Designed to make Web design a little easier for novices, Xara's 9 Premium Web designer features a DTP-like, friendly interface and an array of widgets, free buttons and many more design elements.
Starting off with a sample project to make sure users get used to the product's features, Web Designer 9 features a large, modern and simple work space, which supports tabs to enable working on several projects at the same time.
On the right of the screen, users will find galleries featuring an array of fills, lines, designs and elements, as well as layer and page navigators. Users can load one of more than 60 available Web themes with modern, clean designs; add text, photos, headings and a variety of graphical elements, and there are also options to add pop-ups and other advanced features.
Users can, by the way, also change the look of the provided themes. Made simple by an extensive set of tools, users can, for example, change a theme's colour. Style and colour of other elements are subsequently changed automatically, ensuring that everything, including elements added after the change, will fit perfectly into the overall design and is displayed in the correct colours.
Even users with the confidence to start with a blank page, as opposed to choosing a theme, will find their pages take shape quickly and easily. Photos and other graphical elements can be customised easily, and elements repeating across all pages will automatically be updated. Most graphic and multi-media elements can be added by dragging them into place and can be customised through varying setting options. Interactive slideshows, photo frames and other more complex elements are a little more limited in customising options, but most widgets are well up-to-date and typically designed pretty nice.
Buttons and widgets for social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and so on, are also available, as are e-commerce widgets, including Google Checkout, PayPal and others.
There are a couple of drawbacks. Preview thumbnails, for instance are quite small and can make previewing things somewhat difficult. Small screens often require resizing in order to see everything on the screen, and page hierarchies are not shown, which can make things a little confusing.
As a whole, however, Web Designer 9 is certainly a great WYSIWYG web editor worth looking into. Offering user-friendly and powerful features, modern templates and more, it is easy to learn and allows even beginners to create comparatively complex, sophisticated pages. If it offered a decent hierarchy editor and better mobile site support, it would be almost perfect.