I’ve been testing all the big block collections, and it’s time for Ultimate Blocks. Not to be confused with Ultimate Addons, a different block collection.
Ultimate Blocks comes with 20 different blocks, let’s see if I want any of them in my personal collection:
- Button — It says “improved” but since I didn’t see the original, hard to say. It has four different sizes, flex/fixed/full width, colours or transparent, rounded or square, etc. What doesn’t work for me is that it is just one button…if you wanted to put several side-by-side (like a horizontal menu), you’d have to wrap it in some other kind of box/container.
- Call to Action — Title, text and a button, nothing unusual, but I do like the button is set up so that it overlaps the container (i.e. half-in, half-out). Not bad.
- Click to Tweet — I suppose if you were trying to get a campaign going, you could write a default tweet and then click the button to share. But not something I would ever do — too close to a chain letter to me. If you want to re-tweet on Twitter, go crazy; pre-writing your tweet so it looks original? Not going to happen.
- Content Filter — This is sort of a strange block, and uber powerful. You know how sometimes you go to a site and you click on a page, it gives you a whole bunch of categories, and as you click on them, the selection gets narrower and narrower? Like COMPUTERS, DESKTOPS, ALLINONES, etc.? Most sites do that with query lookups and results. This allows you to do it all in one page. So you can enter your categories, lots of content blocks that you assign to various categories, and voila(!), semi-instant sortable page with content that changes as you choose which categories/tags apply. Interesting, but I have no real need for it. Pretty impressive though for all that content in a single page if you didn’t have query functions available easily.
- Content Toggle — Basically a single accordion, and with not much styling.
- Countdown — I am really surprised almost no blocks have this. Sure, there are widgets available easily, but a simple countdown block would seem a no-brainer. You have Count-Up blocks? Why not Countdown ones for dates, times, etc.? You set the final date and time, add in your choice of largest and smallest units of time (weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds), and choose a look/style of regular text, within circles or more like an odometer. All of them are pretty useful, to be honest. The only thing that surprises me is that I can’t style the text or the background or the numbers or the typography in general. You have a choice of black text on a standard background. I could wrap it inside something else, sure, but on its own? Bland. Functional, but bland. Oh, and you can enter text to appear when the magic time arrives! Nice.
- Divider — A single line that I can control colour, thickness and a bit of spacing? Yawn.
- Expand — Very similar to an accordion function, or as they call it, a content toggle, but with text that toggles the change, rather than an arrow.
- How To — This is one that interested me, although I confess I want to adapt them to do recipes. It offers a title area, basic introduction, options for a video tutorial, duration (i.e., cooking time/prep time), required supplies (i.e., ingredients), required tools (i.e., pans, pots, etc.), separate steps with images / descriptions / tips, and even a final result option with a picture. It’s quite decent. But TBH, it is more about giving me ideas for what I want in my own recipe block layout than making me want to adapt this one.
- Image Slider — It works okay, but as noted earlier, I have no need for such a block, since I use the NextGen Gallery, not the media library, to store my photos.
- Post Grid — I have consistently said I have no need for such a block, and that holds, but this one has some nice simple options to let me choose which aspects of the preview shows (FI, title, date, author, excerpt, read more) and lets me put it in a vertical list if I want. I just don’t have a use for it.
- Progress Bar — Holy snicker-doodles. Whoever designed this block is a relative genius. It is the simplest way to enter a progress bar that I have ever seen. Literally you add your “description” with basic styling if needed (although you could just put a paragraph block above it with full styling), choose whether you want a dial or a slide bar, adjust widths and colour of the bar, and then, wait for it, you literally just move a slider left and right for the percentage complete. It’s basic, but it is REALLY well done. I’m super-impressed.
- Review — Well, this is another block that is quite unique. It has the option for a title of the review, you can add multiple features and rate them separately (1-5). And when you’re done, it will add an overall summary at the bottom! Sweet. It’s not the style of review I do, but it’s a nice format. And back some time ago, when I was reviewing individual episodes of TV shows and looking for a way to showcase them, this could have worked. My only complaint is the lack of more “descriptive” space to tell a story as part of the review. While each mini-block allows you as many lines as you want, the ability to style them is quite limited.
- Social Share — The block, such as it is, is decent, with round or square buttons, and options for FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit and Tumblr. I don’t have need for any of them, as I already have tools for the site, but if I was looking, I like the ability to change the size of the icons here. If you want, you can even colorize all of them to match your theme, which is, umm, interesting.
- Star Rating — This is a pretty basic block … you choose how many stars and their colour, that’s about it.
- Styled Box — Again, they take a unique approach to the boxes, giving you a sub-choice of a Notification box, a Feature box (with images), a number box, or simply a box with a border. None are spectacular, but the number box isn’t very common, so nice to see an alternate version.
- Styled List — I had hoped for something funky for bullets and numbers, but it’s really just an icon list.
- Tabbed Content — Yep, they’re tabs all right. Nothing exciting.
- Table of Contents — As I only had a couple of other ones to try, I was happy to see another possibility. Alas, it’s only real feature was the ability to have multiple columns.
- Testimonial — Pretty basic setup, picture to the left (rounded), testimonial text and a name + company, with basic styling for colour.
Wow, this is a really tough call to make for retention or deactivation. There are 20 blocks, and for 18 of them, I can easily pass. The Countdown one though is pretty sweet, and the Progress Bar is excellent. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I’m keeping them.