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Incomedia Website X5 Evolution 9 review

Julian Prokaza
19 Feb 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
39
inc VAT

We thought Website X5 Evolution was dated when we reviewed version 8 two years ago, but this update does little to address our criticisms

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Website X5 Evolution is billed as web design software that can create a site in “five easy steps”, but while we found that to be true when we reviewed version 8 two years ago, we weren’t overly impressed by that version's rather rudimentary-looking results.

Step 1...

Website X5 Evolution

Since it counts the “redesign of existing features” and “addition of new features” among its list of improvements, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from version 9, but our hopes weren’t high when we first ran the program. Website X5 Evolution 8’s dated interface has been given a fresh cosmetic overhaul, but the core operation of the program appears to have changed little.

Website X5 Evolution 9’s five steps are presented as numbered options down the left of its window and while the wizard-led web creation process steps through each in turn, each can also be selected at any time. A new site begins as a new project, where such basic information as the site title, URL (if it exists at this stage) and assorted metadata are entered as part of step one.

Step 2...

Website X5 Evolution Step 2

Template selection takes place here too, and Website X5 Evolution 9 has 198 to choose from. Templates don’t dictate the page layout as such — that’s more or less fixed with a header, background body area and footer structure — but rather just its colour scheme and static images. We criticised version 8 of the program two years ago for its dated and cheesy templates, but these still haven’t changed with this update and all look like relics from the 1990s. To be fair, custom templates can also be created, but the option to simply specify different colours and header images offers little creative scope.

With a template in place, step two sets the site structure with a simple interface for adding pages and sub-menus to the top-level navigation menu. Pages can also be populated with content at this point (skipping ahead to step three), but this is another area where Website X5 Evolution 9 lags behind the competition. Rather than a WYSIWYG editor that shows how the finished page will look as it’s being put together, the page editor screen just shows a grid onto which ‘objects’ are dragged to fill its various cells.

Although there are only nine to choose from, Website X5 Evolution 9’s objects cover all the bases. They include text, images, streaming video, social network buttons and raw HTML, plus a ‘table’ object that allows more flexible layout options than the simple page layout grid otherwise provides. The problem here is that objects aren’t edited directly in place, but in a separate editor screen, whether it’s for editing text, browsing for an image or entering a YouTube URL.

Step 3 - website made

Website X5 Evolution Step 3

Although there are only nine to choose from, Website X5 Evolution 9’s objects cover all the bases. They include text, images, streaming video, social network buttons and raw HTML, plus a ‘table’ object that allows more flexible layout options than the simple page layout grid otherwise provides. The problem here is that objects aren’t edited directly in place, but in a separate editor screen, whether it’s for editing text, browsing for an image or entering a YouTube URL.

Unfortunately, none of this content is then shown on the page layout and a beautifully formatted column of text or a slideshow image gallery is simply represented by its original object icon. Pages can be previewed in a separate window, but this must be refreshed after each change and the lack of a simple WYSIWYG page editor makes Website X5 Evolution 9’s web design process extremely laborious. Steps four and five of the site creation wizard offer more ways to fine-tune a web site and finally export the whole thing to disk, or publish it via FTP, but it’ll take a patient and determined fledgling web designer to want to get this far. An application like Website X5 Evolution 9 might have been cutting edge in 2002, but it just doesn’t cut it in 2012, and the likes of Serif WebPlus X5 and Magix Website Maker 5 wipe the floor with it in every way.

Details

Price£39
Detailswww.websitex5.com
Rating**

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