Building a website is a daunting prospect for anyone without knowledge of HTML. Simple blogging sites that take of all the layout for you aren’t suitable for every type of content. And advanced design packages such as Adobe Dreameaver will be a steep learning curve for even computing veterans.
Read: more reviews of web design software.
Website X5 Evolution 9 strikes a balance between simplicity and the ability to create personalised web pages.
It uses a grid-based what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) visual editor that provides scope to choose how you want your page to look, with no knowledge of HTML required. Your site’s overall visual style can be customised with templates, which set the colours, background, header and so forth.
A five-step site creation process involves a top-down sitemap view, where you can see the hierarchy of pages and how they link back to your home page. Each page is divided into a grid of rows and columns, and you drag web content, such as a block of text, image, video, or Flash animation into one of these cells.
Website X5 Evolution 9 provides a five-step process to design a complete website
A simple word processor lets you customise the appearance of text, and you can add more complex elements, from lists and email forms to ‘widgets’ such as a Facebook feed or Google News banner.
This system is fairly intuitive to operate. With some ideas for the content we wanted, it took about 30 minutes to create a basic home page, with text separated into columns and images resized to fit. Once we designed the first pages by dragging images and using placeholder text, the others were easier to produce.
The final result is a site that uses CSS for style and layout, with reasonably neat HTML code. Afterwards, Website X5 provides an interface to upload your site via FTP.
You’re unlikely to produce an award-winning site with Website X5. Template-based design software often produces documents with a certain look that exposes the use of preset graphics. There may be dozens of templates to choose from, but most here use garish colours, shapes and cheesy objects. It took plenty of searching to find one to our taste.
Website X5 has some advanced tools. Templates can be fully customised, and you can add a rudimentary shopping cart, for example, that emails orders to you, or links to a Paypal account.
A web design application that costs less than some guidebooks on HTML coding will obviously have limitations. Our test website was nothing special, but with more content and some work on its appearance, it may have worked fine as a web platform for our ideas.