5 template block tips for alpha site managers

McGill Statue: Bad News by Doug Zwick

1. Keep page load times to a minimum

Don’t make your visitors wait for a heavy page to load! When adding template blocks to your webpages, remember that too many images can result in slower load times for your site visitors. Try to find a good balance between creating a page that is visually engaging, while presenting a minimal number of images.

2. Choose the best images for your blocks

When choosing an image for a block, consider the final layout of the block carefully.

With full and half-width statement blocks, the overlaid text box will appear in the bottom left-hand corner of the image. Choose images that do not include important content in this area.

With third-width statement blocks, the overlaid text box will appear over the bottom of the image. Vertically composed images with important content focused at the top of the image, usually work well.

3. Add text that will inspire your visitors to take action

Calls to action should be action-oriented (e.g. “Register”, “Learn more”, “Sign up”) and no more than 5 words in length. Keep your block descriptions brief and to the point.

4. Watch your alignment

Keep your page layout neat by ensuring blocks align well. Each of the elements in a block (e.g. image, title, description, links) can effect the way your blocks align. With text, make sure your titles and block descriptions are balanced. Crop your images using a similar ratio to ensure they line up well when displayed side-by-side.

5. Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for

Choose the number of blocks you place on a page carefully. Your site visitors could miss your key messages if you present them with too many blocks. Check out the Education webpage on the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design website for a example of an effective layout with a minimal number of blocks.

Learn more about template blocks:

UPDATED – Psst! What’s a Standard Block?

Intrepid Beta Testers may have noticed something new in their list of blocks called the “Standard Block.” If you’ve been wondering what this is, The Beta Blog is where you’ll find the latest scoop!


Currently, you create a regular block by going to Structure > Blocks > Add block. With the intro of the Standard Block, this is going to change. Why? Because we’ve seen how great the new template blocks are in Beta so the same module that’s used for these blocks is going to replace the regular blocks that you’re used to.

With the Standard Block, you can customize your regular block more efficiently by setting the View Mode to full, half, or third — just like you do with the other template blocks in Beta.

So what’s being worked on to get the Standard Block ready for wide release? One thing we’re looking at now is how to migrate content from the existing regular blocks into Standard Blocks. This will be a seamless process. We also know that you want blocks to be translatable so we’re working on that too. What a busy summer it’s been!

Since all regular ‘legacy’ blocks will become Standard Blocks down the road, why not get a head start? As Beta Testers, you can jump in and create new blocks using Standard Blocks. These blocks won’t need to be converted in future and you can easily customize their layout widths with the full, half, and third options. Create a Standard Block by completing the fields as you normally do and once the block is created, find it under Structure > Blocks to configure the page region and page visibility as usual. Easy peasy!

screenshot of both legacy and McGill blocks on a page

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.