Xara Web Designer 365 Premium Review

Xara Web Designer 365 Premium
Xara Web Designer 365 Premium received the SimplytheBest Gold Award
SimplytheBest Gold Award Software Reviews

Xara Web Designer 365 is unlike any web design software you have ever seen. An easy template based solution that gives you total page design freedom. No HTML skills required. It comes in 2 versions, Xara Web Designer 365 and Xara Web Designer 365 Premium. The Premium edition offers advanced Web and graphic design features. Xara Web Designer includes customizable Web graphic, Webpage and Website template designs plus tools for creating your own vector graphics, for photo editing (an integrated ultra-fast, non-destructive photo tool), and for advanced text layout. The Designs Gallery also includes a collection of widgets.

This new release features an innovative new publishing technique called Xara Supersites and supports Responsive Web Design, a technique to create multiple layout variations of the same website optimized for different devices such as mobile, tablets and desktop computers.

Enter your text (spell checker included), drag and drop any new items such as text panels, headings or extra buttons from the templates in the Designs Gallery or import your own or create new images with the drawing tools. Set up links on your NavBars and menus, drag and drop your own photos (photo editor included if you need to crop or adjust brightness, contrast etc), customize colors with the one-click theme color editing, add mouseover effects, thumbnails and pop-ups, and more.

Using drag and drop you can literally place anything, anywhere on the page. And things which are normally difficult to achieve in HTML are a snap in Web Designer - for example text with curved edges, text or graphics at an angle, text flowing around objects, and so on. Whether you customize one of the bundled templates or create your own graphics or animations, it's genuinely WYSIWYG - what you see in Web Designer is exactly what you get on your Website.


SUPERSITES

Xara's single page "Supersites" are an alternative way of publishing a website. Instead of just being a separate set of Web pages with the typical click-wait-load way to navigate a Website, a Supersite provides instant navigation between pages, along with slick animated page transitions - all designed to make a Website stand-out from the crowd. Users can choose to have all Web pages presented as a single scrolling list of pages, one below the other (ideal for pages to be viewed in a PDF style format), or arranged horizontally, one beside the other with swipe actions (on touch devices) to navigate from page to page. The Website can be set to "fit to screen" so that it smoothly and automatically resizes to fit any browser window.

RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

With the surge in popularity of mobiles and tablets it is becoming essential to create Websites that are tailored to the needs of these visitors. Xara Web Designer has created a responsive web design solution that allows users to create a single HTML file containing multiple variants at different widths. The Website responds dynamically to the screen size of the viewer (using CSS3 media queries), presenting the design most appropriate to their device. Users have the ability to freely customize the layout of the variants to suit the target device size, eg. desktop, tablet and phone. In line with the Web Designer philosophy, it is a genuine WYSIWYG solution, no coding required.

TEXT STYLES

Update an element of your Text Style eg font, color, line spacing etc, and all text with that Style applied throughout your document is instantly updated -- headings, titles or body text.

INLINE GRAPHICS

Embed inline graphics in text using a simple Paste operation. Embedded graphics follow the same formatting rules as a character embedded in the text.

WEBFONTS

Xara Web Designer 365’s font embedding technology overcomes the serious design limitation of having to stick to the very small selection of so called ‘web safe’ fonts. Our technique works by embedding a special version of the font on your website which the web browser can download and display. The main benefit of using an embedded font (as opposed to turning text to graphics), is that search engines can see and index this text. Plus visitors to your page can also select and copy this text, like any normal text.

COMPATIBILITY

Working with industry standards is vital, so Web Designer 365 sites are W3C compliant, cross browser compatible (IE 6+, Firefox, Safari, Chrome) and XHTML, CSS standards based. It can also import a huge range of files types for vector graphics, image and text including PDF, RTF, RAW, PSD, TIFF, ODP, PPTX and of course JPEG, PNG, GIF, but also most SVGs.

CLEVER STUFF

Liquid text flow around objects, easy mouseover, thumbnail and pop-up creation, automatic adjustment of photos to the correct web resolution, one-click change of site wide theme colors and shades, automatic color matching of imported objects such as buttons, a concept of 'repeating objects' such as headings and button bars - edit one instance and they all update, and buttons and text panels that automatically stretch as you change the text.

