Group Webpages

Introduction #

This user guide discussed the group web pages, and how they are created, edited, indexed and displayed. It is assumed that the Administrator and Editor have entered all the required information including venues, contacts and categories, as discussed in the Entering u3a Specific Information user guide.

In the context of a u3a and SiteWorks, Group, refers to an interest group that a u3a has set up to allow members to learn about topics of interest or participate in a joint activity.

It should be noted that within WordPress/SiteWorks, the main group page is a WordPress page, while what is known as a Group Page, containing information regarding one specific group is technically a WordPress Post.

Main Group Page #

It is normal for information regarding groups to be accessed by the Group option from the main Navigation Menu. A draft webpage is provided in the SiteWorks distributions

To edit this page, select Pages All Pages from the Dashboard. then Groups from the list of pages available for editing.

The page can be edited by the block editor, to provide an overview of a u3a’s group activities. The u3a group list widget block must be included if a list of groups is to be provided. The block, u3a group list, provides a list of all published groups, which can presented either as filtered or sorted, depending on the option set in the Groups tab of u3a settings. An example of a group page, as seen in the editing mode is shown below:

The blue widget bar will expand to provide group information in two formats, the group list display option is set to filtered, the following display results,

while with the sorted option applied:

Adding a New Group #

Only an Administrator or Editor can create a new group. After creation, the maintenance of a group webpage can be delegated to a user who has the role of Author, as discussed here.

To add a new group, three pieces of information are mandatory:

  • Group’s Name
  • Status, i.e., open, open for new members etc.
  • Category – the broad grouping into which the group fits, e.g. Arts, Music, Science and Technology, etc.

Select u3a GroupsAdd New Group from the Dashboard, a new group screen will appear as shown below. If this is not shown, the page is minimised and the small arrowhead to the extreme right of Group Information, at the bottom of the screen needs to be selected.

Location of the icon the expand the Group Information, if not displayed

Once the full form is displayed, information can be added:

The screen is divided into three sections, in section A enter the material that appears on the individual group pages using the block editor. The Group Name must be entered to clear the error message. In addition, two widgets are provided to provide consistent placement and structure of group pages across an individual u3a site.

  • Group information will be displayed where the blue block is placed. This information is drawn from the group information stored in SiteWorks, which is populated as the group is created.
  • Group events are shown where the orange block is located. For an event to be shown, it must be in the Events list and be allocated to the group.

In section B, the group category and the status are entered, this information is mandatory.

The remainder of the screen (C) allows the webpage author to enter a wide range of information. If the information is not provided, nothing is displayed. The information that can be entered includes:

  • When the Group Meets. Pull-down menus are provided for the days of the week, times, and frequency. If this does not fit the pre-defined meeting pattern, a free text box is provided, e.g. The group meets on the first Monday of the month between September and May.
  • The normal venue can be added, using a pull-down list of the Venues entered into the system.
  • Contact Details, which come from the u3a Contacts information.
  • An email specific to that group, if available.
  • Cost information.

Once the Group data has been edited and saved, using, Publish, it will be displayed on the page for that Group, for example:

If a site visitor selects the group leaders or group email, the u3a contact form will be used, when YES is selected on the Groups tab of u3a Settings. If the venue link is selected, details of the venue will be displayed.

Group Status #

It is possible to define a group’s status, e.g. Active, Closed etc, however, it should be noted that the text, in the current implementation, between the Groups page and the individual group page differs slightly due to the length of available space for text. The table below shows the current status:

Set StatusDisplayed text: Groups PageDisplayed Text: Individual Group Page
Active, Open to new membersActiveActive, Open to new members
Active, not currently accepting new membersFullActive, not currently accepting new members
Active, full but can join waiting listWait list onlyActive, full but can join waiting list
Temporarily inactiveSuspendedTemporarily inactive
No longer meetingClosedNo longer meeting

Adding List of Groups to All Group Pages #

A feature of Site Builder was that all groups were displayed on individual group pages. If a u3a wishes to replicate this feature across all group pages, the easiest approach is to create a new page template, as follows.

From the dashboard select AppearanceEditor, to reach the Design page, and then select Template. On the Templates page, select + to the right of Templates to Add New Template (A). From the options, select Single item: Group (B):

From the next set of options – select All Groups, then select the predefined pattern to be edited, using the u3a group list block

The page can be edited using the block editor, the following points should be noted:

  • To aid page design, the content should be placed in a single column, with the Inner Block use Content Width set, content set to 1100 px, for the optimum display.
  • The addition of a spacer and suitable padding will improve the appearance.

The edited template is shown in the image below, on completion, the new template must be saved.

If an individual group page is opened, the group list will appear at the bottom of the page:

Configuring List of Groups #

U3a Widget #

In the examples discussed above, the list of groups, by default listed alphabetically is provided by the u3a group Widget.

Using the Shortcode #

While the use of the widget is the most convenient approach to the development of a page that lists all groups. However it is not possible to customise the displayed list, this can be overcome by the use of a configurable shortcode, which has the general form [u3agrouptlist option], where the option is the parameter that provides the customisation and is in the form Command Word = “Parameter”. For this feature to work, the Group List Display option has to be set to ‘Sorted’, see u3a Settings.

.The available options given below can be used to configure the group list:

FunctionCommand WordParameter
Set the default sorting criteria.sortalpha, cat, day, venue
To display group statusstatusy, n
Display the day the group meetswheny, n

The shortcode option can contain one or more command words with their parameters. If the following two-column layout is created:

The following is displayed:

The list on the left is the default display, and the list to the right is sorted by category (sort = “cat”), with the meeting date turned off (when = “n”). It should be noted that the presentation of the list still included the four sort options to the page visitor, however, the defined status and when options are still enforced.

Hiding a Group #

If a group is not running for any reason, but the group leader does not wish for the status to read Temporarily Inactive (Suspended) or No longer meeting (Closed), it is possible to hide the group by saving the group’s page as a Draft. To set a page to Draft, select Switch to Draft from the Administrative Toolbar, once you have finished editing the page. WordPress will ask you, Are you sure you want to unpublish this post, select OK, as required. Do not select Publish after saving it as a draft.

When selecting the list of all groups, – Draft, will be appended to the group name.

To re-publish a group from a draft, select Publish. WordPress will recheck, and request confirmation.

It should also be noted that the visibility of a Group Page, can be restricted using the option in the right-hand sidebar, under visibility. When a page is set to Private, it will still be visible to administrators and editors, which could lead to confusion.

Reviewing All Groups #

To review all groups, select u3a GroupsAll Groups from the Dashboard, this shows the complete list of all groups within the u3a. It is possible to filter the list by the Group Categories, using the pull-down menu (All Categories in the default setting) and then Filter directly above the group list, as shown above.

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Updated on 2024-02-08