New Thrive Architect User Interface: Speed & Usability

Shane Melaugh   285

Updated on December 30, 2019

After months of studying feedback from our users and many rounds of user testing and revisions, we're proud to release our new and improved interface for Thrive Architect.

In this post, you'll find a quick tour of what's changed and what has stayed the same.


Watch the video for an overview of the new UI. The changes we made fall into 2 major categories:

Speed & Usability

We've made optimizations to Thrive Architect, which affect the performance. As a result, you'll find that things are just a bit snappier and faster than before - for example when switching between style panels or switching between different elements on the canvas.

We've also spent a lot of time learning from your feedback and made changes to the UI that make it easier to use. Operations like going from editing the style of something on the page to adding a new element or loading a landing page template are now more convenient.

Overall, you should find that after a few minutes of getting used to the new layout, you'll experience a smoother and more efficient workflow than in the previous version of the plugin.

What Changed (and What Didn't)

You can learn almost everything you need to know about the new Thrive Architect UI from just 3 points:

  1. Element style options are in the left sidebar.
  2. Add new elements and load templates from the right sidebar.
  3. Mobile editing is at the bottom.

None of these things are new things. The difference is that before, everything was crammed into the left sidebar. This meant that you were sometimes several clicks away from what you wanted to do, because you'd have to click to "switch modes" in the left sidebar.

In the new layout, the most important functions in the editor are always directly available.

What hasn't changed are the styling options on the left hand side. You'll still find the same options in the same places there, so the re-learning for the new UI is minimal.

If you'd like a more detailed overview of all the changes in the new user interface, check out this article.

Give it a Try

If you update Thrive Architect or Thrive Leads to the latest version, you'll find the editor interface updated. Give it a try and let us know if you have any feedback or ideas about how we could further improve it.


Make Sure to do This...

Because this is a completely new version of the Thrive Editor, some options (such as the text editor bar) might not appear if you're using browser caching.

Don't panic 🙂 A quick hard refresh should do the trick.

Click Ctrl+F5 (PC) or Cmd+Shift+R (Mac) and reset any caching plugins.

by Shane Melaugh  October 17, 2018


Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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Leave a Comment

    • Hello Ove,

      Just click on the little cloud icon in the right sidebar. That takes you straight to the selection screen for our templates.

  • Love your drive to constantly improve.

    While I am sure messing with a winning formula (here: the UI) is a bit scary, done correctly, it can create wonderful results.

    Thanks for the news. Looking forward to trying it out!

    Trevor Mc.

  • I’d suggest just moving the mobile optimizations options into the empty space on the right (#2) tab.

    I know that anyone editing on a smaller screen would appreciate the maximum amount of canvas they can work with… Now reduced further by the right and bottom bars.

    • Thank you for the suggestion, Derek.

      We’ve reduced the size of the breadcrumb bar at the top, so the vertical space you have available is almost the same as it was before. 🙂

      The horizontal space available is exactly the same as it was before, since we made the left sidebar narrower by the exact width that the right sidebar adds.

      • I agree with Derek. It was a great opportunity to increase valuable editing space. I shan’t be using it until at least the first bug fix. TA is a great idea but so bug ridden. I had to laugh when my ten year old asked if TA was still in beta!

      • That’s quite a stretch! What other plugin of this type is as robust, offering as many features, geared for conversions, and is updated as frequently? Exactly! None. I would suggest if you and your 10 year old don’t like it – Stop using it!

  • Hi Shane,

    Clear and more intuitive, I like it 🙂

    + nice teasing about future functionalities, can’t wait to see it!

    Thanks for these continuous improvements, Thrive tools, especially Architect, totally changed the way I build websites.

    Laurent from France

  • Hi Shane, I don’t understand, won’t this plugin become redundant when you release the upcoming Thrive Theme Builder? Personally, I’ve been holding off buying membership until Theme Builder arrives – when is it due for release?

