then pull in these photos and videos through the Dropbox upload feature. It couldn’t be easier to crowdsource uploading files than by using Resources.
Use Resources to upload, edit, and manage all of your school's multimedia needs!
#2: Photos and videos uploaded through Resources are automatically optimized
Resources includes powerful, advanced algorithms that automatically reduce the file size for photos and videos uploaded through Resources. The level of compression is based on the strength of the user’s Internet connection and the device they’re using.
A user on a smartphone won’t need the higher-resolution photo or video to load on their smaller screen; more importantly, with a limited wireless connection, mobile users will appreciate smaller files when accessing your content.
Image and video files uploaded to Resources are automatically duplicated into multiple resolutions, providing several different options for various signal strengths and screen sizes, all without cutting into your precious disc space.
Still, our best practice is to avoid uploading too many ultra-high-res photos and 4K videos without some form of external compression. Larger files can still load slowly even with third-party compression.
We’d also recommend against uploading a file to Resources that has already been compressed for the web since Resources will compress the file again, potentially creating a blurry or pixelated image or video.
#3: Built-in privacy controls to easily limit access to files and galleries
Content uploaded to Resources is mainly organized into two different types of organizational categories: Folders and Galleries. Folders are further separated into Public and Private Folders.
Folders store and organize files on your website’s back end. Galleries can do the same, but they are primarily used to display images and files on your website’s front end. Galleries are visible to all visitors, unless specific viewing permissions have been established.
Let’s say you want to create a private gallery for financial files or documents meant for the Board of Trustees. Resources allows you to upload files to the “Private” section of Resources, complete with its own system of folders and galleries. These files are now restricted to only selected users.
Private galleries can also be displayed on your website through a Resource, Image, or Video element in Composer. Configure the privacy of the gallery through the “Settings” menu accessed through the three-dot action menu. Then, navigate to the “Privacy” tab and select which admins should be able to see the content in the gallery.
Selecting “Constituents Only” makes the contents of the gallery visible to anyone with a portal account that is also logged into their account. You can further restrict access by checking the box next to each group in the list.
Once the private gallery is live on your website, anyone without access to view the private gallery will instead see the message, “You are not authorized to access this resource.”
You can create an even more secure page by embedding a private gallery on a page that is already restricted to the same role or group chosen to view the private gallery.
#4: Create interactive gallery displays without custom codes or third-party software
Galleries are an excellent way to display multimedia content on your website. Unlike folders, the same resource can be used in multiple galleries. Additionally, galleries do not impact the URL of resources, so images and videos can be freely moved between galleries, and files can exist in multiple galleries at the same time.
Once you have a few images or videos that you’d like to add to a gallery, navigate to the “Galleries” sub-menu of the Resources module and click the green “+ Create Public Gallery” button to create a new, empty gallery. You’ll then be prompted to name the gallery.
Adding resources to a gallery is simple, and there are multiple ways to do so. You can simply click on each resource and then click the + button underneath the thumbnail image. This will open a menu with all currently available galleries.
Or, you can add multiple resources to a gallery at the same time by clicking the checkmark at the end of each row. Then, click on the “+ Add to Existing Gallery” or “+ Add to New Gallery” option. The latter will prompt you to create and name a new gallery.
Once you’ve added all the resources you’d like to add, the “Update” button on the bottom right of the screen will save the changes. Now it’s time to add the gallery to a page.
Navigate to the website page, add a new element, choose the “Resource” option under the “Standard” menu, and click on “Select a gallery” within the new Resource element; you can then choose a specific gallery by clicking the “Browse” button underneath the “Title” bar.
Pick a gallery and customize it with a variety of options. Then click “Save” at the bottom. It’s that easy! You now have a Resource element on your page that will only display multimedia content from within the gallery you’ve created.
For example, Fairfield Prep used two different galleries to display videos and photos on the same page in an orderly, space-efficient manner. Each video opens a larger video player, while each photo loads more photos related to the initial thumbnail.
You can demonstrate sporting events, fundraisers, science fairs, graduations, and so much more, far easier with photos and video than lengthy paragraphs.
#5: Galleries automatically update to reflect changes in Resources
Adding new files or editing the contents of a gallery is just as easy as the creation process since Resources automatically updates live galleries on your website as files are either added or removed.
Updating a live gallery on your website is as easy as navigating to the “Galleries” sub-menu in Resources and adding or removing files. Click “Update” once you’ve made your additions or deletions to see the changes reflected live on your website seconds later.
This is also true for any edits made to files in a live gallery. Changes made to the title, description, or alt text (see tip #8) of a resource will be reflected live on your website once the “Update” button is clicked. The same edits or changes will be made on every page that a resource is currently being displayed on.
#6: Easily replace previously uploaded resources
Sometimes we accidentally upload the wrong image, need to edit the contents of an image, or we just want to change a video after it’s been on the website for a while. Resources makes the replacement process as simple as possible with the “Replace Resource” feature.
The “Replace Resource” tool conveniently swaps out the current resource with a new resource without changing the URL to the file or creating broken-image errors on your site.
First, find the resource you’d like to replace in the Resources tab. Select the resource to open its information panel (pictured below), and click on the “Replace Resource” button, which looks like two boxes swapping places.
