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When it comes to making your own website, it can be a really daunting experience as there are so many different software's available on the market, some which require you to have a decent knowledge of HTML, some that don't, but there's also the other main question; "is it user friendly?", to get straight to the point, this software doesn't require you to have any HTML knowledge as you build your website with tools that are similar to paint/photoshop and the software does the HTML code writing for you, this makes it extremely user friendly.

This version of Xara's web designer is `version 8', previously I had used `version 7' and can say it's pretty much the same handling, but with extra/improved features and usability, as I actually started with `version 7' as a "Newbie", I can assure you, if you give some of your time to this software and give yourself a chance to get used to the tools, you will produce some great results.

Even with the new features & upgrades I still stick to my opinion that this web designer is NOT suitable for big companies and businesses, reason is although it features a lot of tools/options, it still doesn't compare to what more expensive software's such as Dreamweaver have to offer, however when it comes to personal websites and small businesses, I think this software is hard to beat.

My main tip when it comes to those who are new to this software would be not to jump straight in trying to make a website, I would advise playing around with the tools on a blank page whilst now and then going to "File" - "Preview web page", this will allow you to see how things would look if it were to be published. Also explore the pre-made layouts which can be selected by going to `Design gallery'(located on a bar to the far right side) then `Website Template Themes', there are loads to choose from and will give you a really good idea on how you can do your website, or you could just use the template!

One feature that I would really like this software to have is the ability to make your website "fit screen". You will notice that when you visit websites such as Amazon or Google, it doesn't matter if your on a computer with a screen resolution of 1280x800 or 1920x1080, it will always fill your page.

However, if you follow some basic rules, whether the persons screen resolution is small or large, they will still be able to view your website clearly:
* The most popular screen resolution (stats based from January-March 2012) is 1024x768 & 1366x768, however I personally use 955x700 as a base template and then expand if needed.
* Use font sizes no smaller than 10 point. On my web pages I normally use font sizes of 11, 12 & 14 as these look good on 1920x1080 res screens, whilst not being too big on the smaller ones.
* Use simple text fonts for main texts, most popular are; Microsoft Sans Serif, Arial, Verdana, Comic Sans MS & Tahoma, this is to ensure people can clearly read your website.

There have been some small issue's I have came across whilst building my website, however they are normally things you can easily resolve; one being is when embedding YouTube videos, you use the `Designs gallery' tab followed by `Page Elements' - `Audio/Video (widgets) - drag the `YouTube' widget onto your page, once done you need to find the video you want and click on "share" then "embed", you will then be provided with an HTML code which you need to highlight & copy before clicking "insert". The problem is once it's on your page, you can't resize it to a smaller size without it cutting video and when you make it "bigger", it actually stays the same size by the width and height stated when embedding it, so the best way is to adjust the size in the html code before copying and inserting it.

The main problem I had ran into was when optimizing images(a very important option to keep your website at low memory usage), it would turn transparent `.png' files background into a solid white, I had reported this to the support team and the next update that came out resolved this issue, this shows that Xara's software team are updating issues and are gradually ironing out the small bugs that exist.

On another good note, just like the previous version, it's extremely easy to upload your website, though you will need a web-hosting service to do so.

There are many web-hostings available, personally I use MAGIX as they offer free storage space of up to 500MB, though you will need to register your own domain name if you would like a ".co.uk" or ".com" name rather than ".magix", this will cost you 99p a month with a start up fee of £10 (small print), you can go for more expensive packages which give you more web space and other features.

When uploading your website, you will need to "Export website" before publishing, once done go to "Publish website" and type in your FTP host address, username & password, it's really that easy! #NOTE: The FTP address can be found(if using the Magix hosting site) by going to the control centre.

Overall it's a great web designer package and would recommend it!
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had wanted to have a go at building a website for my small business for a while. Nothing fancy mind, just something which has a few pictures, details about the company & contact details. Had a quote from a couple of web designers & the cost was simply crazy. That's why I got this - and I am so glad that I did.
This is a very easy to use software package that will allow you to have your very own website up-and-running in a very short time. You don't have to be a professional website designer to use it as it has very straightforward instruction using simple language that even I could follow. It has several templates & I found one that was perfect for what I wanted. After messing around with the various options for a few days, I had a website. I really couldn't believe that I was capable & I am delighted with how it looks. I don't think anyone would know that I designed it myself as a complete novice. Really happy with this package. Great value compared with using a web design company.
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VINE VOICEon 17 April 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like this software quite a lot. It is aimed more at a novice market and in some respects that makes things nice and easy to use, with a range of templates which can be manipulated as required.

You can start from scratch but with the basis of a decent website readily available and easy to customise there seems little value. The tools available are a touch basic but perfectly acceptable and useful (photo sharpner, red eye removal, free hand drawing, text, etc). There are media streaming tools, photo galleries tools - really quite good for the money.

One thing that may be useful is to invest in some more of the Magix templates, there aren't a huge number available but still, to begin with there should be enough to keep you going.

