It feels surreal writing this post given the situation that the world find itself in.
I have wavered back and forth about launching this project as I understand how trivial it appears in the grand scheme of things right now.
I’ve wondered if launching it during this time appears insensitive and callous.
With this hesitation in mind, I made the decision that launching now may actually help others or provide the spark of inspiration as it has for me over the past few months. I want to help people succeed in their lives and I believe DiviWP will do just that.
With that caveat in mind, please allow me to introduce myself
Hey, I’m Tristan. I’m currently working from Cape Town, South Africa and I’m the founder of DiviWP. When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my wife and one year old daughter and trying to teach her how to play the Ukulele.
My backstory and a brief history of time
I graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Media Production and a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management.
Those were the good old days of Flash, ActionScript, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and WordPress v2.0.6!
As I worked through my studies, I funded my lifestyle by learning how to code and freelanced as a web developer / designer for clients before co-founding my first company.
For the next few years I co-founded startups developing branded video microsites and mobile video platforms while continuing to offer web design, development and consulting services.
I exited a few of them and shut down the ones that didn’t work and doubled down on services for clients.
I worked with global brands such as Samsung, LG and Red Bull and provided services to foundations such as Slum Dwellers International, The Put Foot Foundation, RescuePaws and Project Isizwe.
From freelancer to bootstrapper
My journey is not unlike many others.
I offered my freelance services to clients while bootstrapping side projects in the hope that one of them would “take-off” and give me the freedom to work on it exclusively full-time.
The problem with this approach is that each side project was driven by my hunger to “just build things”, they were often unrelated and were solving different problems.
I was always looking for the next product that would define my professional career.
Fast forward a few years, I realised that it’s not about the products but more about the people or customers I wanted to serve and that helping people turned out to be the common denominator across all my side projects and businesses.
When I look at how I now spend my time between my businesses, it’s my desire to help people that connects all of them and everything I do is guided by this mission.
My journey with Divi
I’ve been an Elegant Themes customer for the past 7 years and have watched Divi evolve since the very beginning.
I helped select Divi as the builder of choice for companies looking to expand their own website builder offerings and helped create hundreds of client sites with it.
In 2020 as of time of writing this, Divi is now on v4.4.4 and I believe it is the best front-end visual WordPress builder on the market.
I also believe in the vision Nick Roach, the CEO of Elegant Themes, and his team has for where it’s heading:
To become the one tool you use to mockup, design, develop, collaborate and extend functionality of a WordPress website. There’s so much in that that it’s worthy of a post all on it’s own! You can listen to Nick’s thoughts on this around the 35:00 mark in his Divi Chat video.
I’m backing Nick and all the smart people at Elegant Themes to continue to make Divi a truly powerful and life-changing tool for web developers and designers.
I also think the community they have developed, and continue to foster, is an incredible achievement and I believe their goals are similar to mine: to help people succeed and make progress in their lives.
Solving problems for myself
When I first started working on this project it was a way for me to create a library of re-usable sections and components that I could use across client websites.
I relied fairly heavily on the custom css tab or adding my own CSS but as Divi evolved, it became easier to configure those settings all within the Divi Builder.
This is truly empowering because it means others can achieve the same level of professional design without knowing CSS or understanding relative positioning, margin, padding, Flexbox or any other CSS property.
Time and practice
One consequence of enabling users to build visually is the growth in perceived complexity of the settings.
Of course with a bit of time and practise, anyone can learn these settings and as the Builder UI gets refined we’ll see the settings interface becoming easier to use.
But for now there is a level of technical understanding one needs to reach to unlock Divi’s full potential.
This technical understanding is not just limited to using the Divi Builder.
It also applies to the theory of design and all the nuances that accompany good user interface design.
For example, one of the hardest parts about putting together a good design is figuring out how each section, row and module works together to create harmonious and consistent layouts.
This is a skill that is learnt over time and with much practise (and in my case plenty of late nights).
I realised there’s an opportunity to combine professional design with best practise user interface and user experience design and make layouts and sections that other users can easily drop into their own designs or use as inspiration for their next projects. More on that later.
What about free layout packs?
I have nothing against free layout packs and I commend the work the Elegant Themes design team do for the community by releasing free packs.
You’ll find free layouts across the web, not just from Elegant Themes but from many Divi related sites and services.
Some of these packs and layouts however can often be overly playful or stylized, use large and inconsistent typography and have little to no interactive elements.
Some of them don’t consider proper page hierarchy or sleek form design that encourages conversions and they often lack precise attention to detail and polish which results in an inconsistent user experience across tablet and mobile devices.
For example, you might find huge and inconsistent white-space between sections, or font sizes that are overly large when viewed on a mobile device.
These little irregularities make for a sub-optimal user experience and with these limitations you can easily waste hours on them if you’re not careful.
The case for DiviWP Sections and Layouts
This can be summarised in 4 points:
1. I’ve done all the hard design thinking (and testing!) for you.
This means you can drag-and-drop a section directly into your own design knowing all the hard work has been done for you and all the settings have been pre-configured across desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
2. Save time by importing professional layouts & sections directly into your pages.
You will save hours of work laying the foundation for your next project by importing example page layouts or individual sections.
These example pages for common scenarios show you how each section fits together and can be used to create the perfect structural starting point.
You can drag-and-drop directly into your page – no more uploading to the divi builder first (although we give you all the files you need should you want to use the library or direct import).
From there, you can easily add your own content and images or tweak colors and fonts using Divi’s built in productivity tools. As I release more you’ll have even more inspiration to draw from.
3. Increase your conversions with beautiful and effective form designs across desktop, tablet and mobile.
Sleek form designs increases conversions. I’ve tested this across industries and on many client sites.
I’ve designed a range of opt-in and contact forms that encourage conversions and work great across any device.
Divi Optin Module, Divi Contact Form Module and Gravity Forms compatible.
4. Create something truly unique.
You’re able to tweak colors, copy or images in a matter of minutes using Divi’s built in productivity tools.
Each section, row and module uses the Divi Builder’s settings as far as possible except where custom CSS is required which is included in a code module for you to edit.
Here’s a quick feature set with a few sample screenshots below:
My plan is to keep adding new layouts and sections on a regular basis.
I’m also planning to release in-depth guides and tutorials on how I designed specific sections so that you can learn and observe my design thinking with best practises in mind.
Finally, I will be publishing tutorials on some Divi’s lesser known framework features, such as how to use Flexbox, CSS properties such as overflow or how best to use the most underrated feature in Divi: split-testing.
Purchasing DiviWP will enable me to achieve all of this and give back to the community as much as I can.
My hope is that you will find DiviWP saves you countless hours, inspires you and helps you succeed.
I still learn new things every day, just like you do, and I can’t wait to learn how to make this an even better product.
I look forward to connecting with you, learning from you and helping you succeed.
Tristan – Founder, DiviWP
About Tristan Owen
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