👋 Welcome to the beginning of your LoftOS journey! You've just unlocked a world of endless possibilities, and guess what? Customizing couldn't be easier.
The purpose of this guide is to help you align your platform with your goals.
Whether you're a startup looking to scale or an enterprise aiming for more efficient workflows,
LoftOS has got you covered. Flexibility? It's not just a buzzword here; it's our middle name and in this guide we’ll show you how.
🗺️ To make navigating this guide easier, we've added a table of contents below divided it into bite-sized sections. First, we'll talk about basic steps when setting up your new platform, then we’ll walk you through modules and finally we’ll talk about customizing your navigation panel to your liking.
Table of contents:
- Platform Setup - First Steps
- Customizing your LoftOS Experience - General Settings
- Goals and Use Cases: Your Roadmap to Success
- Turning Goals Into Actionable Configuration Steps (with an example)
- Mastering Module Settings: Shape Your Platform's Core Functions
- Understanding Databases, Types and Attributes
- Your Navigation, Your Rules
- Access Management: Your Gateway Keeper
- Don't Just Customize — Personalize with LoftOS Pages
Let's get started!
1. Platform Setup - First Steps
If you haven’t created your free platform yet, click here to get started and follow these steps. And if you have, you can skip ahead to the next section.
Step 1: Name Your Platform & URL
Kick things off by giving your platform a memorable name and a URL. Don't stress; you can always change these later in the settings.
Step 2: Choose a Template (Or Don't)
Here's where the fun begins. LoftOS offers templates that pre-configure your platform for specific use-cases. Whether you're into Research & Education, Sales & Marketing, or even Community Management, think of them as a starting point — a quick way to get your platform up and running without breaking a sweat.
For example, let's say you're focused on sparking innovation in your local community. Our "Regional Innovation Network" template is your go-to choice. It sets you up with all the essentials to cultivate partnerships and drive growth in your area.
Keep this in mind: These aren't rigid, one-size-fits-all solutions. Nope, they're more like guidelines. You can tweak them,, or even build upon them to fit your unique needs
But hey, if you want to go freestyle, that's okay too.
Step 3: Check Your Inbox
Once you hit 'Continue,' keep an eye on your email. You'll get a welcome message from our sales team with all the details you need to get started.
Alright, you've laid the groundwork. Next, we'll talk about how to make your platform truly yours.
2.Customizing your LoftOS Experience - General Settings
For starters, let’s configure your visual experience. We’re talking about colors, logo, navigation and everything that identifies your brand.
Where to Go?
Navigate to: Home ➡️ Admin ➡️ Platform Settings ➡️ General Settings.
Step 4: Colors & Logo
Dial in your brand's style by setting the primary, secondary, and navigation colors. Don't forget the logo and favicon! The primary color sets the tone for your platform. This color will be used for buttons, scroll bars, and other design elements like emails, footers, etc...
Navigation colors jazz up your header bar, where you find the search, messaging center, notifications and other settings. As you know, your logo is the face of your platform. It shows up in emails and updates sent to your users.
Step 5: Language of Platform
Choose the languages you want your platform to be in.
LoftOS lets you add multiple languages, thanks to our state-of-the-art machine translation models. The goal is to lower language barriers and promote international networking between all users in the Innoloft Ecosystem.
Keep in mind that translation quality can vary by language. European languages usually come out with better quality, but for others like Chinese, the results might be a bit hit-or-miss sometimes.
Heads up: On the free plan, you can only pick one language alongside English.
Step 6: Contact Information
This is where you jot down all the essentials:
Organization Name, Email, Address, Phone, and any extra tidbits. This info will show up in places like the imprint and email footers. Make sure it's up-to-date!
Step 7: Legal Notice
You can either write your own or link to an external one. Your call.
Step 8: Terms of Usage
The terms of usage are your platform's rulebook. They outline what's allowed, what's not, and what users can expect from your service.
Good news: LoftOS has got you covered with ready-to-edit templates in both German and English.
Okay, you've nailed the basics. Next, we'll dive into mapping your goals for the platform before we jump into customizing your navigation.
3. Goals and Use Cases: Your Roadmap to Success
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of configuring LoftOS modules, take a step back. What are you aiming to achieve with your platform? Jot down your goals and list every use-case you can envision.
Trust us, this will make your life easier down the line.
Project Background & Strategy
Understanding your vision is key to configuring your platform effectively. Ask yourself:
What are your goals?
- Are you looking to showcase innovative technologies to SMEs?
- Do you want to streamline customer service interactions?
- Or are you finding solutions to business challenges?
