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Our last review of the Headway Theme was written some time ago with version 2.x. With new improvements that have been released in version 3.4, it’s about time Headway receives an updated review.
There are several features in Headway 3.4 that I’d like to cover: Grid Editor, Design Editor, Responsiveness, and Blocks.
For this review, I’ll cover each of these features to give you an overview of Headway themes. Then I will give you my overall opinion at the end of the review.
The Grid Editor – Drag and Drop Design
This feature is the bread and butter of the Headway theme. Drag and drop is what makes Headway such an attractive theme, and I’ve got to say that they make this feature fairly intuitive and simple. When you navigate to the grid editor, you will see a screen that looks much like this below:
You’ll notice that there is a grid that you can drag and drop boxes on to. You can then resize those boxes. I was really glad to see this grid, because it will make the drag and drop process cleaner. Trust me, you do not want to have to worry about being pixel perfect when dragging to resize.
By default, Headway let’s you resize in 40 px increments, due to the 20px column width and 20px gutter width. This can, of course, be changed.
Once you’ve placed a few boxes on your canvas, you can then decide what those boxes do by selecting the block type. This makes creating things such as a widget or a Gravity Forms box insanely easy.
All in all, I believe the grid editor to be a very simple tool to use to build layouts. Kudos to the Headway team for that.
Design Editor – Design Without Code
For those of you that hate to touch code, you may fall in love with the design editor for Headway themes because it will allow you to easily change any part of the design with a graphical interface.
Once you decide that you want to change something, you just click that element on the page, and change the design settings for it in nifty drop down boxes like these below:
I must warn you in advance that the design editor is going to have a bit of a learning curve because there are a ton of options. Headway does do a good job of organization on this though.
Responsiveness – Take Advantage of the Huge Surge in Mobile
I have read reports that put the total amount of mobile web traffic between 15% and 20%. Having a website that is optimized for mobile browsers will allow you to create a better user experience for your readers which could lead to more page views and less bounce.
Headway makes it super easy to create a responsive website. All you have to do is click one button in the grid editor. Once you have done that, your entire website will be optimized for mobile visitors. Even for templates that you create yourself.
Possibly the best feature of Headway’s responsiveness is that readers are given the option to opt out of the mobile version of your website via a link in the footer. I can’t tell you how many websites I have been to where the mobile version made it hard for me to get content and all I wanted to do was see the desktop version of the site.
Headway’s combination of responsiveness and the grid editor make it, in my opinion, one of the best responsive WordPress themes on the market!
Blocks – Easily Extend Your Website
Headway is a good theme for people that do not know how to code. A large part of what makes Headway easy to use is blocks. Blocks allow you to quickly add functionality to your Headway theme. Blocks for Headway are very much like plugins are for WordPress.
When you combine the ease of blocks with the power of the skin editor, you can easily create powerful websites.
Headway is a powerful drag and drop WordPress theme that will be most suited for people that don’t have much experience with programming. I will warn you though that if you plan on doing something special, you will likely still need to do some custom programming, whether that is CSS, Js, or PHP.
In regards to the blocks, I think they are a brilliant idea and easy to use. But, I believe that some of the blocks are overpriced considering there are existing code tutorials for things such as tabbed content, Facebook comments and likes, etc. But, for those that do not want to muck around with code, a $25 block is probably well worth it ;)
All in all, I think Headway is a solid theme that can be used for beginner and intermediate WordPress users.
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