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What is this Divi 3.0 Review All About?
We just had to try Elegant Themes’ Divi 3.0 WordPress theme and the Divi builder after reading a couple of reviews on the internet. However, before we can dive into this Divi 3.0 review, it is essential to mention that it is near impossible to cover every feature that Divi WordPress theme has to offer in detail. That said, Divi is a pretty popular theme with features and design elements that many find makes their lives easier.
During our time with Divi for this review, we had our fair share of ups and downs with it. We have, however, decided against implementing the Divi WordPress theme, and not because it is bad, but because it isn’t ideal for certain types of workflows…[we’ll get into details about this in the features and conclusion]
Divi Theme & Page Builder Overview
Divi Theme is the latest from Elegant Themes WordPress theme and is one of their 87 themes that accompany 3 of their plugins. Over the past few months, the WordPress theme seems to have attracted a lot of attention, mainly because of its modern design and features like the page builder tool.
The good thing about the Divi theme is that it continues to receive updates since when it was first released. Today it is the Elegant Themes’ flagship product. The latest update, i.e., to Divi theme 3.0 significantly overhauled the page builder, and now includes features like a true front end page builder, complete with drag and drop ease.
The question everyone has asked us, and we just had to answer is if using Divi 3.0, make life for the average WordPress user easier and more productive when it comes to designing a custom layout? To answer that question, we need to start by discussing Divi theme features.
Divi 3.0 Features
As mentioned earlier, the Divi theme has several features. That said, most people will not use all the features that Divi has to offer. However, we’ve tried our best to cover as many features in this review in as much detail as possible.
Divi Front-End Page Builder
Like most modern WordPress page builders, Divi theme is an easy to use, front end builder. Think of it as a highly moldable theme that you can use to create everything from a blog to a business website, portfolio page, booking & reservation page, etc. The front-end builder is compatible and supports WooCommerce, which allows you to create eCommerce stores with ease which is unlike most other WordPress themes. Did we mention, you can customize the divi theme using the divi builder with built in drag and drop features?
You will start with what Divi calls the “Default Editor,” which is a skeleton layout of the website. It is now your mission to use the building blocks provided to fill in the Divi theme.
Modules in the divi builder are the above-mentioned building blocks we were alluding to above, also called elements they cover just about everything you’ll need when designing a website. There are a total of 46 Divi builder content modules, which can be added to any layout or page. The modules include an accordion, slider, videos, call to action, social buttons, and galleries, etc. [more about this when we talk about the modules feature below].
Pages can be designed or redesigned using drag and drop ease. Modules can easily be dragged and dropped into where you want them. There is no need to touch a line of code except for when you want to insert shortcodes, for forms but even then, it is as simple as copying and pasting it into the backend.
While you don’t have to be technically inclined to design a Divi theme or wrap your head around the page builder, having a bit of creativity certainly goes a long way. Since we have little to no creativity, the resulting pages created using the Divi builder weren’t great but still look surprisingly good for only an hour of work.
Another feature of the Divi Builder is the ability to redo and undo changes or actions easily. The version history gives you a full list of everything you did, allowing users to backtrack easily. Almost every section can be cloned, and the same goes for design elements. Plus, selections can be saved to be used later.
The front-end editing interface does bring the Divi Builder on par with some of the leading builders out there. However, many of those are jittery, and glitchy especially when you try to move elements around, but that’s not the case with Divi Builder. Transitions feel smooth and polished, that’s what probably impressed us the most about this Divi builder during our Divi theme review. As you can see, Divi 3.0 also has the same feels and features as Generatepress, another WP page builder.
Customizable Divi WordPress Theme
The Divi builder plugin offers a myriad of customization options, and each one allows you to customize every element that you can see. The freedom to customize everything on the page means that you can completely redesign it to what you want or perhaps create a new one. Further customization options can be found in the dedicated settings menu baked into Divi builder.
Those who are familiar with CSS and have no problem coding can use it to move beyond the confinement of the Divi theme. Just write your custom CSS code, and the default code will be overridden. Since every module can be customized, the possibilities are endless for what designs can be created. Not to mention that those with the time can experiment with different modules to see what effect it has on their page.
Since we were spoilt for choice with so many customization options and variations, things soon became confusing. We had no idea which two variations of a module we should use at times. But using the builder, we were able to compare these modules to figure out which of the two were best. I guess it is one of the drawbacks of having too many options coupled with the time constraint of drafting a theme review. Our guess is that over time using Divi builder will make it easier to, choose the right module perhaps it may become second nature, but by then, it is a time-consuming diversion.
Templates and Layouts
While creating a custom page design is relatively easy using the Divi Page Builder as we found out during our theme review, you still have a couple of different rather impressive looking templates from which to choose. Similar to other builders like ThriveArchitect and Elementor, the templates or layouts can be easily customized to what suits you the best. Think of them as a shortcut to get what you want. So, you can choose a template that best represents the layout you want with the least amount of customization.
