Producing a website design that you’re happy with can be a time consuming and complicated matter, especially if you’re not fluent in coding HTML. This has seen an increased use of template-based packages that hide the code away. With its eye on the novice market, Serif has put together a simple but powerful tool that does away with any need to add code.
Serif has used its background in art and design packages to create an interface in WebPlus X2 that the most novice designers will easily understand. At first glance it looks like PhotoPlus or any similar package, so there are a wide range of tutorials, templates and even clip-art to get your website started.
The biggest challenge therefore is actually having enough resources and ideas to take one of the templates and make it all your own. It uses CSS controls instead of tables, which makes it better for search engines and also makes for a cleaner finish to your site.
This can be done quite easily, as you can simply drag and drop you images and text into the page. Resizing is merely a matter of moving the box and if you want copy to span over a number of pages, you simply define the word count by box size and it will automatically create the extra pages.
This is all well and good but this reliance on templates has a rather static feel to the pages work best if you’re not going to update the content too often. The templates offer a wide choice of sites, including e-commerce through PayPal and you can add extra features, such as RSS feeds and even a blog.
If you want to add media functions, such as access to YouTube, podcasts or even your animated features, you’ll need to add links and a couple of lines of code but we found the program walks you through the process easily.
So far you won’t need to use any code as the changes will be instantly made. The program also allows you to preview the site before you make it live, so if any bugs or areas you don’t like crop up you can change the within the program.
This lack of coding does mean you can build up pages quite quickly and you can even create templates of your own, so the site has a uniform feel to it. We found you could create a basic site quite quickly and be happy with the results.
We like Serif WebPlus X2, as it is a simple and easy to understand package. If you have a grounding in HTML or are looking to add advanced features, this isn’t the package for you but for basic sites with simple needs, this is a good choice.