Finalsite provides lots of options for setting up your calendar pages so users can find the events they’re interested in with ease and stay up to date about what’s on the horizon at your school. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to begin setting up your calendar page.
This article will primarily deal with the Calendar List and Calendar Grid elements. The Calendar Slideshow element is great for homepage treatments or showcasing a few featured events, but it’s not where your parents want to go to update their planners.
Setting aside the slideshow, which view is better - List or Grid? Well, why not both? Using the Alternate Page option allows you to link a Grid element to a page with a List element, and vice versa. Choose the appropriate page from the page picker in the Calendar element settings to add a grid or list icon to the top of your Calendar element.
Each Calendar element allows you to display one or many of your Calendar Manager calendars in it, so consider carefully how you want to set it up. Does it make sense to display all of your calendars on one page, or would it be better to set up separate Calendar elements for different types of events? Again, the correct answer may be “both.”
In either case, it’s a great idea to allow users to filter what calendars they’re viewing. You can use the “Display calendar filter control” checkbox within the Calendar element settings or the separate Calendar Tools Legend element (or both!) to let users filter the calendars that are displayed in the element.
Other options for events to display in a Calendar element are team events from Athletics Manager, and group space events from Finalsite Learn. If the checkbox for “Display LMS/Group Calendars” is enabled, events from groups that the user belongs to will appear in the Calendar element, provided the user is logged in.
Grid display options
The Calendar Grid element offers other options for users to customize their experience. If you enable the “Month/Week/Day Controls,” users can choose whether to view the whole month, one week, or just a day.
The “month picker” allows users to quickly jump to a view several months - or even years - in the past or future.
Also, if you find you’re not scheduling as many events on the weekends and the Saturday and Sunday columns are taking up valuable real estate that could be devoted to the busier weekdays, enable the “Combine Sat/Sun” checkbox to collapse those two columns into one.
List display options
A Calendar List element is set to display a certain number of events within a specified range: Current month, current week, within a day range, or within a date range. Depending on what parameters you set on the day or date range options, you may see checkboxes where you can opt to see current, past, or upcoming events. This gives you very fine controls over which events to show. For example, you could set the Calendar element to display events from the first day of school to the last day of school, deselect “Display past events,” and the element will automatically stay up to date. Or, you can have an element that only shows events that have already happened by de-selecting “Display current events” and “Display upcoming events.”
Regardless of how many events you have set to display by default, you can enable the “Display option to Load More Events” checkbox to let users see the rest of the events in the range you selected. Additional events will be loaded until all events from the selected range are displayed. You can even customize the button text.
Show more details
The “Event Settings” section of the Calendar element settings gives you control over which aspects of your event to display on the main Calendar, as well as the ability to link to the full details of the event. Enable the “Link titles to event details” or “Show Read More Link” checkboxes (or - say it with me - both!) to utilize this option.
Once you have decided to link to more detail, you have several options for how to display those details, under the “Open In” section of the element settings. Opening in a popup is a common option for calendars, but you can also choose to open details in a Calendar Event element on the same page or on a different page.
The “Open In Page” option has the benefit of providing a unique URL to link directly to a specific event. It’s a common practice to place a “Calendar Details” page underneath the calendar page and hide it from navigation elements. This dynamic page inherits the properties of whatever event is displayed on it, including a unique URL.
Bringing events to the user
One way to make sure users always have the latest information about what’s on the school calendar is to let them subscribe to calendars by email, text message or iCal feed. Enable the “Display alerts and feed controls” checkbox to show icons for these options on the Calendar List, Grid, or Slideshow elements. You can also check “Display Alert Icons” under the Event Settings to allow users to subscribe to alerts for one event at a time.
Now that you’ve explored the depths of what the Calendar element has to offer, the Calendar Tools element offers even more enhancements for calendar users. Use multiple Calendar Tools elements on the same page to add a Mini Grid, a Search tool, and a Legend to go with your calendar.
The Mini Grid and Search tools work best with a List element, although they’re compatible with Grid elements as well. The Legend tool can be used alongside either a Grid or List to display a list of the calendars set to display, alphabetically or by group, with the option to allow users to filter them.
Calendar Tools elements look great in either of the two-column layouts with one narrow column.