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thrive Architect will still be the tool you use to create your content. Thrive Theme Builder will be for creating the theme, which is basically everything “around” your content.

      • Thanks, Shane. p.s. Your videos are the clearest and easiest to follow that I’ve encountered. Well done!

      • Hi Shane, First I echo the praise for consistent improvement. You guys walk your talk…so bravo! Will the Theme Builder be able to “take over / overlay” a previous theme such as Squared or Performag?

      • It will act as the theme itself. It’s not a plugin that overrides the theme, but a WordPress theme that you activate instead of your current one.

      • Thanks for this clarification Shane. Like Kevin, I was a little confused as to whether Thrive Theme Builder would replace Architect.

        I’m totally in love with Architect and how you’re so dedicated to continuously improving and keeping your products up to date. I can’t wait to try some others too. And your videos really make you stand apart from the rest. They’re just so helpful!

        I’d love to see an option to use some of your landing page templates to build “home” pages in Architect but I guess that will come with the release of Theme Builder.

        Thanks again for a wonderful product. 🙂

      • Thank you very much, Lisa!
        Yes, with the Theme Builder, you’ll be able to style all parts of your website in a similar fashion as with Thrive Architect. It will still be two separate products, however, since we are building it in line with how WordPress is meant to be used, with the theme taking care of theme things and Thrive Architect taking care of content related things.

      • Lisa,

        Think of the Theme Builder as a Beautiful Candy Wrapper (Your Theme) and Thrive Architect as the Candy Bar (Your Content) inside the Beautiful Candy Wrapper. Both important to each other but both stand alone parts.

        I know it’s corny but that’s how I think about it.

  • Excited for the changed UI, but SUPER excited for the additional teaser functionality Shane led on about.

    Thanks for pushing forward!

  • Just used the new Thrive Architect. Really nice. It takes a couple minutes to get used to, but I like how you’ve streamlined things. Also, it’s definitely faster. You guys rock.

    • Thank you for your comment, Mark! I’m glad to see that it only took you a short time to get used to the change and that you’re noticing the speed improvements as well. It’s great to see our work pay off like this. 🙂

  • Great update. I’ve been with you since the beginning and I can’t imagine using anything else. I also love that you’re constantly updating. I have no suggestions. Every time I think of something you have an update the next day addressing it! Keep up the good work. It is appreciated!

  • This is awesome. These improvements will help us keep making necessary changes to our site … as we work on making our site more user-friendly. So, thank you!!

    One thing I have always wished for is a global setting for font, font size, and color for multiple headers levels (H1, H2, H3 and H4 etc). Is this something you can add? Thanks a lot. I just love Thrive products so much.

    • Thank you for your comment, Felix!

      Regarding your suggestion: on landing page templates, you can go to the settings icon and click on “global” to access page-level font settings. In the Theme Builder we are working on, this will also be available on a site-wide level.

  • I just downloaded the update and tried to edit my new post. The new interface is great and really intuitive. Absolutely love that I can move the in-line edit text options bar anywhere. Overall – fantastic improvements.

  • Nice work as always, Shane – thanks. My Thrive membership is hands down the most valuable (and irreplaceable) set of marketing tools I use.

  • Definitely, I like the spread out of controls to bottom and right side strip. Also, Inline editing being powered up with smart font setting bar is top notch. One of the problems when developing a SPA webpage is moving up and down – got to give Elementor credit, their Navigator popup really works well – what does the same for Thrive Architect?

    • Thanks for your feedback, Jack.

      We have a feature on the roadmap that should make navigation on large pages easier.

  • Hi Shane,
    Love the new layout, much easy to use, But where is the text format. that has disappeared. 😉 could you please put it back.

    • Hello Aslam,

      Please make sure to update to the latest version of the plugin and then refresh the page if the inline text options still don’t appear in the editor.