Who's your target audience?
- Knowing who you're trying to reach helps tailor your platform.
What value will your project provide?
- This could be anything from increasing efficiency to generating revenue.
Who are your stakeholders?
- Who will be directly involved in the project/using the platform?
Questions to Think About:
Impact: What qualitative goals do you have? Maybe you're aiming to cut down user time spent on a specific task or increase efficiency in a certain area.
KPIs: How will you measure success? It could be the number of onboarded users, generated matches, or any other metric that matters to you.
4.Turning Goals Into Actionable Configuration Steps (with an example)
So you've got your goals, KPIs, and target audience. Now, how do you turn these into actual platform settings? Let's dive into an example to make this crystal clear.
Target Audience: Students and Corporates
- For Students: Job offers
- For Corporates: Candidate profiles
Platform Requirement: Enable corporates to showcase job offers
Configuration Requirement: Create a database for job offers in the 'Offers' module.
See what we did there? We took the general aim of 'connecting students and corporates' and translated it into specific configuration steps you can implement in LoftOS.
5.Mastering Module Settings: Shape Your Platform's Core Functions
Now that you’ve decided what you want your platform to be about. It’s time to talk about modules, the heart of your platform.
Where to Find It
Navigate to: Admin ➡️ Platform Settings ➡️ Module Settings.
This is your platform's control center. It's where you pull the strings to make magic happen. Want to enable users to create offers, requests, or share news of your organization? This is where you make it happen.
In Module Settings, you can manage databases, types, attributes, and more. It's like your platform's DNA.
Default Modules You'll Find
First off, when you open your new platform, you’ll find these modules that can be configured within the module settings:
- Feed: Your platform's social pulse.
- Offers: Where deals get made.
- Organizations: The who's who of your platform.
- Requests: What people are looking for.
- News: Keep everyone in the loop.
- Projects: Where you showcase your organization's achievements.
You can configure any type of database, types, and attributes within each module, except ‘Feed’. Below, we'll dive into what this means, so keep reading!
Other Modules to Think About
Besides these, LoftOS offers other modules like:
- Members: Manage your community members.
- Events: Create and manage live virtual events like webinars or, workshops.
- Groups: Create specialized ‘sub-networks’ groups within the LoftOS Network.
- Forms: Collect information and feedback from events or other use-cases.
- Programs: Run online learning programs for your users.
- Awards and Accelerator Programs: Foster innovation, recognize and celebrate achievements.
These don't have Module Settings but are equally important to consider for your platform's functionality.
6. Understanding Databases, Types and Attributes
If all of these terms sound intimidating, don't worry. We've got you covered. It's simpler than it sounds, promise!
What's a Database?
A Database is a folder in each module where you can store specific types of data. For example, in the 'Offers' module, let’s create a database called 'Job Database.'
Once you've created a database, you can give it a unique URL, icon, header image and even decide who gets to see or edit it.
Types: The Heart of Your Database
Types are like sub-folders in your database. Your new platform comes with some pre-set types like 'Patent' or 'Research Result,' (within the ‘offers’ module in this example) but you’re not limited to these. You can always create your own individual types to fit your specific needs.
Quick Heads-Up: It's worth mentioning that the 'Organizations' module is a bit of an exception. You can't create custom types there; you'll have to work with the default types it offers.
Are you still with me so far?
Ok, so following our ‘Job Database’ example above, let's say you create a new type called 'Job Openings’. Each type comes with standard sections like 'Header' and 'Target Customers' to help you present your offer as detailed as possible.
Think of sections as the building blocks of your types. They help you organize the specific information you want to capture in a particular module.
- You can rearrange the order of sections by dragging them around.
- Toggle visibility and options on or off as you like.
- The position of the Header-Section is fixed, so it stays put.
But guess what? You're not stuck with just the default sections. Feel free to add your own. In our 'Job Openings' example, you could introduce a new section called 'Skills Required' and add specific attributes to it.
So, What Are Attributes?
These are the specific questions or data points you want to capture within each section. You can choose from various formats like multiple-choice, file upload, and more.
So, in your 'Job Database,' you could have a ‘Job Openings' type with a custom section for 'Employment Type’ with a single choice attribute, or you can also include a multiple-choice that filters a particular skill required.
With so many customization options, you can tailor your platform in a million different ways. Remember, LoftOS isn't just a community management solution; it's a canvas for your imagination.
7. Your Navigation, Your Rules
So, you've got the hang of general settings, dabbled in module settings, and even set up some databases. Awesome! Now, let's talk about the cherry on top: navigation settings.
