Weebly announced that they have made substantial updates on May 2, 2013, which includes a brand new Weebly Editor and Mobile Editor.
From a design perspective, the updated Weebly Editor is a substantial improvement from the previous version, giving it a fresh, modern look and feel.
Although from a website building, nuts and bolts perspective, Weebly didn’t unveil any new tools (they call these website building components “elements”), they did add 2 brand new features which we are quite excited about (Site Planner and Mobile Editor).
We’ll go over the major updates in the videos below, but they are mainly:
- New User Interface
- Site Planner
- New Mobile Editor
1) New Weebly Editor User Interface
The new user interface gives Weebly Editor a fresh, cool and modern feel. If you compare the before-and-after look of the editor, you’ll see that the biggest difference right off the bat is the position of the website building menu bar (where you drag and drop elements into the website)
We’ve heard mixed reviews on this re-location of the menu bar, as some Weebly users prefer it to be horizontally at the top (such as in the old editor) so they can have a wider screen to work with to build their websites. Some users really like the re-design with the vertical menu bar on the left hand side.
We’re indifferent about it, mainly as the functionality of the elements remain unchanged. So all the previous website building blocks (elements) are moved over into the new editor, so the way you are to construct your website remains the same.
Here’s a video that we’ve put together, which will walk you through our thoughts on the new Weebly editor:
2) Site Planner
Weebly surveyed their users extensively and one of the major findings is that users at times fail to completely build out their website is that they don’t have a clear plan of attack to help them achieve their goals. This makes sense as in anything that we do, it’s much easier with a much higher rate of success if we have a clear road plan.
So what does Weebly do? They incorporated a Site Planner function into their editor, to help users do a bit of website creation planning. It helps you keep track of your website goals, to increase your chances of completing your website.
The Site Planner is a pretty traditional, yet innovative approach to helping you reach your website goals as we haven’t seen it done with any other website builders.
Traditional in a sense that we all know that to achieve goals, we need a roadmap or a plan. Innovative in a sense that Weebly is actively helping their users achieve success, which we haven’t seen the other website builders do.
We go over what the Site Planner looks like and our thoughts in the video above (under Section 1 New User Interface).
3) New Weebly Mobile Editor
In our view, the new Weebly Mobile Editor is the biggest addition in this update. It allows you to preview how your visitors actually views your website with their mobile phones. As a result, you have the option to adjust your website to help improve their viewing experiences.
You can actually drag and drop, move or delete any elements directly in the Weebly mobile editor, and the changes will automatically be synchronized with the desktop editor (the non-Mobile editor).
We actually think that the synchronization feature is both good and bad:
Good – Whatever you add / remove from the desktop editor or mobile editor, both will be synchronized so you don’t have to edit the desktop editor first, then repeat the same change in the mobile editor (and vice versa).
Bad – You won’t have a true, dedicated mobile editor that allows you to create a unique mobile layout for your Weebly website, as any changes to the desktop editor will change for the mobile editor as well. Being able to have a dedicated, separate mobile editor allows you to tailor the mobile experience to exactly to how you want your visitors to experience, without having to compromise on the desktop view.
Here’s a short video on our thoughts about the Weebly mobile editor:
Overall, the Weebly updates are quite exciting and you can see that they are really focused on improving your experiences when using them as your website builder. Not only have Weebly made major investments in revamping and updating their user interface plus the mobile editor, they also created a Site Planner with the intent to help you create a plan, to accomplish your website goals.
In a competitive world of website builders, Weebly is stepping up to maintain its position as one of the leaders, not only in user experience, but also as one of the easiest ways for anyone to create a website.
Click here if you’re interested in seeing our detailed review of Weebly as a website builder.
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