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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    Default why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    okay - I know that title kinda says "ouch" - but, I could not think of any other way to word it so it would grab your attention. I'm not trying to be a jerk or to bash Xara. I have owned every version since 2.0 and use it ALL THE TIME to do my graphics and such. I even did a few websites with it and have a client right now who has a website in Xara.

    = PLEASE SET ASIDE YOUR PITCHFORK AND LET ME EXPLAIN = I would really like some honest feedback so I will hone my Xara skills again...

    So, I have 2-3 websites where the client knows about Xara and specifically asked me to do it with Xara so it will be "responsive" and work on mobile devices. This is true, but so will Wordpress.

    Anyway - I have been spending a lot of time with Wordpress recently and fallen in love with the fact that the "content" is separate from the "design" - this allows me to dump all the content in the site WHILE I'm thinking about the look. Then, I can start playing with themes and layouts. If the client (or I) hate it - BAM - I just swap in another template.

    I decided to redo my own website in Xara Pro X11 just to remind myself of the strengths of Xara. Yes, I can do pixel perfect design. Yes, if I had the idea in my head I could probably drag it out on the screen pretty darn fast. My "writer's block" is that in the back of my head I know I could spend hours messing with this and then not like the template - then what? I guess I could copy/paste all the content over to another design easy enough...

    I have a pretty good toolbox of Wordpress add-ons now (Beaver Builder, Layers Pro, Micro-themer, etc). It's hard to let go of those.

    Let's just take a simple example.

    I want to have a page that shows the four types of hosting that I do and what the prices / features are... in Wordpress there is a widget I just drag on the page and fill it with the specs. DONE.
    In Xara - I haven't seen that... so, I guess I can graphically design one...

    So, the question is - for those of you who regularly build websites with Xara -

    Why is it your chosen tool?
    Are your clients happy with the results?
    What happens a year later when they want a new look?
    Why did you NOT use Wordpress (or Wix, Weebly, etc etc etc)?

    Like I said - I'm looking for some honest feedback so I can get myself in a positive mindset to do these sites because my first gut reaction is to try and convince the clients why they should NOT use Xara and do it in Wordpress instead.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    Harwich, Essex, England
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    19,347

    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    Good question.

    I tended to use Joomla, rather than Wordpress. Reason: At the time Wordpress was seen as more Blog software whilst Joomla was more Website software. Not arguing the point, just stating the situation as I understood it at the time (6 years ago). I think either can do pretty much the same thing today.

    So why use a cms sytem?:

    Against: Hosting is normally more expensive.
    For/Against: Client can edit/amend content and equally cock it up.
    Against: Site is dependant on a template unless you use something like Artiseer to create your own.
    Against: Updates to the CMS software often require additional updates to the plug-ins that no longer function correctly in the new update.
    Against: Website tend to look like newspapers with nothing but columns.

    So basically I like CMS systems but they do tend to create additional work over time which it is hard to justify to the client.

    If Xara get up to speed with their dynamic content I'd be more than happy. They are almost there.
    Egg

    Intel i7 - 4790K Quad Core + 16GB Ram + 232 GB SSD + 250 GB SSD portable drive
    Xara Designer Pro X 16

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    Wichita Falls, Texas
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    I also went through the Joomla phase for the same reasons as you. When Wordpress evolved I switched because Joomla (at that time) was a bit more complicated to setup and design for.

    The client in question is pointing me to sites he likes and asking me to make those in Xara (since he has a copy of Web Designer). He is paying me to design it and then give him the files so he can edit and upload it as he wishes. So, he can definitely goof it up royally (as you say). I checked the sites he likes and they are built with Wordpress and have the standard modern bootstrap look and feel.

    So, my idea at this point is that I'm going to redesign MY OWN site first using Wordpress with a new piece of software called "Layers PRO" - www.layerswp.com and time myself on the following items.
    - time to build it
    - time to edit a page
    - time to add a page
    - time to edit the menu

    Then, I will use Xara to produce the exact same website in another folder and time myself on those same items.