  • Great work. Looks really good, but I’ve got one problem after the update. When I click on a paragraph or headline, it doesn’t show the strip where you can change text-options such as bold, italic, alignment, etc. anymore. Is that a bug or can I find it anywhere else now?

    Thanx for your incredible work anyway.


    • Hello Andreas,

      Thank you for your comment. Please make sure to update to the latest version of the plugin and then refresh the page if the inline options don’t appear in the editor.

  • This is awesome Shane! You guys continue to push the bar and Thrive just gets better and better 🙂

    Ahem.. on my wishlist: more templates for Thrive Apprentice layouts 🙂

  • I like the direction here! I’m struggling though… can’t seem to find the “add header/footer” elements. Did they move somewhere else? They’re not in the templates/symbols section either.

    • Hi Niclas,

      You can add headers and footers in the “global” settings, accessed from the gear icon on the right.

  • Nice stuff, good improvements and best done now 🙂

    A thought I had was the right side bar now with elements is still a click in for elements, would it make it clunky to have a option to bring to front and a icon will display visable below other elements, popular elements could then be drag and drop closer. but no real biggy, you got more real estate to fill now 🙂

    • Thanks for your feedback, Albert. We’re working on adding a keyboard shortcut for the elements menu, to eliminate a click in that process.

    • Hello Anna,

      You can click on the little cloud icon in the right sidebar to open the template selection anytime. That is also what you can use to switch from one landing page to another.

  • Thanks Shane! I really enjoy using Thrive Themes. I’m not a techie type person and you keep making things easier for me to use and just focus on being creative!

    • Thanks for your comment, Jim. I’m happy to see you like the changes we’ve made. And yes, I also see part of the editor’s job as “getting out of your way” to let you do your work.

  • Hi Shane,
    This looks great. What I’m really desperate for though is the theme builder. Any update on it’s release – even a rough timescale would be helpful.

  • I want to edit a text link but the floating bar you show in your video does not appear 🙁
    What do I have to do?

    • Hi Gustavo,

      Please make sure to update to the latest version of the plugin and hard refresh the page if the text options don’t appear. There’s a yellow box with instructions on how to do so in the blog post above.

  • Wow! I have to say some of the best UI changes to date. Thank you for your continued commitment to Thrive Architect… STILL the most important WP plugin on the market.

  • The changes are excellent and I especially like where the different device options are as that makes tweaking for mobile very easy, and also helps me not forget to do it….great work

  • Great job of show & tell. Short, sweet & to the point. I can see that a lot of feedback and need, use & application went into this update.


    • Hello Monty,

      You can save without exiting by closing the browser tab (you’ll get a prompt when you do this).

      We’re working on a major improvement to the save/publish/preview part of the editor.

  • It is clearly faster now!! And it’s more user friendly. Very intuitive.

    Amazing job, congratulations!!!

    And thanks!

  • Basically, allow every user to arrange the sidebars to his liking… to make the width thicker or thinner, to the user liking…

    Allow the user to have 1-4 sidebars with variable width and a ‘lock’ button… maybe a lock icon with lock/unlock pictures…

    Also, it would be fun for the users to be able to arrange the icons in these sidebars to their liking… well, the position of the icons, their placement… so each user will spend some time to arrange the workflow interface to his liking/style…

    Personally, I would love to see on the top sidebar subliminal positive suggestions blinking all the time I’m in the Architect interface… from a list of well-designed suggestions…

    What I’m saying is… make the Architect interface 99% customizable in term of sidebars count (1-4), floating miniworkflow bars (1 at the moment) and where are all the icons placed…

    For example, having 10 icons on the bottom bar and CTRL + 1 to CTRL + 10 for each (or maybe 20, and having SHIFT + 11->20)…

    Well, I think some of us people try to find ways to use the least absolute necessary required time/effort to type at keyboard and click the mouse in order to get the desired result…

    Probably some sort of Architect A.I. could be implemented, with voice commands… 🙂

    • Thanks for your suggestions, Alex. A super customizable interface could be convenient for power-users, but I don’t think it’s a realistic option for us. Making a user interface that customizable and ensuring that everything works in every possible combination on every customer’s individual WordPress and hosting setup would be enormously expensive. We’d probably go out of business before finishing such a project…

  • Shane, I love it. It is more organic, intuitive, and clean, rather more minimalist and not overwhelming to have everything crammed on the left. You are doing awesome creation! Thank you.

