Creating a website has never been easier. With an explosion of web design technologies, as well as a harmonizing of web standards by browser vendors, building a website is becoming much easier. Gone are the days when you’d have to spend hours tweaking your website to make it display uniformly across browsers.
You can use drag-and-drop functions to build a website from a number of templates (or themes in the case of WordPress). However, if you want to alter core attributes of a template, you have to alter the code. Basically, if you don’t know how to code, you can only express your creativity within a box.
Could PageCloud Disrupt Web Design?
PageCloud, wants to make it possible for anyone to be able to design websites on the fly regardless of how much coding experience they have. Users simply activate the PageCloud toolset in their browser and start editing the page they are on. This was one of the key features they presented at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in NY 2015.
With PageCloud, a web page in your browser becomes like a canvas. Using a combination of copy/paste and drag/drop, you can add or edit anything on the page. This includes photos, videos, text and even web widgets. You can also position them precisely where you want. This reduces the web design process into a wholly visual experience – without any need for coding.
What makes PageCloud unique is the range of integration that it offers. For starters, it offers full integration between its browser-based app and desktop apps like Photoshop. As such, you can copy layers from Photoshop and paste them directly onto the web page. As soon as you save, the content will be instantly visible to anyone who visits the page.
PageCloud also offers integration with other web content, which means you can import virtually anything from another website and instantly have it on your page. For instance, you can drag an album from iTunes and drop it onto the web page, and all the songs will be automatically uploaded. You can also drag photos from iPhoto and drop them onto a web page. You can also copy or drag web widgets from sites like EventBrite, Youtube, or any other site and it will embed itself on your page.
All of this drag and drop functionality basically eliminates the typical file-upload or FTP approach to getting content on the web. The platform handles all that in the background. You can even take an entire website, integrate it into PageCloud, and modify it to suit your purposes. In other words, if you find a site that you feel has a great layout, you can create a copy of it without having to deal with the hassle of figuring out all of the style elements the developer used to make it look that way.
And that is what PageCloud aims to achieve. Its founder and CEO Craig Fitzpatrick wants to bring a desktop publishing experience to the web. Rather than being constrained by a lack of web design skills, he wants anyone with content to be able to publish it on the web with ease. In an interview with Superbcrew, he said:
“It’s time that everyone with a computer to be able to create, publish and share content on the web, for personal or for business, with complete creative freedom.”
This “complete creative freedom” is the premise on which PageCloud is built. Its ultimate aim is to free would-be publishers from the hassle of learning how to code, or having to partner with someone who does. Mr. Fitzpatrick claims that – by eliminating not just coding, but also file uploads – PageCloud can reduce the time required to build a website by up to 75%.
However, PageCloud’s approach of “complete creative freedom” isn’t without its critics. Some established web designers observe (and rightly so) that the websites created on the platform aren’t responsive out of the box. To address this concern, PageCloud does provide an option for creating a mobile-friendly version of the website. However, this approach is a bit outdated as it requires you to maintain two versions of your site, which means double the work when making changes or updates. Also, mobile-version websites load more slowly than responsive ones because they require redirecting from the main site to the mobile-only version.
PageCloud is set to launch in the fall of 2015 and will surely have a far-reaching effect on the web design field when it does. Overall, the advantages of its platform greatly outweigh the drawbacks for mobile responsiveness, and the flexibility it offers will be a huge draw for amateur and professional web designers alike.
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Mandi Wiedemann says
I can see this being a great tool for some applications, but I personally like a hard coded website. I would think that security would be an issue here, first of all. If you are not worried about security, then SEO would be the next thing. I guess it is a good start to something bigger.
Agreed with NicholasJ, this will not get rid of traditional web design in the present. That could change with the advancement of technology though. What I’m saying is that right now, it’s a nice thing to play around with but I wouldn’t want to start a web based business around a pagecloud page. This is coming from someone who can’t code at all. It took me years to figure out wordpress and I still am an amateur at the platform. I have wanted to get a full screen header on my one theme for years and haven’t been able to figure it out. It wasn’t until this year that I finally figured it out and I still need to tweek it a little bit. If pagecloud can offer an SEO friendly package that is responsive, then I’d be more interested in looking into it.
This will surely ease the procedure for certain categories of users, but it cannot replace “traditional” web design in general. Overall, it is a nice concept that will help a lot of people.
How are they not baking in responsive design right out of the gate? That seems like a pretty big drawback to me and might be a bit downplayed in the conclusion?
Bit Logic says
Your reaction is totally on point and the subject of mobile responsiveness is something that certainly needs more clarification. The SnapMunk team is currently chatting with PageCloud to get some more details, which we will be able to share in a follow up to this article soon.