How to take advantage of Google Sites updates to layout, navigation and forms

Google made some improvements to Google Sites in August 2018. Here’s what Google Sites owners and publishers need to know.

In August 2018, Google made three improvements to Google Sites to make page creation faster, make some links more visible, and make it easier to view and fill in Google’s built-in forms. If you use Google Sites, here’s what you need to know about each of these improvements.

Insert Section Layout

Select one of six preconfigured section layouts to add image and text placeholders to your page. Five of the six layouts include slots for an image with text, while the other layout features a three-image arrangement (one large image next to two smaller images).

Predefined options save you layout time. Previously, you had to insert an image, adjust the size, then insert your text and adjust the size. And then repeat the process for each image and block of text. These section layouts reduce this multi-step sequence to a single action.

The preconfigured layouts kindly encourage Google site builders to add images. None of the layouts offer a text-only option, although you can manually delete or edit any element in any layout.

Add a button

A button can help make an action or link more visible than a simple text or image link. When you edit a Google Site page with the Insert menu open (right), the Button component appears above the Divider option (at the bottom right of the page). Select the button and you will be prompted to add a title for your button (up to 120 characters) and a link. Your button can redirect to any web page, including another page on your Google site.

You can control the size and location of the button: select it and drag it anywhere on your page. Or, adjust the width of the button: Select the filled circle on the line around the button, then drag it to change the width. If you make your button narrower than the button title text, you may see your title truncated followed by an ellipsis.

SEE: Google Material Design: A cheat sheet for professionals (TechRepublic)

The button color is determined by your theme: if you want a different button color, select Themes (in the top right area of ​​the Google Sites editor), then select a different accent color for your theme.

Improved embedded Google Forms

Finally, Google has made several improvements to how embedded google forms display on different devices and screen sizes. In particular, when you embed a form, the system helps to select an appropriate height and width in your Google site. And when you insert a Google Form into your site, the background color adjusts to minimize contrast with your site. (During a transition period in 2018, when you open an old Google Form for editing, you may see a notice when updating to the new Google Forms format. Be sure to use the new Google Forms format in Site (s.)

Previous changes to Google Sites

The features above join Google Sites features added earlier in 2018. In April, site publishers were able to add custom links to navbar. In May, new Google Sites could be copied, so you can duplicate a new Google site and then edit it. And in June, a conversion tool became available to eligible site owners, allowing users to automatically move a classic Google site to the new Google site format.

Your thoughts?

If you’re creating or modifying Google Sites, will the new section layout save you time? What impact do buttons have on user navigation on your site? And do the changes to the built-in Google Forms make it easier to enter data? Let me know what you think of these changes in the comments or on Twitter ( @awolber).