    I think if the client was showing me something that I immediately looked at and said "how the hell am I going to do that in Wordpress" then I would reach for Xara... but, since they are coming to me and want a modern clean website that looks like all the other modern clean websites - and they want it fast and cheap... I'm probably going to reach for Wordpress.

    Also, I own the latest copy of Artisteer and quit using it because they have not updated it in years and the responsive never worked right. They have shifted focus to a new product called "Themler" which I found to be insanely confusing.

    If I ever needed to design my own Wordpress Themes again I think I would look at a product called "PineGrow" (www.pinegrow.com)

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Harwich, Essex, England
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    I can't argue with most of that WFC, but what I find interesting is your experiment re:

    - time to build it
    - time to edit a page
    - time to add a page
    - time to edit the menu

    Above all that I'd add, as a designer, what is the most effective, pleasing, simplest software to work within? ie can you work in a intuitive software that delivers the same requirement as your client requires? Boiling it all down to "time to" is short sited.

    I really appreciate Xara's wysiwyg environment. I haven't found many other software titles that can do this. That's why I've moved away from CMS.

    I agree re Artisteer, but as I'm no longer activly using CMS the lack of updates doesn't bother me now.
    Egg

    Intel i7 - 4790K Quad Core + 16GB Ram + 232 GB SSD + 250 GB SSD portable drive
    Xara Designer Pro X 16

  5. #5
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    Aug 2000
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    Placitas, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    wfcentral

    When I was asked to art direct and product a paperback book for a client, and then later a paperback book for my wife, my first thought was Adobe InDesign. My second thought was Serif Page Plus, both which are better suited for large document publishing projects.

    But as I use Designer Pro X every day, I decided to work with what I know. I had to create a few work arounds, page numbering, no master pages, and one or two others, but for the most part everything went smoothly, and both books have won publishing awards, one for best cover design with an illustration I created in DPX.

    So, there is something to be said for the learning curve vs working with what you have already learned.

    Just my 2 cents of course.
    Gary W. Priester
    Mr. Moderator Emeritus Dude
    , Sir

    gwpriester.com | Custom-Stereograms.com | eyeTricks on Facebook






  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    Wichita Falls, Texas
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Egg Bramhill View Post
    I can't argue with most of that WFC, but what I find interesting is your experiment re:
    Above all that I'd add, as a designer, what is the most effective, pleasing, simplest software to work within? ie can you work in a intuitive software that delivers the same requirement as your client requires? Boiling it all down to "time to" is short sited.
    I guess the reason that I decided to use "time" as my measurement was this.

    - if I was solely basing it on "creative expression" then Xara would win hands down
    - what I'm basing it on is the ability to create "industry standard websites" with "features the client sees on other sites" in a timeframe where they don't spend a ton of money

    So, for me I'm looking at it like this - (DISCLAIMER: all numbers and dollars below are fictional and not accurate)

    If a client comes to me with $500 and wants a wiz-bang website and they have a list of features they want
    - slider
    - calendar
    - photo gallery
    - testimonials
    - 5 pages of content

    I could pull that off in Wordpress pretty easy and everyone would be happy.

    If I try to do the same in Xara the workflow is different... sure, if they can pick from one of Xara's ready to go templates and I just drop in the content I can probably get where we need to be - but --- as soon as they say "can you make the menu buttons rounded instead of square" then I'm screwed... why?

    Because in Xara that means one of two things...

    a. I pull in a new menu that has the look they want and then manually re-enter all the text and links
    b. I try to explode and edit the look of the existing menu and then re-group it all back together

    That can really eat up some time. Compared to Wordpress where I go with a page builder theme and when they don't like a menu I can add the Micro-themer plug-in that I own, double-click on the menu and tweak the look dynamically right in front of their eyes without having to change any of the text/links/etc.

    Again - I'm not trying to stick a fork in Xara and say "it's done" - I'm trying to find some insights that will cause me to keep Xara in my web design toolbox. As it sits right now I've only been using it to generate graphics (not websites).

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    Gary, thanks for chiming in.

