Recently on the search again for a new theme, I stumbled upon the Bateaux WordPress theme, billing itself as the “Only theme you’ll ever need.” I was intrigued. Bateaux theme is a creative multipurpose WordPress theme that pays special attention to design, created by twisttheme. The pixel-perfect layouts are a dream for creative types, and also for anyone who loves beautiful design.
The Bateaux WordPress theme is built on a new drag-and-drop page builder also created by its theme authors blueprint. It comes with a built-in visualizer, which shows changes in real-time and saves time. Structured just like an app, an Inspector located on the side enables fast customizing of styles and animation settings.
An inline text editor allows certain WYSIWYG functions, which is one of their selling points.
If you don’t need heavy lifting on a page, you can still use the Classic Editor. For posts, they offer the Posts Customiser, which allows you to customize elements such as layouts, sidebars, components, social share, navigation and related posts – on a global or post-by-post basis. It also provides the option for several blueprint shortcodes.
Ease of setup – (4)
Note: This won’t be an issue down the line, but the theme only works with WordPress Version 4.6 and up! When I first tried to use the blueprint page builder, the button wasn’t appearing on the menu. It took me a while to figure out that I had to upgrade my WP. So this was a bit of a slow start.
The Bateaux dashboard comes with a System Status tab, which helps you figure out common memory errors and provides links on how to fix them (such as memory limit, php time limit, etc.).
The theme has a demo importer, and offers several choices to import: main (which includes all the different homepage concepts), Main Lite (not sure what this is, but I assume a scaled back version), Photographer, and Architect.
It’s always useful on a new theme to have these examples, and then after a while you find you don’t need them anymore. This is the case with Bateaux. The customizations are so versatile, you see right away that the different layout options are really created by varying the voluminous settings available in the interface.
The theme makes heavy use of the WordPress customizer and offers easy access to many configuration options. (I personally prefer the theme options as it gets cumbersome navigating through all the multilevels, but WordPress now recommends theme builders to use their version of their customiser.)
To start using the blueprint, click the button “blueprint” above the visual editor. The page will refresh and down below you will get access to the blueprint interface. Important: If you cannot find the blueprint button in the menu, go to the Screen Options on the top of the page and make sure that the “Bateaux Blueprint” option is checked.
When I tried to load in a particular concept, I was a bit lost. I looked in the Bateaux menu, looked in every single option of the Customiser and I couldn’t find it. Then I realized that the “concept” is basically a homepage template. To load in a concept in the blueprint builder:
- Click on the blueprint button.
- Click on TEMPLATE.
- Click on Home.
- Select the style you want.
When creating my pages, I discovered that the footer was not appearing. This is the drawback on being able to customize on a granular level. The bottom bars have to be set on a page-by-page basis. (This is not the case for blog posts, just pages.) However, once you get used to it, it’s fairly easy to find and configure. The same goes for the Header and Sidebar options.
Ease of customizations – (5)
This is the first theme ever that I did not have to create a child theme or write lots of extra CSS. Usually as I work with a new theme, I configure everything that I can and then go back and do my customizations through the style sheet. I am amazed with Bateaux! Between the theme options and the blueprint page builder, I was able to style the layout pretty much as I wanted it without having set up a new stylesheet.
The theme comes bundled with a child theme, although it is hardly needed. I made a few customizations in the Custom CSS section in the Customizer, and that seems sufficient enough.
I did discover just a few minor issues, including the slide indicators on the carousels are inside the images, which I find a bit weird as a design choice. After contacting the theme makers, they said it was built that way and I’d have to add CSS to place them outside. Still, this is a minor issue and I can add the code to the Custom CSS box that is included in the theme options (under Appearance > Customize).
Although there are several menu options, the traditional bar design below the logo is not available and takes a bit of customization.
As mentioned above, the inline editor for blueprint let’s us style the text for any of the page builder elements with bold, italics, underline, text size, text color and link. However, I’d like to see more WYSIWYG options available here, such as superscript, cap options, etc. And it would be useful to have more link options, such as opening the link in a new tab.
