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Wednesday, August 08 2012

Design: We are always trying to create a balance between making the system quick and easy to configure and providing the flexibility to create unique and compelling web sites.   With the huge amount of options available in the site builder, it is easy for many customers to become overwhelmed. 

Moving forward we will be focusing on providing great looking pre-configured websites with quick and easy controls.   We are working toward creating a simplified design system that focuses on the core elements our customers are looking to configure.  We are trying to create a central area/page that allows you to easily configure the most common design options instead of having to walk through all of the detailed configuration pages.  The detailed (advanced) pages will still be available, but you will not feel that you have to click through all the options/links on the design page to get your website setup.   Look for more simplified design options in future system updates.

Site builder system update: 4.20
The first system update of 2012 is currently being deployed.  This upgrade includes many minor enhancements, as well as the beginnings of our upgraded design system.

New/updated design features
  - Showcase designs
  - 20 new layouts
  - Updated site layout page with quick and easy layout browsing
  - Quickbar font size
  - New background textures
  - More colour options on many of the new layouts
  - Enhanced design drop down menu providing quicker access to all design features
  - Default styles for blogs and image galleries
  - CSS submenus now default to show with a slide down animation
  - Many new Google fonts have been added for use as page text and in the logo builder
  - Adjust default padding/spacing for groupboxes

Header & images
One of the new trends in site design is to setup image sliders in the site header area.  This update includes the option to configure a content slider or your own custom HTML for the banner area of your site.  The content slider option is also available when setting up page specific banners.

Layout builder templates
Several new layout builder templates have been added to the system.  The Layout builder templates have been a huge success.  The layout builder provides a simplified interface, giving you full control over most of the core design elements (menu bar, banners, quick links, content area, footer, footer menu, side bars and more).   Adjust colours, backgrounds, padding, margins, borders to create your own design/layout. 

To select a layout builder template, click the select layout link from the main design page and then click the layout builder tab.

Design manager
The design manager now saves a complete snap shot of all of your design settings and includes any custom files that you may have loaded. 

Design explorer (preview coming soon)
The design explorer is a new feature that allows you to create and work on a non-live design for your site.  Through the design manager, you can open any saved design in the design explorer to view and modify the design settings on a fully configured preview site. Whenever you are ready to take the design live, simply go to the design manager and load the design settings.  The design explorer makes it simple to try and compare various design options.

Layout selection page
The layout selection page has been updated to make it easier to browse the top system layouts.  The page is divided into 3 sections.  New layouts, popular layouts and clean/basic layouts.  Each section is displayed in a content slider allowing you to quickly flip between different options.

Designs vs Layouts
With this update we are providing more information about exactly what is changed when you selects a new layout/design.  When you click the "design library" link from the main design page you will see a page wtih two options.  You can choose to browse/select complete designs (fonts, design accents, colours, banner and all settings) or you can choose to view/select only site layouts.

QuickEdit bar
Many websites have long pages.  The QuickEdit  bar is a floating edit bar (top right corner of the browser window) that makes it easy to toggle between page edit/view modes.  If you scrolled down to the bottom of a page you no longer need to scroll all the way to the top to click the "edit page" button.  Then scroll back down to edit your content.  You can simply click the "edit" link in the QuickEdit to quickly flip the page to edit mode.  There is also an option to disable the QuickEdit bar.

Ecommerce group coupons
More and more customers are making use of group coupon services such as GroupOn. The new group coupon feature makes it simple to generate coupon codes and track usage for group coupon campaigns.   Create a new coupon and check the "group coupon" box.

Ecommerce administation updates (manage products)
Ecommerce administration users can now be granted permission to manage store products.  Go to the admin users area to assign editing permissions for products.

Misc updates
  - Content slider - direct links to edit text from a slide
  - Photo gallery - upload photos directly from page editor
  - Photo gallery UI - interface modified to provide easier access to image management
  - Google maps - updated to use the new API/service - no longer requires a developer/domain key
  - Page properties (set the page name/url for a page)

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