    I must confess I have not upgraded to Architect on my site yet. I have been working on a major content deadline. I also do weekly webinars. I did not want to upgrade and then not be able to get my time-sensitive content stuck at the mercy of my learning curve. I just had soooo little time to concentrate on the mechanics of relearning. This change makes sense. I will play with it on my second newer site, use it as a sandbox, experiment and go. Thank you for this.

    Mahalo, Donna

    • Thank you for your comment, Donna!
      I think it’s a very wise move to not update when you’re going through crunch time. With self-hosted software, there’s always some risk involved with updating, even apart from a learning curve. When you get around to it, I hope you’ll enjoy the new interface. 🙂

  • Might be just me, but I kinda liked the old version better. Everything was on the left side, and on the left side only. Now it’s left, bottom and right side of my screen. I use a very wide screen most of the time and my mouse cursor is now flying all over the place. But if it had to happen…it had to happen ????

    • Thanks for your feedback, Bert!

      We could no longer make things work for things that are currently in progress, by cramming everything into the single space on the left. But I hear you and we’re working on further improvements to increase the efficiency of working with this interface, even on very large screens.

  • I like the new Thrive Architect. It looks very clean and it is easy to work with. I generally like to work with Thrive Themes!
    Unfortunately I don’t have the inline text option visible. I have more websites and on all my websites is missing when I work in the Paragraph or Headline area. Do you think I have to install the plugin again?
    Thanks, Liane

    • Hi Liane,

      A hard refresh should bring it back. To do a hard refresh, hit CRTL+F5 (or command+F5 if you’re on a Mac) also make sure to empty all other caching options you might have installed.

  • Действительно, плагин стал работать быстрее и плавнее. Мне нравится новый интерфейс (Indeed, the plugin began to work faster and smoother. I like the new interface)

  • It looks really great. The thing I’d like to see are the saved templates showing a thumbnail of what the actual page looks like instead of a thumbnail of the original template used to create the new customised one.

    Thrive is excellent. Great work!

    • Hi Aaron,

      Creating preview thumbnails dynamically is tricky, but we’re getting better at it. If we can make it work, we’ll apply this to template thumbnails as well.

  • Looking great. The only thing I would suggest is that the scroll bar on the left hand side options is a bit on the thin side to grab it. Thicker just by a bit would be better to scroll between the options. A gtreat product thanks, has really improved my website to the way I have wanted it to look for some years.

  • I like the new UI. Looks like things will be more easily accessible. Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeves!

  • Is the option for switching sides gone now? I’m not seeing it. Obviously, I can and will adjust but had gotten used to most of the options put over on the right side.

      • I want that back too! 🙂 Really having a hard time always looking on the wrong side.


        I now have to switch left and right all the time. On a 27′ Mac that is a long way. 😉 Would be great if I could have all sidebars on one site (as a choice). One on top and the other below. The 4 new buttons on the right do not take up much space on my Mac.

        Would be awesome! 🙂 Thank you! 🙂

      • Agreed! As a right-hander i find it much more efficient having all the tools on the right of the screen.

      • Thumbs down on that decision. Please add that ability back. I have countless sites I have been editing for years with it mainly on the right side.

    • It really isn’t as easy as adjusting when you are right handed and use a touchscreen. I won’t be able to make this, or any future, update if this isn’t changed. When I started and everything was on the left, my arm was always blocking the screen. Almost cancelled my subscription until I realized I could move it to the right. Not sure, if it has to be static why it would be on left. Please fix so I’m not stuck in the current version.

