Review: Wix

Website Builder: Wix (affiliate link)
Pros: easy to use;
Cons: both the editor and any website produced with Wix are entirely Flash-based; limited customisable; free service does not include custom domain and includes wix advertisement;
Price: basic service is free; premium packages to add custom domain, remove wix advertisement and gain access to e-commerce are available, ranging in price from $4.95 to $19.90 a month
Ideal for: personal websites, small portfolio websites for photographers or bands
Whether or not to build your next website with Wix depends on whether or not you want to use Flash to build your entire site.

Conservative wisdom in webdesign has it that Flash is a great technology but should be used moderately and is not to be used to design an entire website. With increasing bandwidth and ever-faster computers, Flash-based sitebuilders like Wix challenge that wisdom. But how does it perform?

The Wix editor interface is fairly cluttered with a menu along the top, icons along the left, partially-minimized windows and more buttons on the right, and, depending on where we click on the page, a tray with more icons (which enlarge when we move the cursor over them) along the bottom of the screen.

The menu along the top includes File, Edit, Arrange, Page and Help menu items – much like a standard desktop application. To the right of these menu items, there are several icons, after which we find more menus, including Settings, Preview, Save and Publish. Wix’s user-interface is about as unstructured and cluttered as all this sounds.

We can add different Parts to our pages, including a Background, Page Frame, a Page Center, Areas, Mini Pages, Menus and Buttons. All these are found in the pull-down menu that appears when we roll the cursor over the Page Parts button on the left.

Page Parts can have Animations applied to them. The animations are presets and only have an option to change the speed at which they play.

The Media and Clip Art Button on the left let us add Pics, Videos, Music and Files, and various types of clip art, respectively.

Wix does offer a fairly extensive set of visualisation options for its Galleries, including Slideshow, Slider, Carousel, Photo Album, Cover Flow, Matrix, Accordion and Animated galleries. Each visualisation then has a number of preset styles. Beyond that, however, the galleries offer little in the way of customisation. Clicking on images opens a high-resolution version of the image, but there appear to be no options to change the way this looks, like the colour and the transparency level of the background area, or to set the size of the large image.

Final Words
Wix offers a decent, though limited, set of tools to create Flash-based websites. To create truly remarkable designs, however, expect to be using tools like Photoshop quite extensively.

The tools offered are mostly layout and animation type of tools. Wix does offer a small set of other content-related tools through its Widgets, but the choice here is extremely limited. There is no way to set up a mailing-list or even a blog with Wix, for example.

If you are looking to create a portfolio style website, and don’t mind if the website is created entirely in Flash, Wix might be a good tool for you.

If you use or have used Wix, we would like to hear your experience in the comments below.

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