Welcome back to the 4th edition of The Lab Report!
Crazy to think that it's already been a month since I first started writing these.
If I'm being candid, it's definitely felt progressively harder each week to stick with it.
I guess that's pretty much the case with any new habit though, right?
It's always most difficult at the beginning when you're in the dark and can't see the end of the tunnel.
It's not the process you're unsure of, but the outcome.
Funny enough, that is usually the exact sign that you're on the right track.
Unless there's a train coming ahead.
ANYWAYS, personal journal aside, let's get into this week's newsletter!
🍱 Elementor finally has a container element
Can you really believe it? Elementor announced this week that they're introducing a Flexbox Container Experiment.
My first reaction is that it's nice to see them introduce something actually useful.
I've used Elementor for a bunch of client sites in the past, but recently I had been wondering if they've started to lose the plot.
They have some core issues they really need to address (Rino from LivingWithPixels covers a lot of these in this video), but instead they've released features that I can't imagine anybody asked for.
A Text Path Widget before having any kind of loop builder? Whaaa?
Having a container element will be a huge addition though, and it's one of the best parts about Oxygen and other newer builders.
It means that you'll finally be able to group individual elements together.
Before if you wanted an icon box, there were some situations where you had to work within the confines of their icon box widget. You couldn't just do your own image > text > button.
And if I needed something that was slightly more custom, I'd literally have to create my own custom widget. Not fun.
Anyways, good to see that they're finally adding it!
🦁 Zion Builder is actually getting pretty good
Continuing the topic of page builders, I've had a chance to play around with the latest Zion Builder beta release over the past week.
Dang, what an improvement.
I first tried out Zion a couple months back and it was super frustrating to use.
(And naturally I then immediately proceeded to buy the LTD).
Just to edit an element you had to double-click on the right spot, or use right-click, or hover over an icon and wait for an edit pencil to appear to the left of your mouse.
You could be renaming one element and somehow still be editing a different element at the same time.
Their 3.0 beta fixes a lot of those UX issues though, and it's honestly starting to get quite good.
The editor loads insanely quickly, and everything just feels super smooth.
It'll still be a little while before I try it on a production site (they're still missing a few key things like conditions, advanced queries, CSS grid, some global styling etc), but it's definitely caught my eye going into 2022.
📺 Watching others design
Sometimes it's fun to watch other people go through their design process.
Especially when it helps you realize you're not the only one in the world who doesn't get it right on the first attempt.
Charli Marie is a senior designer at ConvertKit, and I've enjoyed following her content over the past year or so.
She posted a "Design a conference website with me [live co-working stream]" on YouTube earlier this week. Just an option if you want to skim through something over lunch.
😍 Holy Font
Not sure how didn't hear about this site earlier, but I just came across Fontshare.
It's a free fonts service launched by the Indian Type Foundry (ITF).
They have some really nice high-end looking fonts that are 100% free for personal and commercial use (though you should read the agreement before using of course).
I find I often stick close to the fonts I know and love, but I'm definitely going to give some of these a try on a future design project.
⭐ Untitled UI Review
I just got done writing a fairly in-depth review of Untitled UI.
I mentioned it in the newsletter last week, but it's a massive UI kit and design system made for Figma.
I hope to have a video version of the review next week as well - once I relearn how to use the $2k camera I bought a year ago.
💬 Closing Comments
That's a wrap for this week!
If you ever have any topics or software you want me to cover, feel free to send them my way or post them in the Facebook group. It helps make my life easier 🙂.
Some in-depth reviews I'm currently planning over the next few weeks: Motion.page, Zion Builder 3.0, and Newsletter Glue.
Will also be putting a Black Friday deal list together early next week.
Thanks once again for reading, and have a great weekend!