The slightly over 20 Divi theme layouts include various types of designs from about pages to portfolio pages, case study pages, homepage templates, etc. The good news is that things will never go stale as the Elegant Themes team tends to add more to the mix, which can be downloaded directly via their website. You also have a pretty healthy selection of Divi themes available via third-party sources. So, there is no shortage of inspiration. Different sections can easily be combined using the Divi builder to create the ideal layout quickly.
Custom layouts can easily be saved for later use and can be exported for use on other WordPress websites that have the Divi theme or perhaps the Divi Builder plugin. It is one of the best features that Divi has to offer and is what makes it stand out from competitors like ThriveArchitect and Elementor. Designers can use this feature to create themes for clients, which gives them an incentive to learn how to use Divi builder.
A module in Divi’s universe is defined as a small building block or section which is used to layout a web page. So, a completed page will be a collection of probably dozens of small blocks or modules, each one next to the other.
Divi allows users to add sections, and within those sections, add modules. So, software like Divi theme essentially enable regular people to build complex web pages, which is far easier than WordPress’s own classic editor.
Prior to WordPress version 5, the CMS only allowed users to add images, text, HTML, and shortcodes to the pages. However, more flexibility has been added as of late, but that isn’t on par with Elegant Themes’ builders like Divi, Elementor, etc. The prime reason why WordPress’ newfound flexibility does not matter is that it does not use modules the way Divi builder uses them.
Divi, as mentioned above, has 46 natively supported modules, but competing page builders add flexibility with add-ons, which help compensate for their limited number of modules. In Divi, each module is inserted into a section. There are three types of sections, i.e., Normal, Specialty, and Full Screen.
Depending on the section chosen, Divi offers up a set of modules that can be used in it. Interestingly and confusingly, both Normal and Specialty have the same modules. Full Screen has a specific set of modules.
While modules make adding something like a Call to Action a simple drag and drop affair, it is still confusing wading through all those modules. We instead prefer the straightforward approach taken by Elementor in this regard.
While Divi’s wide selection of modules is commendable, there is also a bit of controversy surrounding it. The modules allegedly use shortcodes under the hood. So, if you ever decide to dump Divi in favor of another page builder, you will be left having to deal with literally thousands of shortcodes, and a broken website. So, as long as you have Divi as the active theme, things work fine; if it removed, that’s when you’re in for a nasty surprise. We state this based on personal experience during the Divi theme review!
Content Editing with the New Divi inline Editor
Most page builders aren’t text editing powerhouses. It is assumed that you only need a handful of basic text editing for a website, when in fact that’s not the case.
Starting from version Divi 3.0, the plugin now includes an in-line editor feature. It allows users to add, style, and edit text-based content directly on their page and without needing to open up the module’s settings panel. You just click and start typing or pasting the text from a Word document.
For the sake of science, we tried to see if it was possible to compose an entire blog post using the in-line editor by setting it to a single column layout and the text module. The experience was great for the most part, but at times the text lagged. We, on average, type at 60 words per minute, but it appeared too fast for the editor to catch up with. So, each time we stopped, we could see lines of text appearing seconds later. But that’s just a minor niggle in the grand scheme of this Divi theme review..
The in-line text editor also has options for custom fonts and changing text sizes as required. Plus, bolding text, or changing it to italic uses a similar shortcut to regular MS Word. So in terms of experience, the new editor is surreal!
Divi’s Mobile Compatibility
Designing mobile-friendly pages, aka scalable websites, are easy using Divi, but it’s unlike what other page builders have to offer. It is also a little tricky and took us a while to wrap our heads around it.
The Theme Customizer has a sub feature that allows you to adjust the font sizes and the spacing for a multitude of mobile devices. You can give the layout different text sizes, spacing values, which, for the most part, are estimates for tablets and phones. Adjusting these settings are made easier with slides on the left (of your screen), and you can push the slider to what you think looks good. Also, these settings are independent of how the website and its pages will look on desktop computers.
Interestingly finding the mobile customizability feature isn’t straightforward as customizing WordPress themes. To reach the desired location click on Div and then Theme Customizer within the WordPress Dashboard. You then go to the Mobile Styles panel and open that up. Here you will be greeted with all the styling options for mobile devices.
Right off the bat, there are distinctive sections within the Mobile Styles Panel for Mobile, Tablet, and Phone. Plus, it is seen as a separate section of the Divi builder.
- Tablet – here you can customize how your website will look at varying size tablet screens. You can adjust features like the fonts, body, and header, in addition to the row spacing, etc.
- Phone – You can adjust the styles here based on current phone screen sizes. It’s pretty much the same drill as for Tablet computers.
- Mobile Menu – When you reach the mobile menu breakpoint, you’ll see the navigation menu change appearance to a mobile style. People who visit your website from a mobile device will see this menu. You can adjust things like overriding general styles, header, and navigation of the theme etc.