Clicking the button will open the same upload screen that you would see when regularly uploading a new resource. From here, drag or click to upload the replacement.
When you finish, a helpful box will tell you that the image or video has been replaced in every location the original image or video previously resided. Quick and easy.
#7: Extend upload rights to any number of constituents
Building a library of photos and videos couldn’t be easier thanks to Resources. However, we’ve taken Resources one step further with the ability to extend upload and edit rights to any number of groups or constituents, all managed within the module. This is an excellent way to have parents who attend every sports game, art or photography students, and student club members contribute to your school’s website.
Begin by creating a group in Group Manager, such as parent contributors or current students (you can also extend these same rights to individuals). Then, create a new folder in Resources for that newly created group.
After the folder is created, click on the three-dot action menu of the folder and select “Settings.” Navigate to the “Permissions” tab and find the newly created group through the “Select Group” button.
Once the group is added, you can use the dropdown menu to grant various levels of access. In this case, you’d want to grant this parent or student group the “View, Edit, and Delete all folder contents” level of permission. This gives the group a ton of control and flexibility, without granting them the ability to the delete the actual folder or access other levels of Resources.
The “View” folder permission allows users to view resources in a folder and add resources from that folder to galleries they have permissions for. “View, Edit, Delete this folder” is similar to “View, Edit, and Delete all folder contents” but includes the right to edit the settings and delete the folder. “Admin” adds the ability to assign permission levels to others.
Gallery permissions are similar for folder permissions, but gallery rights do not grant the ability to edit the properties of individual resources. Instead, gallery rights allow users to add or remove resources from a gallery. Extending these rights to multiple users is a great way to divide and conquer the otherwise lengthy task of organizing folders into galleries.
With the “View, Edit, and Delete all folder contents” option selected, constituents who regularly take photos can upload content to their own folder whenever they’d like. Of course, Admin users still retain the option to approve or delete constituent-uploaded resources at their discretion.
#8: Easy-to-use, built-in accessibility controls
Web accessibility is one of the hottest topics when it comes to web design. And accessibility matters just as much for independent schools as it does for public schools.
Thankfully, Finalsite is fully committed to accessible web design for all of our websites and developed Resources with numerous features that make it easier to keep your website accessibility-friendly.
For example, take a look at this picture that was used as an image header for a recent blog about creative and noteworthy examples of Posts.
The menu to the right of the image gives you the option to manually enter “alt text” that displays whenever a picture fails to load, when a user has elected not to load images, or for those with visual impairments who are using screen readers.
Adding alt text for images uploaded through Resources is quick and easy, but it makes a world of difference for those who need or prefer the alt text. That alt text is then maintained throughout your school’s website, no matter where that image is uploaded, even across multiple pages.
Alt text is also automatically added to thumbnails when images are uploaded to Resources through Posts. Posts will automatically enter any alt text that already exists for the image that was previously added elsewhere. Posts will also automatically enter alt text for images without alt text by copying the Post title as a reference since the thumbnail is normally a link to the post.
Some auto-created alt text may require manual edits. File image names are rarely created in an accessible format. For example, an image uploaded directly from a camera might have a file name of “IMG_7255.JPG.” This file name provides no context and should be changed to provide a more descriptive picture of what the image shows.
Note that images previously added to Posts before this feature will need alt text manually entered.
Resources also has a feature to only display images with alt text.
With this options selected, only images with alt text are displayed on your live website. You can even filter through your Resource library to find resources without alt text, making it quick and easy to add alt text after the fact.
Similarly, Resources can also be toggled to require alt text for all images added to content in the WYSIWYG editor. Files uploaded before these features will need alt text manually entered.
We wrote an entire blog all about web accessibility in Composer that we highly recommend.
#9: Reuse the same files without taking up additional disc space
Have a lot of awesome pictures or amazing videos? Then make the most of them by reusing them when appropriate. While doing so can cause storage problems in other third-party asset management solutions, Resources allows you to reuse the same multimedia content across any page you’d like without taking up additional storage space.
When you combine reusability with the auto-optimizing feature, you’ll find that you have significantly more storage space at your disposal.
#10: Easily keep track of files with the “Where Used” tool
The smallest of independent schools to the largest school districts will all eventually face the same challenge of keeping track of uploaded files and multimedia content. It’s a good challenge to face; it means you’re creating a visual-based website that engages visitors with a multitude of images and videos.
Fortunately, we’ve included the handy “Where Used” tool that’s built into Resources.
With just a simple click on the pin-shaped button, a popup window opens that shows where that file is used throughout your school’s website. For example, using this blog header for the award-winning websites blog we recently published, we can see that this image is used in the Posts module, as well as the specific blog.
The “Where Used” tool only becomes more powerful over time as the amount of files you upload to your website grows. The tool is also a handy way of locating every instance in which a specific file is used if the file has been attached to multiple pages or blogs. You can also use the tool in tandem with the “Replace Resource” tool to identify every single page a resource is found before before deciding to replace the image.
Resources is Finalsite’s most powerful and flexible file storage, organization, and management system yet. The module provides new and convenient ways to upload, edit, and manage multimedia content with more options than ever at your fingertips. Resources is file management made easy, as it always should be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.