By Stephen Walker

Avada 7.6 is a game-changer

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The Theme Fusion team released 7.6 a few days ago and while each release is touted to be the best ever or remarkable, they rarely are. I think 7.6 is an honest-to-goodness game changer. Don’t get me wrong, the performance enhancements in 7.4 were huge, but some of the other features that have been released lately have fallen short or been things that I would and will never use (forms and studio to start).

Improved styling

One of the not-so-obvious features is the additional styling controls for elements like the checklist, section separator, and accordion. The accordion still needs work, but it was definitely a step in the right direction. At the time of this writing, I have not explored all the element updates, but the ones I have seen are truly beneficial.

Global settings

These didn’t impress me at first glance, but they are amazing time-savers even in their initial implementation. Naming the colors doesn’t have the immediate desire effect — creating named variables — but the ability to hover over a color and get the name is helpful especially if you have shades of a color that look similar.

The typography settings seem a bit redundant at first, but again, once you use them you realize the immediate benefit and time saver they can be. No more having to set the style of a subelement over and over. While this was sort of possible by saving an element to the library, this allows you to use the same styling on multiple elements with the selection of a typography style.

The image element

So far, my favorite updates are to the image element. Not only are there improved styling capabilities, but the addition of the aspect ratio also solves the problem of featured images in a post card being different sizes. This can help you create a uniform experience in addition to an almost unlimited variety of layouts.

Off canvas builder

I have not used these yet, but getting ready to dig in. While the immediate focus is on the replacement of the popup plugin, I see this enhancement as a potentially huge improvement for creating an amazing menu experience. More to follow.

The missing updates

While all these improvements are terrific and have made me reverse course on the move to a Gutenberg-based theme, there are several updates that are needed. Improvements to existing elements like tabs and accordions are needed, and I think some elements (cough, cough, content box) need a complete overhaul or they need to be retired. And for the love of God, please get rid of the legacy font groupings and add system fonts as the backup and as a primary font selection.

The future

I can see many of these features helping Avada be viable in the future age of Gutenberg and the full site editing experience (theme.json). I wish there was already the ability to use Avada blocks, but I suspect they may be coming in version 8.

Kudos to the Theme Fusion team.

Originally published on December 18, 2021

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