Xara Web Designer 365: Conversation with Nova Fisher

Friday, May 27, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST



Nova FisherNova Fisher has worked within communications with Xara for over 15 years. She has previously founded and managed some successful early-to-market businesses including an internet service provider (ISP) which was founded in 1994, and the creation of one of the earliest online web authoring solutions in 1996, that enabled anyone to create a professional website without the need for any design or technical skills.

In this interview, Nova talks about the new Xara Web Designer 365 product.

Geetesh: Nova, can you tell us more about Xara Web Designer 365, and who can use Web Designer 365 and benefit from its use?

Nova: Xara Web Designer is an ideal choice for novices as well as professional designers, in fact, anyone wanting a high-quality website, without the need to know HTML coding, scripting or the usual technical jargon. The websites produced are compatible with all modern mobile and desktop browsers.

For commercial designers, the cloud-based editor, Xara Online Designer, that’s included gives controlled editing rights to their clients, allowing them to edit text and replace images and update their website, without needing to own or know anything about Web Designer (most small business owners have neither the time or inclination to learn web design).

Geetesh: Can you share what is new in this release of Xara Web Designer?

Nova: With the new Xara Web Designer 365 comes an Update Guarantee and 365 days free hosting and access to Xara Online Designer. Xara’s Update Guarantee means that users will no longer have to wait a year between releases to access new features and content. Users will have access to new features and content as Xara develops them, at any time during the year after their purchase.

The new release adds parallax scrolling, 30 other types of scroll animation, plus 40 new ‘on reveal’ animation types. The popular ‘sticky’ feature has also been enhanced so that items such as NavBars will stick to the top of the window when scrolling the page up.

Xara has also evolved its unique Xara SmartShapes concept to include more complex objects such as smart charts and photo grids. A SmartShape API will soon be available to third parties enabling developers to add new enhancements to Xara Web Designer. Those JavaScript SmartShape plug-ins will work with both the desktop Xara Web Designer and Xara Online Designer.

There are two new types of photo grids. ‘Static’ Photo Grids are simple, fixed, visually attractive grids of photos onto which users can drag & drop their own photo. ‘Smart’ Photo Grids smartly resize to fill the rectangles as photos are added or deleted, and users can swap the positions of the photos, adjust the number of rows and columns and the border / gap between all the photos.

The photo editing tools have also been enhanced, with a new ultra-easy way to rotate, scale / pan and crop – great for horizon straightening!

Another addition recognises the popular trend of incorporating simple vector graphic symbols into websites, such as social media symbols, shopping cart or credit card symbols. The existing Font Awesome symbol collection has been supplemented with Google’s Material Design icons, providing integrated access to more than 1500 high-quality, professionally designed vector icons. And to find a symbol, there’s a new easy search function. The Xara Web Designer symbols can be inserted as editable vector graphics, or inserted inline into text as a font (where they are automatically placed in a subset of symbols used, converted to WOFF and included in the website HTML).

Xara Web Designer includes the cloud-based editor, Xara Online Designer. This gives Web Designer owners the flexibility to edit their Web Designer sites in a browser, from anywhere and with any device and sync their files with Dropbox, Google GDrive and Microsoft OneDrive. Xara Online Designer is still in beta but evolving rapidly with planned enhancements (which will be released under the 365 Update Guarantee) including more editing controls such as colour, transparency, stack order, smart snap and SmartShapes.

The combination of Web Designer and Online Designer means that Web Designer customers have the unique ability to edit their document both offline or online. Furthermore, it gives commercial designers using Web Designer the option to enable their clients to update their own website to edit text and replace photos. Client access is free.

See Also: Xara Product Reviews on Indezine

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