By Stephen Walker

I have been testing a variety of themes and plugins that claim that can change your world. While I know this is marketing hype, I want to believe at least one of them will change my view of Avada.

So you are probably asking yourself, if Avada is so good, why are you trying to replace it? The simple answer is features and performance. While the Theme Fusion team is working hard to improve performance (allegedly the next release is all about performance), it still scores miserably out of the box. Compare this to a complex page made with Blocksy, and there is no comparison. I created a copy of a demo from Blocksy – mid 20s with Avada, and 99 with Blocksy using Google page insights. So why not move to Blocksy? I am considering it, but some of the great features it has are a result of third-party components – in particular Qubely. Qubely is basically the elements section of Avada for the Gutenberg editor. The free version is adequate and the paid version is expensive, but the performance is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, all the themes and plugins I have tested fall dramatically short in the area of WCAG compliance and capabilities and the is is why I chose Avada in the first place. They are still the leaders in this area and their dedication to WCAG makes it difficult to leave (last release fixed four errors).

Avada is packed with so many features that there is almost nothing you can’t do in a limited way. Avada’s latest release includes a much needed card builder for creating great post layouts, but from a design perspective, it is a couple of years behind in my opinion. What’s missing? CSS Grid. The ability to create a post loop based on CSS Grid or create page layouts would open the design doors in Avada and reduce code (hopefully). Speaking of code, the code generated by Avada is actually pretty light until you start styling elements, then the inline styles, wrapper styles and more, make it difficult to impossible to add custom styling to certain features.

What features would I like to see in Avada?

In addition to CSS Grid, I would love for the Theme Fusion team to take a step back and review every element. If it contains text, all text styling should be available. Here is a list of my top feature requests:

  • Full Gutenberg support
  • Performance, Performance, Performance
    • Front End (look at Oxygen or Blocksy sites)
    • Live Edit (look at Bricks builder)
    • Streamline the code. A heading is a block level element, no need to wrap it in a div.
  • Off canvas elements (beyond the sliding bar)
  • Copy and paste styles (this can be overcome by creating an element library)
  • Menu designer (I want the State.gov mega-menu and mobile menu)
  • Move to container based layout – let the user wrap and use as many divs as they need. I find myself needed nested columns inside nested columns.
  • New lightweight animation engine that respects reduced motion
  • Only include script or styles if the page actually needs it.
  • Reduce or remove reliance on jQuery
  • Animation trigger by the previous or following element
  • Ability to change the font weight without having to redeclare the font family
  • Support Meta Box and other custom field generators
  • Fonts
    • Better local font management
    • Ability to choose system fonts as the default
    • Support alternative font services
    • Add a capability to use Font Awesome plugin in lieu of integrated service (often a release or two behind and doesn’t support all pro features)

I am sure others have additional items they would like to see added and I encourage you to submit feature requests. They don’t know what’s important to the customer if the customer never tells them.

In case you were wondering, no other theme or plugin supports all these capabilities and the capabilities already inherent to Avada. Oxygen builder comes close, but it is made for developers and not people just wanting to build a site, and relies heavily on the use of third-party plugins that add some basic functionality. The themes and plugins I have tried this week:

  • Astra (needs a builder add on)
  • Brizy (didn’t like it from the onset)
  • Bricks (the one to watch)
  • Blocksy + Qubely (if you want to go to Gutenberg, this is the one)
  • Oxygen + Hydrogen Pack + Swiss Knife (great tool, developer centric)

Originally published on April 3, 2021

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