Completely Redesigned, Next Generation Toolbar Interface Coming to LightCMS

We're very excited to announce that the next generation of our toolbar interface will be rolling out on the LightCMS platform next week. The completely redesigned interface takes the user experience on LightCMS to a whole new level. We know you are going to love this upgrade. We also know that it is a very prominent visual change and we wanted to give you this information in advance so that you can prepare for and communicate the coming changes to your own clients as well. Please take a look through the exciting details below.

Beautiful, Compact Design That's Always Accessible

Just one look at the new toolbar and we think you'll be sold. It cuts the 155 pixels of screen real estate we currently occupy to an incredibly compact 52 pixels. That's a 66% reduction! Plus, the new toolbar remains fixed to the top of your browser's viewport so no matter how far you scroll down, you'll always have instant access to its controls. The toolbar's sleek new design gives every LightCMS website a polished, professional look in editing mode.

Click the image above to view actual size.

Look closer and you'll see that we've reorganized the toolbar options as well. A simple toggle control on the left edge allows you to switch between website options and store options without refreshing the page. This saves you a page load when moving between store and website controls. Account controls have been moved under the new user session menu (more on that menu below).

The New Page Bar

The previous toolbar had a third tier of controls that were related to page-level editing. Those controls have now been separated out to the all-new Page Bar. The Page Bar hovers over the top right of any page you're editing, but only when your mouse is over the page. The page bar displays the name of the current page's template and contains the fast template switcher, the "add a page" tool, the "preview page" button, and the "page settings" tool.

Left: the Page Bar overlaid in admin mode. Right: fast template switcher appears when its icon is clicked.

The New User Session Menu

On the right edge of the toolbar, you'll see the new User Session Menu. It shows the name and image of the currently logged-in user. The image uses one's gravatar by default (if it exists) but users can upload their own images on their user profiles as well. The User Session Menu shows custom options based on the user who is logged in. All users will see a link to edit their profile in the User Session Menu. This means that non-admin users now have the ability to update their own profile information, a brand new capability with this update.

The User Session Menu with all options active (account-owner view).

Account owners will also find the link to the account section and billing section under the User Session Menu. All billing-related screens (including Account Billing and Client Billing) have been moved under the "Billing" menu item. Clients who manage their own billing will also find their billing screens under the billing item on this menu.

Intelligent Help Link

The "help" item on the toolbar now links to different places based on who is clicking it. If you are logged in as an account owner, the help link will lead you to the account support page inside the admin system. Non-account-owners will be linked to our external user guide (this is where the help item currently links). Resellers can still disable the help link altogether if they choose.

Updating Your Brand

If you are a LightCMS reseller who has private-labeled our platform with your own brand, you may want to make some changes to the logo you display on our toolbar. Please note that even if you make no changes at all, your logo will still remain at the top of all websites under your account even after we switch to the new toolbar. So, technically, no action from you is required. However, we strongly recommend that you consider creating a new logo, optimized specifically for our new toolbar, in order to provide the best possible brand experience to your customers.

Toolbar Customization

With this update, we will be removing the ability to customize the colors of your toolbar. The toolbar will always be presented in the black and gray color scheme you see in the screenshots on this post. As you can imagine, offering the ability to customize the toolbar's colors places limits on what our team can accomplish through the toolbar's functionality. We regret having to remove this level of customization for our resellers, but we feel that all of our users stand to benefit far more by making this new toolbar available. Plus, the ability to customize the toolbar with your own logo still gives you the ability to create a branded experience for your clients.

Logo Replacement

Since the area in which the logo appears now has different dimensions and a dark background, you may want to make adjustments to the logo you use with LightCMS. Here is some information to help you prepare a new logo that will work well with the new LightCMS toolbar.

  • Your logo should be no more than 130 pixels wide and 30 pixels tall. If your logo exceeds either of these dimensions, our system will resize your logo to fit.
  • Your logo should be a transparent .png file. Files of type .gif will still be supported but probably won't look quite as clean.
  • Your logo should be formatted to work on a dark background. There are several different ways to approach this. Here's a quick example using the logo of one of our LightCMS Featured Partners, Collision Media.

