Ever since I heard and read about the Pathfinder assignment for ETL 501- Information Environment, I have been scratching my head as to what online ‘host site’ would be the most appropriate, the easiest to use and the most visually interesting. I have finally settled on Yola but below I have evaluated a couple of different sites and what I thought of them.
Free to join and a good range of free design templates to play with. What I really like about the templates is that I can use my photoshop skills to design the banner across the top of the page.
Adding content to the page is very simple. You select a ‘container’ from the list on the right of the page and drop the container onto the page where you want it. There are ‘containers’ for text, video, images, gadgets and widgets. I really like the ability to put in custom embed code so it can accomodate widgets that are not part of it’s gallery. Another advantage is that the site stays private until I send it live but that is also a disadvantage in that I can’t share a draft of the site with colleagues so that I can collaborate with them or get their input into improving the site.
What I don’t like about the site is that you can’t change page fonts and colours. This caused an issue when I uploaded my custom banner and you could not read the name of the page because it was white. It really needs to allow the designer to choose from a small range of web friendly colours.
I spent a lot of time this past week playing with wikispaces for a workshop I was facilitating and discovered that the site does allow you to add embedded widgets such as shelfari. You do get more editing ability with the fonts but unless you have the right kind of subscription and a knowledge of CSS scripting with wikispaces you can’t customise the background templates.
Google sites is very similar to Yola in that the user can drag and drop content ‘containers’ onto a website template. It also has similar abilities in the way widgets and gadgets can be embedded. The reason why I did not persue my use of google sites was that I wanted to develop a pathfinder that was not blocked by the government web filtering service and also end up with an easy to type URL for students.