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Changing playing field

WordPress themes have had a creative focus on the main design elements like the general background, the header, the footer, sidebars with widgets and in many cases general typography.

Design aspects on pages and posts were 'limited' to the build-in text editor and the possibilities to position media components.

In the last decade or so, WordPress websites could easily be recognized by the simple approach and limited creativity.

That playing field is changing rapidly. That started with 'heavy weight' themes like Bridge. An average WordPress designer/user would not even have noticed the integration of one of the first WordPress page builders, Visual Composer from WPBakery.

Themes like Bridge showed a completely different page design, with a huge amount of flexibel components, which could be placed anywhere on the page, using columns and rows in any dimension. One might compare these possibilities to programs like Adobe InDesign, used in print publishing.

Shiny Object Syndrome

After Visual Composer became succesful in the WordPress playing field, others followed and even collections of add-ons became available, to be even more creative. One of the best examples for Visual Composer is for sure Ultimate Addon.

However 'shiny and dancing' objects do not necessarily improve the communication of the content to the end-user of a site, especially on mobile.

With lots of JavaScript and CSS these routines might have various effects on Search Engine Optimization and overall performance.

But the demands of the market to be able to design more creative WordPress posts and pages rule the development. And this development shows various quality levels in the development of pagebuilders and its add-ons.

Not all pagebuilders are front-end editors

Pagebuilders are often confused with the ability to do 'things' in the front-end (as well). Divi from Elegant Themes is a pagebuilders which will basicly be 'operated' in the back-end of WordPress. That is a principle development choice, which has an enormous amount of influence how to teach the end-user to edit content.

Another example is the Beaver Builder plug-in, which is fully 'operated' in the front-end, but mainly 'only' for pages.

Once the decision has been made to combine pagebuilder functionality with front-end editing, it is up to the website designer to choose for such tools regarding to possible end-user levels. It might be confusing for a new website customer, to have to learn to edit some parts in the front-end and some other parts in the back-end and even with completely different user-interfaces and therefore user-experiences.

What are we doing here?

In this 'constant beta' we will try to cover the most influential pagebuilder developoments. We will try to setup a solid test foundation and supply enough resources to make the right choice for your own custom situation.

The following aspects will play a major role in pagebuilder decision making:

  • user interface (menu, accessibility, fornt-end, back-end)
  • use of shortcodes within the generated page-code
  • various add-ons
  • quality of code
  • effects on code after de-activating the pagebuilder and/or add-ons
  • pagebuilders and their integration with themes