I love this type of software. It brings the power of the web into the homes of almost all and gives them a chance to create their own web-page - whether this be for a small business or not doesn't matter - the fact that for a small outlay you can have this capability (and without have to understand code such as HTML) is fantastic. It truly liberates everyone that wishes to use the web as a medium. This software is really easy to use too. It gives tips, has a good help function and isn't overly complicated. If feels polished, professional but doesn't intimidate. A very good piece of software for the outlay.
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on 2 December 2013
The software is fairly easy to manipulate though one of the frustrating things I found was dragging a photo onto a template which has a ' rollover' effect, and the annoying thing is that when you view it in the browser it displays the original template photo. Now I find I have to learn about layers which, after attempting this in a more professional web design software, I wanted to avoid. You probably guessed by now I'm not a pro and choose the simple way to design a web site, which is why I looked for something with a simple ' drag and drop'. Another frustrating thing is when you look at other templates that look more professional, you are offerd these at a price. This is a wee bit disappointing as I thought this software would be a bit more than a 'carrot dangler'.
If you are a bit more web design savvy than my self then this sofware will be good for the price, for me its back to the frustrating learning of the dreaded layers and this why I only give it three stars.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am not a computer buff nor am I a novice but I do like to write my own web sites as a hobby. SHTML. XHTML, CSS etc., are quite difficult to understand unless you have had training or taught yourself.

I can only compare this software with NetObjects Fusion V through to X or to Hot Dog Pro which are all easily converted/altered. These are similar web sit editors I have used in the past.

The templates supplied with this software are I think mostly directed at Home/Business as I checked the Magix web site for medical templates and found none. I agree it is easy to get a web site up and running quickly and easily either for the novice or the more experienced computer user. Every object, text, image or multimedia file or image is easily converted into the pages you produce. The S.E.O., (Seach Engine Optimisation).

This software is a must have for anyone thinking of writing/editing their own web site. The more descriptions and keywords used will bring in many more visitors to your site. Once your site is written, uploading is easy via your own ISP but check how much web space you are allowed before uploading as some multimedia files and images use up a lot of space.

Try this software, you won't regret purchasing it.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am no computer expert but have a good basic udnerstanding of home to make one work. I cannot compare this with any other software of a similar type as I have neve rused such software before. I wanted user friendly software which would produce a web site for a small business. I wanted a basic and easy to use software. I was given this. It loaded quickly. It took some time to get used to it and all the features. It had good templates for design, 3d effects which look great, animation and others features which can make a web site look 'professional'. I managed to produce a fairly decent web site over a weekend. I am sure I can do better with practice and I am already working on improving it. I can't give you any real technical informaiton about the use of this product. Sorry. What i can say is that i found it fairly straightforward to use. It does what it says on the box and those with fairly basic computer skills can produce pretty good results fairly easily. I did! It saved me a thousand pounds or more in getting a web designer to do a site for the business.......I think the results are probably as good.........money saved, money well spent and satisfaction at doing it myself. Good software. Good value for money. Recommended.
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on 15 August 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Web Designer is a great and feature-packed tool for anyone who wants to create a good-looking, professional website without having to learn HTML or hire a web designer. The graphics editor tools inside Web Designer are worth the price alone, allowing you to do so many things with your images. I was very impressed with how easy it was to create and manage a fancy design with little or no knowledge of any of the background programming.

This makes Web Designer ideal for small business owners who want to maintain their own website but don't have time to learn HTML or the money to hire a professional designer. It's completely intuitive to use and the introductory pages walk you through everything from modifying text to adding videos and maps to your pages.

The real fun with Web Designer is the widgets. You can add all sorts of things to your web pages quickly and easily. This version adds the ability to add charts with DHTML and SVG graphics to make them interactive. Other useful widgets include a new QR code widget, favicon creator (Premium only), photo slider, and more.

While Web Designer might be annoying for people who want to learn HTML or CSS or for web designers who are used to having more control over their code, it is a fun tool for newcomers to use and it has enough professional features to ensure that small businesses won't suffer at all either. If your needs are basic, though, keep in mind that Xara also produces a standard Web Designer MX edition. This drops a lot of the Premium edition's features - presentations, animations, Live Effects/Photoshop plugin support, HTML5 video, the chart widget and a lot of content, amongst others - but it's half the price, and could be a more sensible choice if you just need to create a straightforward personal site.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In October 2011 I reviewed the predecessor to this package, Web Designer Premium 7, so now having had the opportunity to completely redesign my business website with this new package I can offer a new opinion.

First of all, it is a single solution to designing and getting a website up and running. If you are a novice at this it can be done with guidance but it may take you sometime to get it right. If you have existing computer skills and an understanding of website terminology it may be more straight forward for you.

It differs from the previous package in a number of ways. For instance there are many improvements, text flow round graphics, new fonts, image optimisation, video play and e-commerce features and finally browser preview windows.

In a nutshell, it has been tweaked, is a little more developed and feels a lot quicker to use. There are a few new features, animated effects, embedding of websites, scaling, more interactive with images and integrated online shops. It is much more polished than the previous version.

