Blog Post

Wix: A Free Flash Web Site Builder


Wix — founded in New York by ex-venture capitalist, Allon Bloch — offers users the ability to create a free, SEO-friendly, Flash-based (s adbe) web site using only drag-and-drop tools. I’m surprised I hadn’t come across Wix before, as according to the company’s PR, more than 500,000 users are actively using the service, a fifth of whom joined from the UK just last month.

Wix appears to be targeting professionals in various industries who want to set up a glossy site very quickly. The directory of published sites ranges from photographers, stylists, designers and actors to real estate companies, bands and arts sites.

What’s particularly notable about Wix isn’t the Flash-based authoring tools, but the ability to publish “widgetized” versions of your site to MySpace and Facebook, as well as publishing to online marketplaces such as Etsy, Craigslist and eBay. Handily, Paypal and Google Analytics integration is also included.

As much as I’m impressed by Wix’s ease of use, integration with third-party services and widget-publishing tools, I don’t accept that a Flash-based site is superior to HTML. To quote usability guru Jakob Nielson:

Although multimedia has its role on the Web, current Flash technology tends to discourage usability for three reasons: it makes bad design more likely, it breaks with the Web’s fundamental interaction style, and it consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site’s core value.

As pretty as many Wix-powered sites are, they don’t contain anything that couldn’t be produced using HTML and CSS. Flash has its place as a video and animation tool, and to some extent as an interactivity mechanism.

Wixs assert that the thousands usually spent on producing a Flash-based site can be reduced to a hundred dollars or so using a premium Wix account. It’s not difficult to see the appeal of Wix to anyone lacking the skills to produce Flash-based sites, or indeed to professional designers using the service to produce low-end sites for clients.

What do you think? Is Flash a good substitute for general site design?

18 Responses to “Wix: A Free Flash Web Site Builder”

  1. Peter Majorska

    The problem with Wix is that Apple doesnt like Flash. And seeing as Wix is only Flash that means Apple doesnt support it. And seeing as Apple is arguably on of the most powerful forces in regards to browsing the net, that’s an issue. I used Wix and I liked it until I found out that its not HTML compatible so I switched to one that was. I found Cubender to have similar functionality to Wix. It’s a Flash website builder AND it’s HTML compatible. It definitely has less templates (though I admit the ones that they do have are great!) and there’s no advertising. Im not unhappy with my switch.

  2. Peter Majorska

    The problem with Wix its that it’s solely Flash. Not compatible with HTML. So how can it be the future if you cant use it on devices like the iPhone and the iPad. It’s been overtaken by its own limitations. What you need is a Flash Website Builder that is also HTML friendly like for a builder. Yola is good too AND it has more templates but more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Take it from someone who has used all three.

  3. Initially loved Wix. It’s ridiculously easy to use, though I’ve lost some work here and there without figuring out how to get it back.

    Still, trying to upgrade to a direct domain, while cheap, is a real pain if you’re not in the US. Apparently they haven’t figured out Canadians have provinces, meaning you will never be able to use your credit card as the address/card # can’t match up minus your province.

    And sadly, tech support still hasn’t figured out that this is the problem, despite several emails with them. Am having major second thoughts about tethering myself to a company if this is the sort of thing that happens when I want to give them money (what will happen when they’ve already got it?).

  4. @shazzar40: a flash website can be truly SEO friendly – check out Moonfruit’s sitemaker reproduces all the page content as semantic, w3c-compliant ( HTML. I still get their test site when I search for ‘west london taxis’ on google.

    In fact, I’d argue that the flash-based builders should be able to make *better* semantic html than html ones, as the content pretty much *has* to be separated from the (builder-provided) presentation layer.

    Wix’s attempts at html/seo content are pretty woeful, looks like they just dump out flash’s evil ‘html’ from the textboxes (the LETTERSPACING tag is the giveaway).

  5. I LOVE Wix! It’s perfect for making just the right kind of site for me — check it out! All the bells and whistles you could ever want, and no snotty web designer telling you that you shouldn’t! YEAH!

  6. adamschw

    For Web Worker Daily Readers Wix is offering a coupon code that provides the first month free for any wix premium product (our base product remains free). If a user chooses an annual offering the coupon will give the user a $12.90 discount on the price. The code is – 130191

  7. I’ve used Wix for a bunch of sites so far. The no-coding thing is definitely great, instead of spending time writing scripts I can focus on design.

    For personal sites and local businesses, I really like Flash a lot better than general site design. It’s way more fun to interact with, leaves a lasting impression. But no ambient background music please! =)