    I do agree with you - I don't even OWN any Adobe products. Xara has ALWAYS been my go to tool for creating anything that I need in the graphics department. Whether it be a logo, a newsletter, a diagram, an illustration, etc, etc.

    I was also THRILLED when they first announced it would do a website. I thought my prayers had been answered.

    Then, I tried to use it in the real world and kept banging my head.

    Consider these...

    1. you don't tell the client you are using Xara for their website. Why? because it is guaranteed they have never heard of Xara and as soon as you say it or try to explain it you come off as some guy who is not following standards and is reinventing the wheel. If I went to a guy to get a new tire for my car and instead he told me he was going to put a TYRLL on my car I would flip out.

    2. It doesn't matter how creatively easy Xara is... at the end of the day, no matter what you create - when the client wants changes you need to be able to do that in a fair amount of time. If they want a different menu, layout and color scheme using Xara is going to add hours onto the project instead of minutes.

    Ultimately, I see it that there are two main issues that I have to overcome with Xara.

    A. The content in Xara is placed there manually. Meaning that if a significant revision to the look is needed I have two options
    - find a better template / design a better template and CUT PASTE THE CONTENT OVER
    - rework the existing template while leaving the content in place (this could basically be like saying I want a different color coat so I'm going to unstitch this one, swap in new fabrics and stitch it all back together using the same string...

    B. Site management - being able to pull out my phone while standing in a shopping line and fix the typo on page 5 of a clients website is incredible. Having to tell a client that I can't fix something until I get back in town because my laptop has the software that I need on it and I don't have that with me right now is not incredible.
    Robert Steflik
    www.wfcentral.com
    ASUS Laptop / Windows 10 ---- Xara Designer Pro X11 ---- Xara owner since version 1.0

  8. #8
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    Placitas, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    Yeah, I hear you. FWIW I studied adverting at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in the 60s. I worked in advertising as an art director for 15 years in LA and San Francisco, and I had a graphic design company in San Francisco for 12 years.

    Since going out on my own, I have never had a client ask what software I use. I have had clients have issues with the creative product but never with the software.

    Maybe I am lucky.

    There is a CMS solution from Xtom, a Xara user in Ireland that can be used to make updates from a computer, not sure about a mobile device. Here's a link to one of his posts, his solutions are at the bottom of the page https://www.talkgraphics.com/showthr...eak&highlight=
    Gary W. Priester
    Mr. Moderator Emeritus Dude
    , Sir

    gwpriester.com | Custom-Stereograms.com | eyeTricks on Facebook






  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    2,398

    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    Quote Originally Posted by wfcentral View Post
    If a client comes to me with $500 and wants a wiz-bang website and they have a list of features they want
    - slider
    - calendar
    - photo gallery
    - testimonials
    - 5 pages of content.
    I would not even touch a website that the budget is $500. You will find that those cheap clients will want more features for cheap later on. My wealthy clients are not in it for all that jazz but rather for results and know what value base pricing is. I guess your talking about the lower end market. If so why are you so worried about providing them the latest or the best with that kind of cheap budget?
    www.designfacet.com
    Owner/Creative Director at DesignFacet

    Xara Designer Pro



  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Wichita Falls, Texas
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    Default Re: why Xara? isn't Wordpress better / easier ?

    Quote Originally Posted by behzad View Post
    I would not even touch a website that the budget is $500. You will find that those cheap clients will want more features for cheap later on. My wealthy clients are not in it for all that jazz but rather for results and know what value base pricing is. I guess your talking about the lower end market. If so why are you so worried about providing them the latest or the best with that kind of cheap budget?
    you missed the part where I said "(DISCLAIMER: all numbers and dollars below are fictional and not accurate)"

    - I purposely put in a fake dollar amount because I did not want this to be a discussion about how much to charge for a website... I wanted it to be about which tool to use. So, I guess I should have just left the $500 out of the sentence.
    Robert Steflik
    www.wfcentral.com
    ASUS Laptop / Windows 10 ---- Xara Designer Pro X11 ---- Xara owner since version 1.0

 

 

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