Role Based Help Notes
‘Role Based Help Notes’ allows you to create Notes/Posts private to assigned users of a WordPress role.
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- Give your developers a private area for notes on the current site.
- Create a new role to give new users a private area to learn WordPress.
- Anything else you can think of!
To give a private notes area to users groups you may wish to create custom role(s) yourself adding to the basic WordPress roles (Administrator, Editor, Subscriber etc.). For this you will need to use of a plugin refer to Roles_and_Capabilities and ‘Resources’.. ‘Plugins’. You can then use one of these plugins (e.g. User Role Editor) to create new roles.
Note: Name the Role ID using lower-case letters and “_” (underscore) only, also make the role name/id the singular version following the (subscriber, editor of wordpress) so you might add “staff_member” or “Trustee” etc..
After installing, if you look at your site’s settings screen, you may well see that some of your plugins have created custom roles for assignment to users Role Based Help Notes allows you to create specific helpful instructions for each role. This all means that as users are allocated new roles the help notes become automatically available to them.
It is the method of good plugins to add custom roles to allow users access to the admin functions and stops the need to give a user full Admin access to your site. For example the ‘BackWPup’ plugin roles seen here allow users to have the appropriate admin access for roles like ‘checker’ or ‘helper’. WordPress by default only allows one role to be allocated to a user so you will need to add the ability to assign multiple roles to an individual user via a plugin (e.g. User Role Editor).
If you want to quickly give a group a private area to share and post ideas/notes ..
- Create a new role.
- Add users to the role.
- Enable the Help Notes from the settings.
There is also a global ‘General Help Notes’ type available which is not tided to a specific role, this has the same access/capabilities as the standard WordPress ‘post’ type for read/write access. You can see I’ve put an example General Help note on my contents page.
How private are the Help Notes for my role?
This depends on whether the site has any custom set-up.
Without anything more than just enabling the Help Notes within the settings page then all users with the role and Administrators (also Super Admins for multi-site) will have access to the Help Notes. The Administrators (and multi-site Super Admins) will not be shown listed by the user widget when used within your sidebars.
If a site Administrator has changed user capabilities then Help Notes will be viewable/editable as defined. The user names shown listed by the widget are only those who have the Help Note Role assigned. Anyone who has been explicitly given an additional capability for access to the Help Notes, but don’t have the role assigned, will not be listed within the widget. To clean up any customisation by site Admins you can simply de-select the Help Note role within the settings page… save… re-enable … and finally save again.
Of course anyone with access to the site database can extract the Help Notes and if you really want to make things secure then you should consider adding SSL certification to your site to stop anyone “listening” to your internet traffic.
How to add a menu pick for Help Notes on the site?
To add a menu option to your site front-end it depends how you normally control the visibility and access to menu picks. There are many ways to do this like using “Nav Menus” to simply restrict the Help Notes content page to all logged in users. One option that I have used is to take the benefit of the “Menu Items Visibility Control” plugin to allow for a conditional statement to take advantage of the help_notes_available() funtion.
Once “Menu Items Visibility Control” is activated on a site you can go to the Admin Menu..Appearance….Menus where you will see a new ‘Visibility‘ area with each menu pick option where you can add a conditional statement to control the visibility of a single menu pick. Role Based Help Notes provides a single conditional statement
help_notes_available() to make this simpler. In this image you can see I’ve added my contents page “Help Notes” within a menu and given the conditional statement for visibility.