Use your own graphical designs for the bullet character or the number at the start of bullet or numbered lists, which can make a significant improvement in the presentation quality of any list.

Some noteworthy enhancements include: optimize all images function, NavBar button ordering, hue adjustment for photos, fly-out galleries, link handling on iOS devices, incremental publishing, character based languages, right click options, AVI animation frame rate control, and more.

DRAWING TOOLS

Includes comprehensive, intuitive and powerful drawing tools from the award winning illustration software Xara Designer. So you can create your own graphics from scratch and either add them to the page being created in Web Designer 365 or export them as JPEG, PNGs or GIFs. Web Designer 365 supports transparency, even grad transparency (for graphics, photos and text). It has full, automatic alpha channel support for things like soft shadows, anti-aliasing and semi-transparent objects, and if you include things not supported by HTML (let's say rotated text) it automatically converts them to optimized Web graphics. The Premium edition includes a range of additional graphic creation tools for those who wish to create their own graphics from scratch. These include freehand and quickshape drawing tools, bevel, mould and 3D extrude. Plus additional photo features such as content aware scaling and zooming, and masking.

Drawing something simple such as an arrow or a speech bubble on a Website can be a complex process for even the most skilled of designers. Xara SmartShapes is a new and innovative way to draw aesthetically attractive shapes on your document, that require no knowledge of any drawing tools, and they remain fully customizable. The library of SmartShapes will grow over time, but starts with text panels, speech bubbles, arrows and more.

PLUGINS

The Live Effects tool allows Photoshop plug-in effects to be applied to both photos and vector graphics, opening up a huge range of special graphical effects. What's more we have included more than 40 plug-ins.

WIDGETS

Add widgets to your site such as Google Maps, Picasa photo albums and slideshows, YouTube movies, forms, e-commerce and many more. There is even a library of popular widgets in the Designs Gallery which you can just drag and drop onto your page. The Premium edition has a larger selection of widgets including the new 'eye catcher' animated text and photo widgets, and e-commerce widgets such as PayPal. The MX release introduces re-sizeable JavaScript widgets compatible with all modern devices including iPhone, iPads and Windows Phone 7, and do not require a Flash plug-in.

CHART & QR CODE WIDGETS

The charts use interactive DHTML and SVG to render the chart in the browser, which responds to mouseover to highlight particular chart values. The new QR Code widget allows you to communicate text or the web address of the page that it is inserted on.

HTML 5 VIDEO

MP4 movie files added to your website will now play without Flash installed if the browser supports HTML5 video, so movies play on iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. You can also export any animation or non-animation document as an AVI file, helping you create your own Web-ready movie content.

HIDPI/RETINA

The world is rapidly moving to HiDPI or Retina screens. Creating hi-res compatible web sites the traditional way can be technically complicated and time consuming. With Xara Web Designer it's as simple as a single check-box. It automatically creates two versions of all graphics and photos, and corresponding script code so that the right image resolution is shown on each device.

DESIGNS GALLERY

The Designs gallery is packed with clipart, photos, illustrations, templates, themes, and widgets (3000+ new items of traditional clipart and a collection of photo clipart). The Designs Gallery is now completely server linked, so we can update and add more templates, clipart, Widgets etc.


CONCLUSION

SimplytheBest Gold AwardXara Web Designer 365 (Premium) is ideal for anyone who wants to create their own Web site without learning HTML, JavaScript, PHP, Ajax and all the complicated things that have become inherent to Web site creation including device responsive Web design. We tested all the functionalities (adding widgets, graphics, animations, forms, etc.) and found them to be clever, easy to use, and easy to learn. The program offers true WYSIWYG editing of CSS3 based Web sites (which is not easy to accomplish!). For 32-bit and 64-bit versions of 64-bit Windows.

Giving the program a SimplytheBest Gold Award is the least we could do.

For more information, online demos or to order:

Visit the Xara Web Designer Web site