Great software that can produce quality results!
** Please note that I used this software on a PC with specs of; Windows 7 64-bit Operating System, Intel i7 960 3.2 GHz Processor, NVIDIA 580 GTX Graphics & 12GB RAM. **
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. For example: 1024×768                                                                                                            1920x1080 Whereas Xara Can’t: 1024×768                                                                                                            1920x1080 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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