Web design nowadays doesn’t have to be a mass of complicated coding and endless head scratching. In fact, there are plenty of tools out there that allow even the most novice of people to throw together a fairly decent website without too much effort. One of those that we are going to be looking at is Edicy however this one comes with a slight twist – it is designed with multilingual websites in mind, making creating twenty different versions of your site an easy task.
Read on after the break for my thoughts.
Although English is the dominating language on the Internet nowadays, websites do have to service the needs of all their global visitors and they do this by creating localised versions of their website. Go to Microsoft’s home page and click the language setting in the top-right hand corner and see how many different countries, regions and languages pop up. Edicy aims to do this even without any input your visitors – visitors are automatically directed to their local version of the page.
Edicy is free for basic users and gives you 100 MB of storage and 2 users (along with a generic web address in the form of yourusername.edicy.co). A Pro account (which starts from $9 monthly) comes with a massive 5 GB of storage, unlimited users, any domain you choose and a load of other features (which we’ll look at in a bit).
Designing Your Website
Edicy emphasises simplicity when it comes to designing your own website and one of my favourite features is its drag-and-drop interface, which is perfect for people who are absolutely clueless about web design (like your dear author, for example!). Almost any kind of content can be dragged and dropped into Edicy, including text, forms, photos, galleries and so on.
One of the nice features I like about Edicy is the fact that you can manipulate images directly from within the app so you don’t have to fire up an external image editor to scale, crop or rotate any image you drag into Edicy. Of course, it’s no Photoshop but it is a nice little touch and does help you save a bit of time in the long run.
Working and editing text is really nice and easy as well thanks to the wide range of built-in tools and features. You’ve got most standard text editing features as well as the ability to add images, videos, maps, tables and HTML code and editing is really easy and nothing different compared to your standard text editor. One thing that really struck me whilst reviewing Edicy was how little it felt like a web app and more like a native program on my Mac, making the entire user experience a lot more pleasant.
Customising Your Website
You can add new pages to your Edicy website by clicking on the ADD + button in the top-left hand side of the screen. There are three basic page designs to choose from: a front page, a common page and a blog page. Of course you can change the layout of each page (and, because it’s Edicy you can drag and drop everything!), allowing you to create a website to suit your own tastes.
Edicy has a wide range of themes built-in (which are, curiously enough, named after world cities) and if you subscribe to a Pro account then you can import your own custom designs and WordPress themes straight into the app. With the free version, you are unfortunately limited to the ones that Edicy provides you however there is a wide range to choose from (and all of them look sleek and professionally-designed) so you’ll surely find something there to suit your tastes.
Edicy is designed to help you create multilingual websites with ease and to create a version of one of your pages in a different language, simply click on the ADD + button next to the ENG button in the top-right hand corner of the screen. You will be asked to select the language of your new page(s) – and there are plenty to choose between, from Afar to Western Frisian – and the language title in your site’s menu (if you wanted to follow Edicy‘s design, you could name French as FRA, German as GER/DEU and so on).
Edicy unfortunately won’t translate your website for you (that’s the hard part, I’m afraid!) but it does make it a lot easier to create multiple versions by simply duplicating your website and giving it a new subdomain (the German version of mine, for example, is jamesc.edicy.co/de), so you can start working on it straight away.
Translated pages stay within your site’s structure and visitors are automatically directed to the page that most suits their country (as long as a translated version for that country exists!), avoiding the need to manually select their appropriate language upon visiting your page for the first time.
Bits and Bobs
There are a couple of other nifty little features about Edicy that really stood out to me whilst I was reviewing it and also emphasised it as a really great and simple website designer. The app has built-in statistics which summarises every visit to your site on a graph and a map, showing precisely how many visitors you had for that particular day as well as where they are based in the world.
The Pro version of Edicy comes with Google PageRank support and Alexa traffic data. There is also integration with Google Analytics through the app’s API (application programming interface), and this API is also open-design, allowing easy integration with third-party software, which is something worthwhile considering if you are planning on using Edicy in the long run.
Edicy may well be Estonia’s hottest tech company at the moment and judging by the simplicity of their program and its ease of use, I think this little group of people may well be going somewhere in the near future. I was really impressed with Edicy and its feature set – it really does emphasise what web-based website designers should be about: simplicity, ease-of-use and, probably most of all, they have to be fun to use.
Sure, you could do more advanced web design elsewhere but surely for this you’d splash out on an application such as Coda or even Dreamweaver, right? For web-based website design, you’d be hard-pushed to find something better and the app highly deserves (and should be proud of) our prestigious 9 out of 10 rating.