While we appreciate Divi 3.0 giving us all those customization options for different screens, the fact is that you use the Divi builder because it easy, but here it’s implementation is confusing. Unlike Elementor, or ThriveArchitect, you can’t just click on an icon on the page editor to see how the website will scale to a mobile device and then make changes that will only be reserved for those screens. To us, it is over complicating what should be a simple job and for people who aren’t into sitting for hours trying to figure out line spacing.
While we see they had good intentions for this part of the Divi page builder, reinventing the wheel wasn’t needed here.
The Divi Live Preview Customizer
Anyone who has used WordPress to design a website or put some content on it, know that clicking on ‘preview’ is the only way to know for sure how everything will eventually look. However, Divi 3.0 throws in what’s called Live Preview, so not only do you see how your website will look like but do so while building it. It is one of the most powerful features of the Divi page builder.
Using the Live Preview Customizer, it is possible to customize things like style, colors, fonts, etc. for any type of website. If anything, it makes life for beginners a whole lot easier since they can see the changes live as they are made. Errors can also be instantly undone when using the content modules.
Divi gives you the option of using the Visual Builder or Default Editor to customize the theme or drop page. However, if you’re anything like us, you’ll opt to use both to customize the theme of the website just because you can!
The Sucuri Safe Theme
While it isn’t a Divi builder plugin, it is a very important aspect of the software. When it comes to safety, we are all aware of the fact that WordPress has had its fair share of security vulnerabilities exposed. Many hackers exploit vulnerabilities with the WordPress theme, which in turn compromises the security of the entire website.
When you use the Divi 3.0 theme, you can be assured of relatively tight security as it has been audited by none other than the security experts at Sucuri. Now for those who don’t know, Sucuri is one of the leading web security businesses in the world today. The company has closely looked at the code and tested it to make sure that it is a safe theme for designing page layouts earning its seal of approval.
- The design is very attractive for a theme builder
- A healthy selection of varying modern page layouts and templates
- A relatively easy to use page builder tool
- Regular updates
- Comprehensive documentation which is easily searchable
- Theme pricing is competitive
- A large number of design options is confusing and overwhelming
- Bugs like delays between typing and the text showing up on the screen
- Building mobile or responsive websites isn’t as straightforward as competing page builders
Divi’s pricing plan is simple. You can choose from two plans, i.e., the LifeTime Access and Yearly Access. The Divi Yearly Access is $89 a year, and as you might have guessed, it is the most popular plan for this theme builder.
The Lifetime Access plan is a one-time fee of $249, and with that, you get access to a lifetime of updates and support. You get access to all the themes builder features and extras with both plans, as well as Monarch and Bloom. Plus, Elegant Themes throws in a risk-free guarantee.
one-time fee of $249
Divi Yearly Access is $89
Divi: Popular Questions & Answers
Q. Is Divi worth buying?
Yes, Divi theme builder is certainly worth the investment. However, it is important to be aware of the caveats associated with it, many of which we’ve detailed in our review.
Q. Is Divi a good WordPress theme?
It is a good WordPress theme in the sense that it is modern and customizable. However, depending on your business, industry, or nature of your web presence, the theme will have to be heavily customized. So, expect to put in a lot of time with this theme builder.
Q. Is Divi fast?
In terms of speed, Divi is average. Dragging and dropping are smooth, but typing text like for a blog post can lag. Also, adding images and video tend to be lagging at times. Not to mention that it adds a bit of heft to your web page, which slows down overall page loading time.
Q. Is the Divi theme free?
Divi isn’t free. It is amongst the more expensive themes out there.
Divi Review: Conclusion
Divi is great looking and offers an impressive wealth of features that ensure you can fine-tune web pages in every possible way. Every design element or module in Divi is customizable, and with drag & drop ease of use, it helps novices design websites without knowing the slightest bit of coding.
Add to it the fact that Divi has a range of excellent templates. There are templates that work as an out-of-the-box solution, and for people who want to use it as is with little customization. Then there are those who want to use it as a basis for their entirely new design.
While on paper, the Divi theme is simple, but in practice, it isn’t. The design options aren’t complex, but it’s the split interfaces, i.e., the Theme Customizer and the customization panel that’s very confusing. In all honesty, it took us a while to wrap our heads around it, and when we finally did, it dawned upon us that the whole system isn’t as elegant as we first assumed.
Why hasn’t Elegant Themes consolidated everything into a single interface? It appears as though someone added new sections to an old house, and that lead to the creation of a maze. The experience is inconsistent, at best.
Adding insult to injury is the new theme Elegant Themes’ brand-new interface to deal with along with the two older ones. So, with this much going on, it is easy to be confused.
Who is Elegant Themes’ Divi builder and theme ideally suited to? We promised at the beginning of this Divi review that we’d answer this question. It is for someone who wants to build Divi theme and sell them or build them for clients. Because only that type of person will invest the time needed to learn the intricacies of Divi’s interfaces and deal with its niggles at the most inopportune moment. The time it takes to build a meaningful website, and the hoops it makes you jump through isn’t worth it for us. That’s why we aren’t using Divi on any of our websites because we lean in favor of using something that’s fast and simple.