Themify Builder Review
By Sean Ondes | Last updated: December 1, 2019
Themify Builder promises big and claims that it is the the most “powerful and intuitive” page builder for WordPress. After using it for the first few minutes, you’ll quickly realize that it is pretty powerful but not quite as intuitive as they claim.
Themify Builder Review at a glance
- Helpful UI features like undo/redo and copy/paste
- Great keyboard shortcuts. I love having Control+Z to undo something!
- Competitive feautures and pricing for premium addons
- Cramped UI
- Lots of included layouts but many have lackluster design and/or are broken
Overall, the Themify interface is pretty crowded and not as easy to navigate as it could be. The UI fonts and icons are pretty small even on a large screen.
It doesn’t affect my usability rating but I really don’t like Arial in a UI. It’s just not an attractive font.
Themify’s Elements Menu
Themify Builder uses a sidebar and a “plus” icon inside the live editor at the bottom of existing rows to add new elements and rows. This second menu is a dropdown similar to that used by WP Bakery and Divi in their user interface. I don’t think that it works any better for Themify than it does for those other page builders.
Adding New Elements to a Themify Layout
The elements menu starts off floating. It can be locked to either side of the screen by dragging it to the left or right edges. The menu can also be closed completely and reactivated by clicking the plus icon on the right of the top menu bar.
Elements can also be accessed by clicking the plus icon at the bottom of a row. This opens a small window that drops down. The window is far too small to accommodate the number of options available. Also be aware that if you activate this window in the bottom most section of your layout, then the window will be cut off by the bottom of the screen. This makes more than half of the options inaccessible.
Unfortunately, Themify uses the same small window to display pre-built rows. The small size of the layout thumbnails makes it hard to get an idea of what the layout will look like full-size.
Editing Themify Builder’s Elements
Themify Builder has a great ccollection of helpful module editing features such as copy/paste, undo/redo, duplicate, and import/export. This last feature lets you export module settings to a file that can be imported into another site that uses Themify Builder.
Themify on the backend
On the WordPress post editing screen, you can find a full skeleton view of your entire layout. Skeleton views can be helpful when you need to edit a large, complicated layout.
Themify Builder Features
The selection of elements is basic. For a free product though, the selection is acceptable. All of the standard modules are present with many more available in Themify’s paid add-on.
Themify Element and Row Animation
Themify Builder includes over 60+ animations that can be added to rows and elements. Go easy here. A little animation goes a long way!
Themify Builder doesn’t include any built-in integrations with WooCommerce or anything else. Themify offers an addon bundle for $39 that extends Builder with some extra elements – including WooCommerce. Even with the addon bundle, integration with Easy Digital Downloads is still missing.
I prefer page builders built by teams that think about how their customers will be using the plugin. It’s not a huge oversight to not include integrations with mailing list services like MailChimp. A lot of those integrations can be handled with other plugins and signup forms can be embedded on the page with shortcodes. It’s still my preference to go with a page builder that includes these integrations.
Layouts and Templates
Themify Builder includes a good selection of pre-built layouts and page sections. Since Themify is primarily a WordPress template builder, there is a large variety of layouts that could be dropped into a new page.
An oddity about the user interface is that the full page layouts are not available in the elements and modules window. They are only accessible by through a “Load Layout” icon in the top menu.
Themify (of course) assures that their Builder is compatible with all of their own themes. For testing, I used OceanWP and Astra since both themes are popular, highly regarded, and have a free version available. I didn’t discover any conflicts between Themify Builder and either the OceanWP or Astra themes.
One drawback though is that Themify Builder doesn’t include it’s own blank template. The means that you’ll need to make sure that any theme you use will need to have some option to create a full width layout.
Installation and Removal
Themify doesn’t use any shortcodes to build a page layout. Once the builder plugin is disabled, all that remains is your content. Yes!
Performance and Updates
Themify Builder’s changelog shows that they are only occasionally adding new features. Themify primarily focuses its development efforts on bug fixes and compatibility issues. They release updates at inconsistent intervals ranging from every few weeks to approximately once a month.
Customer Support and Documentation
Themify develops and maintains a number of products other than it’s page builder. This means that their support forum is quite a bit larger and more active than those for other page builders.
In at a few cases, Themify’s response to support requests was excessively brief and occasionally completely unhelpful. There are also a large number of open tickets that are weeks and sometimes months old.
A striking omission in Themify’s support forum is a search function. This makes the forum unusable for a customer trying to troubleshoot their own problem.
Themify Builder is free and can be uses as a standalone page builder along with just about any WordPress theme that includes a full-width page template. Themeify Builder is also included with every Themify premium theme.
Themify Builder Addons includes 25+ premium elements for $39.00.
The Themify Master Club costs $89.00 per year and includes access to:
- all of Themify’s 42 premium themes,
- 12+ Themify plugins,
- 25+ Themify Builder Addons,
- and support.
Themify also has a Lifetime Club package. It includes everything in the Master Club for a one time cost of $249.00.
Themify Builder gives a strong impression that it exists only because Themify needed to bundle a builder with its own WordPress themes. There doesn’t seem to be anything remarkable about any particular aspect of the builder. basically, it’s good enough.
I did not feel joy while using Themify Builder. What I experienced was much more the opposite. While building my test page, I kept catching myself wondering “why did they make it like that?” Everything from font sizes to menu animation timing controls could use some improvement.
Themify’s developers addressing anything but the most pressing bugs may be some time coming. I don’t get the impression that Themify Builder’s development team is looking to reinvent WordPress page building.