Collision's logo as implemented on current LightCMS toolbar

Collision's logo implemented on new LightCMS toolbar with reversed colors

Another approach, using only the mark from Collision's brand set in black for a subtle look

To help you prepare a new logo in advance of the toolbar's release, our design team has prepared a small design template which provides you a sample of the toolbar's background and shows you the area you have to work with. You can download this template for Photoshop (.psd) or for Fireworks (.png). Once you have your new logo ready, you'll simply need to upload it on your Account Settings page after we release the new toolbar.

Launching Next Week!

We're gearing up to launch these new features next Thursday, February 16th at approximately 9:30am CST (GMT-6). Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook feeds for more information leading up to the launch.

Much More to Come

We're super excited about this incredible update, but it's actually just a first step toward our really big launch of Project Atkinson, which is coming soon. There's so much good stuff on the way. As always, we appreciate all of your support and look forward to continuing serve as your partner.

17 comments (Add your own)

1. Tommy wrote:
I'm pumped.

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 11:25 AM

2. Eric Granata wrote:
The user session menu is awesome. Nice work and much appreciated!

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 11:29 AM

3. Brad wrote:
super super cool. nice move!

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 1:38 PM

4. Blair wrote:
+1 for user session menu. Like the store toggle as well.

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 2:11 PM

5. Bryan Kane wrote:
Looking forward to it!

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 2:25 PM

6. Chris Anderson wrote:
This looks really great. Wonderful work. I am excited. In the future, however, please consider giving us a little more than just a week notice for major system changes.

Thanks for continuing to improve an already great system!

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 3:08 PM

7. David wrote:
I agree with chris... If you have MANY clients using the system...How are we to get to them all and explain this with one week's notice?

Thu, February 9, 2012 @ 5:26 PM

8. Tim wrote:
Chris and David,

Thank you for your feedback on our announcement timeline. We always try to balance the needs of our customers and resellers with our desire to bring new features to market as quickly as possible for all of our users.

David, you asked about a strategy for communication. I would recommend an approach that we take with our own clients, which is to publish a blog post with information about the coming changes and then to send a quick email directing them to that post for more details. You can even borrow content from our own blog posts and emails to use in your own communication if you wish.

I hope this helps.


Fri, February 10, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

9. Ed wrote:
Just took it for a test drive. Very nice. Elegant.

Fri, February 17, 2012 @ 7:57 AM

10. David Chapman wrote:
Don't forget, if your logo is white it will stand out in the new toolbar, but it will vanish in the branded support site.

Sat, February 18, 2012 @ 3:28 PM

11. Tim wrote:
David Chapman,

Just wanted to let you know that our design team will be working to modify the branded support site so that your new logos will work well in both places. Those modifications should be complete this week.


Mon, February 20, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

12. Melody wrote:
I love your non-branded videos that you offer, just an idea --- could you work up a non branded video on how to use the new toolbar that we could share with our clients? I have a lot of confused clients and don't have the time to hold their hands through this. I tried sharing the blog article details with them but still ended up having to go through it with each of them. Just a suggestion. I love the new tool bar changes! I like the simplicity!

Tue, February 21, 2012 @ 10:35 AM

13. Chad wrote:

We have created a page that talks about the changes to the admin toolbar that might have caused the most confusion. You can view that page here, All of the updated UI is also accounted for on the support articles.


Tue, February 21, 2012 @ 11:54 AM

14. Hayley Lowe wrote:
love the idea of a non-branded video showing how to use the new tool-bar ... it's great when new things are launched but really difficult to let the customers know as a lot of copying and pasting of what is relevant to them needs to be done... would be SOOOOO much easier if there was a non-branded blog! or have I missed the plot completely and you already do that?

Mon, February 27, 2012 @ 8:55 PM

15. Tim wrote:

We don't have a video, but see Chad's comment (immediately above yours) and you'll see a link to a non-branded article we created about the new toolbar. You can use that as a resource for your clients if you choose.


Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 8:09 AM

16. Ulugbek wrote:
Suprrisnig to think of something like that

Sat, March 17, 2012 @ 12:31 PM

17. uogapw wrote:
6BtmiB baxtujuypvzv

Sun, March 18, 2012 @ 6:47 AM

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