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Using Sections and Backgrounds


“Hello and welcome! My name is Jake, partner at Dirigible, and today I want to talk to you about one block in particular and then a little bit about how pages are structured and how we use that block to give pages the structure that they need. And that block is the background block. It is by far going to be the most used block on your site and on pretty much every Dirigible site.

The easiest way to get started with it is during page editing. If you pop open the list view, you’ll see that the top-level block on almost every page typically is going to be a background block. Now, the reason behind that is the background block groups other blocks together, and it also provides you with some interesting ways of modifying the background.

First thing I’m going to do is I’m going to run over the structure of this page. And this is a page that I’ve copied from another site and made generic. I’m going to run over the structure of these blocks and why we decided to place them that way. And then we’re going to go back and we’re going to look at some specific features and settings of the background block.

So at the very top of our page, we have a background block, and in that background block is a set of columns. And in those columns is a big logo or in this case, like a featured image that we’re having at the top of our page. And actually, I’ll show you the page rendered as well, not just in the editor.

So, I’ll just scroll through this for you just for a moment so you can get an idea of what’s all on the page. At the top, we have a background with columns in it. Then we have a title, and this title, all the copy that I have on this page right now is just placeholder copy, but they all still have their own purposes. So this top headline here is the H1 of your page, and it’s meant to describe the overarching theme of the page. What is this page talking about? What are we doing on this page?

The next thing we have is a small intro paragraph. Beneath that, we have essentially what amounts to a call to action or another way of routing users around your site. So we have an H2, and in that, we’ve given that as the default H2 style. We have an H2, small intro paragraph, a little list. This is just a list block. And then the actual call to action to make your users go and do something. So in this case, it would be “Go visit this other page that has more information on this specific topic that the H2 references. Go visit that page and learn a little bit more about that.”

And as you can see, we’re still in the background. So we have a background here, background here, and then the next item we have is top-level, and that’s a photo feature. And photo features do this cool thing where they go the full width of the page, really display a nice big, beautiful image. We have another headline here, another small short paragraph, and then another call to action button.

Then we have a post block, also settled once again within a background, with a headline. Here are our posts, and this post block essentially would be relevant to the topic of the page. And then finally, one last background block for a call to action. In this case, it’s a generic call to action, “Follow us on social media” with the social media icons. You can also put something else in this other little column.

Okay, so that’s the overarching piece, and you can see how the background

block categorizes and holds together these separate pieces of your page. Okay, we pop back to the top. So, this one references what the whole page is about or what the whole site is about. In this case, the next one is a separate topic, separate headline, separate paragraph, separate list, small call to action button, all housed within this background.

Photo feature, same thing, headline, small paragraph, small call to action. Background, this one is just housing the post block, but this is all relevant useful information to your users. If it had a category that matched the topic of the page, you would use that category. Background, small call to action for social media.

Now, let’s visit some of the specific settings of the background block. And as you can see, we get this nice little swoop down at the bottom here. That’s an interesting feature of the background block, but I’ll go down the gamut of all of the features here. So we have reverse prints, which is useful if you have a darker color palette on your website. Reverse print, just in this case, it makes it unreadable, but reverse print is typically there to provide the contrast that you need if you have a darker background color.

Padding, you can change the padding. Generally, I would say more space is better than less space, so I would always err on the side of having a little bit more space. You can choose the background style, and the background styles are all really useful. Right now, we have it as a gradient, and this is a subtle gradient. Because you have a stark color of white and an end color of gray, it’s very kind of pleasing to the eye to see it transition here.

But if you did white-blue to white or something, blue to gray, this doesn’t look as nice. Maybe white to red, still, this looks too much like a gradient, right? So you really want to be careful when using gradients in background blocks because it’s really easy to get in trouble. Because this is so subtle, that’s why this works nicely here.

Some of the other styles, you can have it be just a solid color, which is typically a safe thing. And so, if you choose some of these different colors, you can see these are all locked into our color palette, right? You can put an image back there. In this case, we would have to do reverse print to get some of this visible.

Two-tone, which is fun. Two-tone kind of provides this snap gradient effect. It’s not technically a gradient, but it provides this two-tone color effect. You can change the direction. You can change where across it goes. Gradient, which you already know. Then we have a pattern block as well, which you would choose an SVG or something similar, and it tiles the pattern back for you. Leave that as a gradient.

Now we’re going to scroll down here just a little bit, and I’m going to bring this kind of swoop into view here. And you have what’s called the transition. So transitions are very powerful in the backgrounds, and it’s how you get some of your sites to look a little less blocky and just break up the different sections to provide a nice little flow. Not necessary to use at all, not required, but it is nice to have the option.

Currently, we’ve only enabled the bottom transition because this block is touching the top. So we just want to have it be touching the top. We are offsetting transition height. So I’ll show you what that does in just one moment. Right now, we’re using the rounded shape, and that is what causes this little rounded bit right here. And the color, this is where

it becomes that transition between the two blocks. You have the color, and you always, not always, but typically, you’re going to want to choose the color that matches the background of your next block.

So right now, we have this kind of fade-to-gradient gray here, and we’ve chosen the color, which is this kind of the background of the background color. So it could be black, blue, red, and obviously, none of this looks very nice. Yellow-gray kind of breaks over. It doesn’t do anything. It gets rid of our roundedness. But when we choose white because the background, this next background block, its background is white and it’s just a solid color, it provides this nice transition effect where it doesn’t look like there are two background blocks here. It looks like it’s one continuous piece.

I’m going to go ahead and choose my top background again, and you can see that this transition, and you can change the size of this and the bubble as well if you wanted to get greasy with it. I’m going to bring that back down, and we can explore some of these other transitions. So wavy left, wavy right, angle, angle right, curve left, curve rounded. And to give you an example of the offset transition height, let’s pop this angle right down, and then we’re going to turn off the offset transition height. And as you can see, it pulls this back up and makes it if you crank the size up a little bit here, you can get this effect where this transition bridges a lot higher. And if you offset the transition height, you get this big kind of slash.

I’m going to switch back to rounded because I like that. We’re going to turn this back on to five, give it that nice subtle effect. Let’s make sure all our other settings are where they were. Yeah, and so that is the general idea behind the background block. And you can see that you can produce a lot of different effects by combining two background blocks next to each other. And indeed, that is the building blocks of typically many dirigible sites that are built is these background blocks.

So when you’re starting to build a page, I would typically recommend starting with a generic URL block. Then underneath that, you may want to start with a background and then tack another background on underneath that one. That’s how you’re going to be able to really begin to connect these blocks together and build this flow through your entire site.

Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or you want to learn more about your dirigible site, visit Have a good one.