Make the most of the background note

Prominent, flexible and tragically under-utilized.

Let's talk about {{ signup.description }} and all the great stuff you can do with it. It's essentially a free field that displays prominently in a person's NationBuilder account profile, directly underneath their name. You can't miss it!

chris_robinson_description.pngBackground can be called in Liquid using {{ signup.description }}, like any other signup variable, but it imports/exports as note. It accepts and stores HTML, like the profile_content_editable field used on public profiles. I like using it to flesh out public profiles, or let group members identify their roles. See my previous post on creating a dynamic Staff/Board of Director's page for a good example utilizing this technique. 

I've also configured it for some clients to provide additional background information on customers that their staff can easily find and edit. For example, one client ran a summer camp, and wanted a way for parents to indicate the names and ages of their children when signing up for the program. The client wanted a text box with the ability to add paragraphs, so users could input info on multiple lines, and didn't mind the extra html from paragraph breaks. The following code worked nicely:

<input id="signup_note" value= "{{ signup.description }}" name="signup[note]" type="text" class="textarea-tinymce">

The customer could enter and edit information easily, staff could access it at a glance and the client was happy. Here it is inside a complete signup form. Don't want the text box? Just cut -tinymce from the input class, and you'll get a field with just a single line.

You can also use {% text_area “note”, class:“text” }, which will input data, but if the person revisits the form, that data will not (at the time of this writing) pre-fill, displaying just a blank space. While this is okay for one-time entries (if you don't expect/need/want the data to change), it could lead to confusion later. The same thing happens with <textarea class="text" id="signup_note" value="{{ signup.description }}" name="signup[note]"></textarea>, so watch out.

With its ability to be entered by the user, displayed through Liquid, exported and/or imported, the background note is a handy little field and a reliable workhorse on most any project. Use it wisely!