Mini-review: SnapPages Updates Themes App

SnapPages Themes App

Flash-based sitebuilder SnapPages released this week a new version of its Themes App.

We reviewed SnapPages over the summer. Back then, the Themes App was little more than a way to select themes and make minor modifications to it. We were really curious to see what improvements Snappages would have made to the app, so in this mini-review, we’ll be taking a look at some of the new features and improvements that were announced this week.

First thing you’ll notice is that some of the menus have been rearranged. The menu is now subdivided into Colors, Styles, Header, Fonts and Elements sections. Only the Header and Elements menus have submenus. All others directly open a settings pane.

Link Boxes
One of the new features introduced are Link Boxes. SnapPages describes the concept in their blog as follows:

Link Boxes are little green boxes that you can draw over any area in your header and turn it into a link that can go to anything you want. These will show up as green boxes when you are editing them, but they will be invisible when you are not.

SnapPages Link Box

A new Link Box is created by selecting Link Boxes from the Header menu, after which a small floating pane with a New button opens. Clicking on this button should create a new Link Box at a default location in the header of your design, but the first couple of times we tried this, nothing happened. We ended up having to cancel editing our design, then re-open it and try again before the new Link Box appeared.

The size of the link box can be changed by dragging any of the 8 handles. Doing so caused the Link Box to resize all sides equally from its center. We found this counter-intuitive and a bit of a drag if you want to change only one side of the box, leaving you to re-position the box every time.

Color Palette
The Themes App now features a much larger Color Palette with a slightly overwhelming set of options. What makes the palette particularly overwhelming in our opinion, is the lack of a clear workflow. Heck, even labels on half the options are missing!

Here’s a workflow that we’ve found works. After opening the Color Palette, pick a colour in the central part of the palette. This will make a series of series of suggested palettes appear on the right. These palette suggestions are provided by ColourLovers and are actually quite useful. Note that there is a scroll bar to the right of the list of suggestions that will let you scroll down the list. The scroll bar is well hidden in the darkness of the panel.

SnapPage Color Palette

Once you find a suggested palette you like, click on it to have it set as the Current Palette. From there on, a single click on any of the colours in the Current Palette will set the new colour for the Primary, Secondary or Header settings in the Color Properties. Go back to the Color Palette to set the remaining options by picking a different colour from the Current Palette you have just set.

Convert to CSS
Convert to CSS (only available for developer accounts) lets designers export a design as CSS. This new feature lets developers start off with an existing Theme, make customizations, export to CSS and then customize further directly in CSS.

All in all, not an amazing update, but it does push the level of customizability of SnapPage’s designs a bit further.

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