Navigate to: Admin ➡️ Platform Settings ➡️ Navigation Settings.
This is where you can make your platform feel like home. Here you can rename those entry points, link them to your databases, edit their icons, toggle on/off visibility and even add dropdowns to guide your users exactly where they need to go.
Understanding 'Link' Options in Navigation Settings
If you scroll down to the bottom of the Navigation Settings page, you'll find a section labeled 'Link.' This is where the magic happens for each of your navigation entry points.
Let's break down what each option means:
Database: This allows you to link the entry point to a specific database like Offers, Requests, Organizations, or News.
Module: Use this to link the entry point to a specific module, such as Events, Groups, Feed, etc.
Single Entity: This lets you link to a specific piece of content on your platform, like a single offer, request, group, or news article.
External Link: Use this to redirect users to an external website. You can link to LoftOS forms, Pages, or any other external sites.
Start a Chat with a User: This sets up a direct line to a contact person for a specific topic.
Need a little inspiration?
Let’s take a look at our customer Netherlands Institute for Sustainable Packaging (KIDV) and their platform Planet Reuse.
In their navigation, they've got a dropdown menu called 'Marketplace' with entry points like 'Reuse Solutions' and 'Supplies and Services' connected to their respective databases. Imagine being in the food industry and finding the perfect reusable container offerings in just a couple of clicks. That's the power of a well-crafted navigation.
Just like Planet Reuse did, you can tailor your navigation to fit your specific needs. Are you a startup looking to highlight your services or software? Build an offers database to connect with potential SMEs, corporations or investors. Operating a regional innovation center? How about a 'Local Initiatives' dropdown to showcase community projects?
There’s no limit and the possibilities are all yours to explore.
Explore More with LoftOS Customers
Want to see more examples? You can head over to our customers page to explore how others are using LoftOS to their advantage. The best part? Many of these platforms offer free access, meaning you can check out their navigation settings without even logging in.
Get inspired and see what you can create!
8. Access Management: Your Gateway Keeper
Alright, you’ve made it this far!
You've set up your platform, tweaked the modules, and even personalized your navigation settings. Now, let's talk about who gets to see all this. Enter "Access Settings," the bouncer of your platform.
When you navigate to Access Management, the first thing you'll see is "Access Settings." Here's the rundown:
Private Users: Is worth noting that there are two options.The first one were users can access your platform, read data and take part in events with a private account without revealing their organization. And the second option, where your users must be assigned to an organization to use your platform.
Access After Approval: Think of this as your VIP list. You'll find options that range from a total open house to a VIP-only access.
Packages: The Fine Print of Access
Packages are your way of dialing in on the details. They let you specify what each organization on your platform can see and do. For example, you could set up an 'Investors' package that only allows access to the 'Organizations' module.
For more details, learn more about packages on our Knowledge Base.
9. Don't Just Customize — Personalize with LoftOS Pages
Your LoftOS journey doesn't stop at modules and navigation settings. Nope, we're taking it up a notch! Imagine not just tweaking settings but actually crafting web pages that are a mirror image of your brand.
This isn't just another feature; it's your secret weapon to take your brand to the next level. With ‘Pages’ you can create landing pages, event registration pages, and even internal platform pages like welcome pages or content publishing hubs. The possibilities are endless.
To find it, head over to Admin ➡️ Content Management ➡️ Pages and hit that "+ Page" sign at the top right corner.
Once you create a custom URL you’ll be taken to our versatile web builder loaded with sleek templates for everything from Headers to FAQs.
Real-World Example: Meet Collaeb
Need some inspiration? Check out how Collaeb, a platform that connects entrepreneurs and startups in Aachen, used LoftOS Pages to elevate their user experience.
They crafted an event registration page for their upcoming Fempreneurs event, rolled out a welcome page for their Collective Incubator Academy, and even put together a step-by-step guide for individuals to learn how to create the perfect profile that stands out.
And the best part? No coding required. Curious? You should be. Dive into our in-depth ‘Pages’ article to discover how you can turn your platform into a personalized powerhouse.
Your Next Chapter Starts with LoftOS
You've just had a wholesome tour of what LoftOS can do, and trust us, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to dive deeper into specific features, check our Knowledge base, where you can find detailed information on all features and modules, learn best practices, and get guided videos to understand your new platform better.
From setting up your platform to customizing modules and even building your own web pages, LoftOS is as flexible as you are ambitious.
It's not about fitting into a mold anymore; it's about breaking the mold and creating something uniquely yours.
So, what are you waiting for? If you haven't already, create your free platform now and start turning your wildest dreams into digital reality.