  • Great improvement in work flow! Making the text editing bar moveable was a smart move, could get in the way at times.
    Shane I wanted to ask you about making a template for online courses. It’s such a popular in demand topic. A tutorial showing how to set it up, with a membership pluggins as well, would help!

    • Thank you for the suggestion, David! We will take this into consideration for future template designs and such.

  • wonderful work as always.
    I am hoping the issue of the right side browser scroll bar sitting over the trashcan icon (for wider elements) has been addressed in this update.
    I am often unable to get to it when working on my mac.

    But great stuff!!

    • Thanks for your input, Anthony. Is this a scroll bar that appears on top of the page content rather then to the side of it? What browser is it, where you are seeing this issue?

  • Thanks for always being committed to being the best! You guys really are the top of your class!

    I’m looking forward to working with these improvements and seeing the release of the ones you’re still working on.

  • I was beginning to wonder what big things were happening behind the scenes and then boom this video comes out.

    Some new features are basic improvements and don’t get me too excited, but this one looks like a paradigm shift for you guys and I can’t wait to see what else you guys release soon. Nice work!

    P.S. I’m holding my breath to see the new theme builder. I never signed up for the beta, woops. This new layout has me even more exited for it.

  • Great, love it!

    Question, does this new update affect the mobile view?

    Do I have to re-create my mobile pages?

    • Hello Martina,

      You don’t need to make any changes and the way mobile editing works is still basically the same as it was before. 🙂

  • I’d prefer it if you changed the custom css editor so that it doesn’t extend over the whole width of the page. That way you can see the effect of your changes (when you click the tick icon) without having to close the editor first.

    I believe this is how the css editor used to work . . . and it was great!


    • Hello Edmundo,

      This is probably a caching issue in your browser. Please try hard refreshing the page (Ctrl + F5). That should solve the problem.

  • I like it Shane. However, from a users perspective, it’s a little cumbersome to navigate back and forth from across the page. It’s intuitively easier if the tools you use frequently are all in the same side. Constantly going back and forth from one side to the other could get annoying, and mentally you’ll battle that especially if you’re utilizing one tool bar for a good amount of time. Hopefully that make sense.

    Now, I say all of this as a brand new member not having used the tool yet. Getting ready to here in the next week, but I’m a UI designer and build around consumer behaviors. So this is just my first initial thought.

    I also understand the fact that it can get difficult with new tools coming aboard to keep cramming in one spot. However, the reason for tabs/drawers to keep things organized in their respective categories all in one place.

    Look at it this way…In a master bedroom, you wouldn’t put your common clothes you need in one dresser on one wall, and then another set of clothes in another dresser on a completely different wall across the room. You would go crazy going back and forth all the time every morning. ????

    I would only put tools on the right side that aren’t used that frequent. And keep the ones that you will be touching consistently all together nicely organized.

    Just some thoughts.

    P.S. can you tell us when the new Theme Builder will be available? Really need this asap to help me getting started.

    • Thank you for your input on this, Jeff!

      We are working on adding some keyboard shortcuts to add efficiency to the workflow. And we’ll think of other was to address these points as well.

  • Look great Shane, I just checked it out. I am just having a little problem with trying to access the Inline text editor. Do I have to turn this on some where to be able to see it?

    • Hi Amanda,

      Please try reloading the page or doing a hard refresh (Ctrl + F5). This forces the browser to clear the cache for the page you’re looking at and will bring in the text editing options.

  • It broke my editing ability. Images inserted won’t show up and the text editing ribbon is nowhere to be found. Ticket on it’s way…

    • Hi Philip,

      Thanks for pointing this out. This is most likely a caching issue, which means you can solve it by simply reloading the page. If that doesn’t do it, try a hard refresh (Ctrl + F5). This forces the browser to reload the page from scratch and that should bring in the text editing options.