Fall Release 2016: A New Look To Our Dashboard!

6 minute read

October 7, 2016

Fall Release 2016: A New Look To Our Dashboard!


Tabs in Vanilla

When you log into the new dashboard, you’ll notice the tabs (or sections) at the top. The experience focuses on funnelling access by task and role. This includes a landing page as well as sections tailored to Moderation, Settings, and Analytics.

Site Overview Tab

Although the stats you see on the Dashboard home page are not new, we’ve applied the updated look and feel to the data:


Previously, the scaling of the chart made it hard to compare each metric. Now you have a clearer way to focus on the metrics that matter. You can easily view your community’s health over time. (The new Advanced Analytics are now found in their own tab, which we discuss further along this post.)

You’ll also notice, we’ve applied a cleaner look and feel to our tables so you can see how people are commenting and what content is popular:

Popular Content Table
Remembering Navigation Preferences

The Dashboard adapts to your usage and remembers it for your next visit. It will remember three navigation preferences based on your behavior:

  1. We remember your preferences for the collapsed state of the navigation. If you collapse or expand the side panel navigation’s sections, it will be that way for your next visit.
  1. We save the last page you visited in a section. If you click on a link in the side panel’s navigation and then navigate away from a section and then return, the section’s landing page will be the last page visited in that section.
  1. We save the last section visited when you leave so you’ll be returned there when you come back.

Moderation Tab

For moderators, this section contains the change log, as well as the spam and moderation queues:


This section is the place to manage Users. To make it easier for moderators to find a specific member, we’ve added the avatars. We think this will help when doing a search and getting many similar usernames in the results:

User Table

You’ll find messages here. They’re a great way to communicate or share a message with the community, or post a message to a specific category.  We’ve made it easier to use by keeping you in the page with new pop-up style pages.

Messages in Vanilla

Settings Tab

This is the area we know you’ll spend the most amount of time when you are starting your new community or making changes to the look and feel. 

Most of the items in the menus are still on the left side, like our previous UI, but within the pages, you’ll notice the forms are much cleaner.


We’ve combined the desktop and mobile themes all in one place:

Themes in Vanilla

Customizing theme HTML and CSS now uses the Ace Editor to make code editing easier:

Customize Theme

We got rid of redundancy in the embed settings, to simplify the use of Vanilla Comments and embedding the community. All of this can be found under “Embedding”:


Managing Categories is now simpler than ever. For larger communities, we’ve added collapsible menus to top level categories and made it simpler to add subcategories. We also kept the drag and drop functionality. 

Categories in Vanilla

Vanilla Addons are part of the core of what makes our platform flexible. We’ve added visual cues so that additional settings can be managed as soon as the Addon is activated without having to jump to another page:

Add-ons in Vanilla

We’re adopted a new visual language in the dashboard and have carried that through the revamped section. All of the Vanilla Addons have brand new icons which are more intuitive. 

Analytics Tab


Our new advanced analytics gives you even more insight on the health of your community. You’ll find three new analytics sections:

  • Traffic: A high level view of your community’s pageviews, member visits and new signups, broken down by role type. 
  • Posting: See more detailed information, such as role and category, about new discussions and comments created in your community.
  • QnA: For customers using Vanilla with our Question and Answers Addon, we’ve added the ability to measure the number of questions asked and answered as well as the average time to response. 

New reports and visualizations are planned for the future. If you’d like to learn more about our advanced analytics, our Customer Success Management or Sales teams can assist you.

There Are Many More Changes Coming

As you delve into the new dashboard, you’ll find hundred of little touches that we’ve spent countless hours refining, testing and coding. 

Besides the new dashboard, this release has over 50 other changes. You can check out the full list here. There are also three new additions we wanted to highlight.

Flat Categories

Some very large communities have asked us to build support for categories with hundreds, or even thousands of sub categories. In this release we’ve added Flat Categories to address that need. They can be paginated, and displayed in alphabetical, date inserted, or last-post order. You can also add a quick search module to filter the numerous categories as you type! This is a great way to manage directory-type data, such as a long list of games or products.

Flat CategoriesFlat categories in action at http://forums.mmorpg.com/

Role Tracker

Role Tracker

The Role Tracker allows community managers to highlight posts made by specific types of community member. The forum admin can select one or more roles to track. Any time a discussion or comment is created by someone with one of those roles, the content is automatically tagged with the role name. Your community can then easily spot official content from tracked roles, or even whether someone with these roles has commented on a discussion. When clicking on the tag, members can skip to the to the next comment of a tracked role in a very long thread. Finally, there’s also a new module to show the latest tracked roles in a feed.

To enable this new add-on, contact your Customer Success Manager or our Support team.

Post Numbering

Post Numbering

Post numbering in action at http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/

Added due to popular demand, we now offer the ability to display the post number next to each comment. This makes it more sharing or referencing a specific comment much more intuitive.

To enable this new add-on contact your CSM or Support.

Thank you!

We hope you enjoy our latest release. I’d like to personally congratulate our design and development teams for an amazing new look. Tell us what you think of this major update in the comments below!

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Adrian Speyer

Written by Adrian Speyer

Adrian Speyer is the Head of Community and Lead Evangelist for Vanilla by Higher Logic. Besides spending many years in digital marketing, Adrian has been building communities of all sizes for over 20 years.

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