One function I find helpful in other page builders (such as Visual Composer and FusionBuilder) is that even though I use the page builders, I can always go into text (html) mode and modify code directly, or copy the code for that page and paste into another new page that I want to duplicate. However, this ability is NOT available in blueprint (as far as I can tell). Taking away this control may irk some advanced users. But, since the ability to customize for a non-coder is so comprehensive, I still rate ease of customizations as the top at 5 stars.
Blueprint also allows you to save your own templates so that you can reuse them across several pages.
Ease of use – (4)
Once you learn where all the configurations and options are, the system is pretty intuitive and easy to use.
I really like the ease of copying and pasting elements from one section to another, or onto another page.
A highly efficient function of blueprint that saves loads of time is the ability to edit text in the blueprint directly, without having to open a series of dialog boxes to get to the actual content, unlike other page builders. You just click into the box to add or edit content.
Features – (4)
Bateaux theme is compatible with the usual core set of plugins that we come to expect including WooCommerce, WPML, Yoast SEO, and Contact Form 7. It is also bundled with 70+ pre-built templates,
The theme is retina ready and fully responsive. The Inspector allows the user to hide individual elements for mobile viewing. This level of control is pretty amazing.
The Bateaux dashboard enables easy import and exports of settings. This is really useful when migrating a site or creating a local environment.
Another major disappointment for me was discovering that while you can choose several layouts of team member lists, there is no Team Member content type. This means that you have to create the team member information on the page you are on, and it does not automatically link out to an individual team member profile page. I suppose I can create team pages and maybe be able to link out to them manually, but this is clunky. A comprehensive theme like this should have that as a content type given all the types of concepts it has (agency, event, magazine, etc.). Not having the Team content type is THE BIG MISS in this theme. I hope that the team content type will be included in a future release soon. For now, I am going to cobble this together using the Portfolio content type.
Documentation – (4)
The Bateaux theme documentation is pretty extensive and accessible. The documents can be found in at least 3 places:
- On the Bateaux site: http://www.bateauxtheme.com/docs/
- In the downloaded theme folder on your desktop (look for Bateaux > Documentation)
- In the Bateaux dashboard on the Home tab. Click on the Document image.
If you don’t read anything else, read the page/post builder section on how blueprint works: http://www.bateauxtheme.com/docs/page-post-builder/index.html
Performance – (4)
The pages created with this theme load rapidly. I hadn’t experienced any other slowness in the website or in the WordPress interface. The pages refresh quickly when doing configurations and content edits. On one site I’m already getting more traffic in comparison with my previous theme.
What you need to know
- Requires WordPress 4.6 and up
- Important: If you cannot find the blueprint button in the menu, go to the Screen Options on the top of the page and make sure that the “Bateaux Blueprint” option is checked.
- Bateaux works best in Chrome as per the theme authors. (I use it in Firefox and so far it has worked for me.)
- On pages, footers and bottom bars, header and sidebar options have to be set on a page-by-page basis via the blueprint interface (found on the top menu).
- Since this is a pagebuilder built into the theme, if you change themes, your content will not migrate. You will have to cut and paste it out and rebuild the pages in your new theme.
- Once you understand how it works, you can have lots of control to create modern, impressive pages.
- Doesn’t slow down the site
- Editing is rapid because of real-time previews
- Comes packed with many sample homepage layouts, such as blogs, agency landings, one pagers, resumés, etc.
- Hardly needs customized CSS
- Team elements don’t link out to an individual team profile page
- Carousel buttons not outside the images
- Can’t access the html code on the page builder elements
- Content entered into the blueprint pagebuilder won’t migrate when switching to a new theme.
WordPress Theme Review Overall Verdict: (5)
Bateaux theme with its proprietary blueprint page builder is a great addition to the WordPress theme set. It’s comprehensive, easy to use, easy to customize, gives you incredible control, and you can build stunning pages fairly quickly.