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  1. 1. User Experience
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Themes
  4. 4. Billing Practices
  5. 6. Pricing
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Doodlekit Review

Single-element pages make for a poor user experience.

By Steve BenjaminsLast Updated Sep 21 2016

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Review Updates

  • Mar 1 2016 New review published.
  • Sep 21 2016 Checked for accuracy.

User Experience Info

The Doodlekit website editor is made up of red buttons that link to form-based editors. There is no actual editing of your website in place— instead these buttons just link to forms. These red buttons look bad and they also get in the way of actually seeing your website!

Website Editor

Right: Website Editor

Instead of having elements that you can add to pages, elements have to be an entire page. For example, you add a form page, a gallery page, or a shop page. This makes very little sense. What if you want to a form on the same page that you have a map? It’s just not possible with Doodlekit.

Page Types

Right: Page Types

Customizing your website is always done in editors that hide the website preview. Which gets so frustrating. Most website builders use a drag and drop editor within your website— so that you can see the changes you are making in a live preview. Doodlekit forces you to customize in abstracted forms. For example, here’s what customizing your page looks like:

Page customization— wish I could see how this looked on the page.

Right: Page customization— wish I could see how this looked on the page.

By default every Doodlekit website has a sidebar— which is an outdated idea, most websites today don’t have sidebars. Unfortunately there is no meaningful customization you can do to the sidebar. You can only choose from 5 different “boxes”: Boxes & Notes, Location, Hours of Operation, Social and Login. You really can’t control it beyond that. (The same thing is true with your footer— you just choose to show and hide a series of “boxes” that appear in the footer.)

Sidebar

Right: Sidebar

The Doodlekit website editor is really bad. It’s not thoughtfully designed at all. Some time ago, Doodlekit told me they were in the process of a major overhaul that would launch spring 2015. It still hasn’t launched. Doodlekit needs a lot of work and it’s not at all clear that they are trying to improve it.

Website Editor

Right: Website Editor

Features Info

  • Blog

    You can set a blog post to publish in the future, customize sharing icons and allow blog commenting (unfortunately there is no integration with popular commenting systems such as Disqus or Facebook comments). I wasn’t able to figure out how commenting moderations works (it’s not clear if you receive an email notification of new comments— something you’ll want if you have commenting turned on). There is a handy versioning system that lets you rollback to different versions of your blog post (a new version is created each time you save the post).  Show Screenshot

  • Ecommerce

    With Doodlekit you can create Shop pages that act as an ecommerce page. Unfortunately it’s far too simple to be considered full ecommerce: for example, instead of a having on-site checkout your customers are redirected to Paypal to checkout. There’s also no product categories. You can create product variations, but it’s strangely not a part of the product editor itself. Finally there is no way to edit the email receipts your customers will receive.  

  • Form Builder

    Forms can’t be embedded into pages, instead you have to create a form page (unfortunately your form has to be on it’s own page). There’s a good amount of form field types (including text, paragraph, checkboxes, dropdowns and passwords) but unfortunately there is no way to add a file upload field. You can edit success messages and send the visitor to a custom success URL. Results are sent to an email address but are not stored in any database (so make sure you don’t delete those emails!). I don’t recommend Doodlekit’s form builder— it’s really annoying that you can’t simply embed forms on any page!  Show Screenshot

  • iOS & Android Apps

    No.  

  • Retina Ready

    No.  

  • Newsletter

    No. Forms don’t integrate with any mailing list providers.  

  • Membership System

    No.  

  • Design from Scratch

    No.  

  • Multi-lingual

    No.  

  • Restaurant Menu

    No.  

  • Donations

    No.  

  • Audio Player

    No.  

  • Podcasts

    No.  

Themes Info

Every Doodlekit theme seems to have the same structure: a header, a sidebar and a content area. This is an outdated look. Very few websites have sidebars in this way.

Many themes have different colors but the same structure.

Right: Many themes have different colors but the same structure.

Themes are very basic. None of them are responsive, instead there is a mobile theme that you can apply to your website. Here’s an example theme:

Example theme

Right: Example theme

There are a lot of theme customizations that you can make— unfortunately there is no live preview of your theme alongside of it, so you’ll spend lots of time making customizations and then refreshing your website to see what the customizations did. It’s a painful process.

Theme customization

Right: Theme customization

Billing Practices: Good


I was able to pay and cancel my website with ease.



Pricing


Plan Term Domain Name Total info

By Steve Benjamins

I founded Site Builder Report in 2012 to help people find the best website builder. In my spare time I make music (check it out!). You can also follow me on Twitter here.

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