It took me six days to redesign my website and get it up and running. I was able to copy over most of the background code for Google analytics, install links and begin optimising the site using information from the previous versions designs. This was a huge bonus and time saver for me.

The design can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but Xara can make short work of it if you follow the instructions and help guides. Xara will even host it for you if you don't already have a hosting company. There is no coding involved because it is a drag and drop design package. That makes it fairly straight forward.

It is as useful for designing a family site as it is for a business site. However you should be aware that it will take a significant amount of your time. The program allows you to design a very professional website; it can save you a significant amount of money. The cost savings will of course be offset by the time you will need to put into it. Once up and running you will only need to tweak it once in a while by maybe adding to it, changing a few news items or changing the images.

Tweaking the site is especially easy once all the basics have been set up.

With effort it can put professionally developed sites to shame. It is versatile, extremely well featured and definitely value for money. Is it worth the upgrade on the previous version, I would say a resounding yes because it has been significantly polished and updated. That is also why I have awarded it with five stars compared to the four stars I gave to the previous version.

PROS
Not difficult to get to grips with.
Plenty of Templates or design your own if you want to.
No coding involved.
A polished program.
Value for money.
Could save you a lot of money.

CONS
Not that `simple' for the novice.
Some computer literacy would be beneficial.
Initially it might take up a bit of your time.

If you require a more complex site with Google Analytics and SEO then these are things you will have to research yourself and bring into the program, which it is designed to do and easily done.
Finally, if you are a novice and about to embark on building your site I'd advise you to do some research into what you need to do in addition to using this package.

I have reviewed some decent guides in the last year why not take a look. My own business website designed using this package benefited from a bit of research and it is working very well for me.
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you are a non-technical user who aspires to create websites the quick and painless way, you're in luck - Web Designer MX Premium is just what you need. If you're a more experienced web designer, this program - with its greater functionality than similar products - still might appeal.

Ease of use is definitely the emphasis of Web Designer. The Designs Gallery offers 40 templates. Most are visually attractive and are multi-pages with built-in navigation which means that at a click of a button you will have a working website.

Customising content is easy. For example, to replace the text, you just click in the text area and type away. To replace an image, right click on an image and choose "Replace" to insert your own photo. You can also drag and drop a new colour scheme if the default one doesn't take your fancy.

The Design Gallery includes a comprehensive collection of clipart.

If you are feeling particularly creative (or brave!) you can start a website from scratch.

Web Designer supports widgets, which are essentially ready-to-use mini-programs that you can insert in the web page to add interactivity. Examples of widgets include media players, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter gadgets, chatrooms, and so on.

Web Designer is a good balance of features to keep experienced designers content but it is still "basic" enough for beginners. Give it a try!
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a keen hobbyist and creator of websites for others as part of my marketing company, I use web-design software daily and am familiar with many home-user packages.

Magix Web Designer MX Premium 8 is based on a `building block' concept whereby the user selects a template then drags headings, photo layouts, buttons and other graphics onto a page or complete page layout templates can be used. This gives the complete novice the option of simply entering their own text and photos onto a template or the templates can be completely re-arranged and customised as needed - and it's quick and easy to do this with absolutely no prior experience. Text can be set to flow around graphics using a desk-top publishing approach. Then, if the template colours aren't quite to your taste - they can be simply adjusted or changed completely the give the site a completely different appearance. Creating pages this way, altering layouts and changing colours can be done in a matter of minutes. Images can be edited and adjusted and animations created and added. The websites produced look professional and the templates supplied attractive and tasteful (unlike some of the `cheap' or `tacky' templates provided by budget packages).

Uploading is quick and easy too - and if you don't already have your own domain or hosting package then Magix includes a coupon offering a free domain for a year (.com, .co.uk extension etc) although be aware that a `one-time set-up fee' of Euro 9.99 is charged - which isn't quite so `free' after all. It might be cheaper to buy and register your domain elsewhere...

Using the more advanced features of the package, such as online shopping, will require some time-investment for the user to find their way around, but it's time well-spent because MX Premium 8 offers a lot of features which aren't immediately apparent and a helpful, but basic, user-guide is included. Having used and reviewed Magix Xtreme Web Designer 5 (PC CD), I have to say I didn't find version 8 quite as intuitive but it is a much more powerful package and is fun to use creatively once you're familiar with it.

Used to its full, Magix offers everything any home-user or small business is ever likely to need ranging from online shopping with eBay, Amazon and PayPal integration, search engine optimisation to help the site be found by search engines, ability to include graphs, video playing (including the new HTLM5) and the sites will also display correctly on most mobile phones.

Overall, it's a very good package, very flexible, fully customisable and completely stable. A novice will be able to produce and upload a very attractive and professional-looking site, including text, pics, video and files to download, with ease and in very little time while a more advanced user will enjoy its flexibility to be creative to produce exactly the site required without the confines of having to work with over-restrictive templates.
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