For designers, bloggers or anyone searching for easy-to-use, yet incredibly sophisticated website creation and hosting, a solution may be in sight. Last Friday Squarespace officially announced the release of Squarespace 6, an extensive overhaul of their previous platform, which adds 50 new features to their core service sure to please even the finickiest critic. Counted among the new features are a highly intuitive, drag n’ drop site-building interface called LayoutEngine which dynamically aligns and resizes content to a perfect grid, social network integration, a new blogging engine that supports easy importing from major blog platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous, Blogger and Squarespace 5 and built in analytics. A demo video can be viewed here.
There are also 20 new fully customizable templates which users can use “as is” or as a starting point for their own designs. Clearly the minds behind the new release took a comprehensive approach when considering what to include in Squarespace 6, which is chock full of goodies that seem plucked right off a user wish list. We asked Squarespace, “What role user feedback played in the redesign and selecting new features to implement?”
Seine Kim, PR & Communications Manager, Squarespace replied “User feedback played a very active role in the development of Squarespace 6. We culled user feedback from a customer survey as well as from our support team, who interact with Squarespace users 24 hours a day/7 days a week. As a website creation platform that’s been in existence since 2004, we have a deep understanding of the space itself—but the user feedback was very helpful in augmenting that knowledge.”
Features I found most exciting were the automatic layout adjustment for mobile viewing on smart phones and tablets addressing the challenge of designing for various screen sizes and resolutions, Facebook page publishing feature allowing users to seamlessly publish any page or gallery from their Squarespace site directly to Facebook and content syncing from Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, and Dropbox.
Next we asked which features Kim thought users would be most excited about, she said, “Certainly the LayoutEngine—it’s the heart of Squarespace 6. LayoutEngine is a revolutionary new page building technology that allows anyone to create graphically rich, magazine-quality page layouts within the browser that can scale to any screen size. Traditionally, these designs required a high level of programming experience and design expertise—but now, with Squarespace 6, anyone can drag and drop content blocks to create visually engaging content.” Another especially attractive feature for designers are the galleries with built in editing tools.
In response to a question about developers and code savvy folks who want to add or edit code Kim replied “Users on Squarespace 6 can currently add code blocks, use code injection points in the settings, and add your own CSS in the style editor. The developer kit, which will be announced in the coming months, was used to create every website on our platform (including our homepage and templates) will enable developers to control every single line of HTML on a Squarespace site.”
Readers can find a full tour of Squarespace 6 and 14-day free trial on squarespace.com