Basekit Review Large-2-0

2.0
  • Steep learning curve is not suitable for non-coders.
  • Unintuitive theme editor.

Before we get into the review, let me explain the two steps for a web designer building a website. Bear with me, it’ll be relevant.

Step One – Design a mockup of the website in Photoshop.
Step Two – Convert the mockup into HTML code.

Make sense? Well, wouldn’t it be great if web designers could turn that into a one-step process? Wouldn’t it be great if web designers didn’t need to translate the mockup into HTML code?

Well, in 2010, aimed to do just that. They built a product that targeted website designers needing help creating HTML & CSS code from Photoshop mockups.

Basekit in 2012

Today, Basekit is a long way from Photoshop mockups. In fact, their homepage doesn’t mention Photoshop. Today Basekit describes themselves as being the “top choice for anyone that needs a website.”

That’s a big change in audience in only two years: going from technical web designers to everyone. I’ve talked to Basekit and they feel they’ve made significant changes to accomodate their new audience. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure. Basekit feels like a technical product rather than an easy, accessible website builder for non-technical users.

Ease of Use

Basekit is not easy to use. Many of the options require an understanding of website design. The interface often requires technical understanding. Too many options and the use of abstract language that only professional web designers would use make this website editor still out of reach for the general user.

For example, templates are based off of a row and column editor. The row and column editor seems like a powerful tool for creating advanced websites but it’s something that’s difficult to use and easy to mess up. It’s just not intuitive.

Ultimately, too many layers of abstraction in their editor makes for a steep learning curve.

Templates

Most users looking for a website builder aren’t interested in building their own template from scratch. They’re looking for easily customizable, pre-built web templates. Any website builder can offer beautiful pre-built web templates— the challenge is in allowing the user to customize these templates.

It is difficult and unintuitive to customize Basekit’s templates. For example, each time you build a “new” page you have to rebuild the entire page. You need to re-add your navigation, re-add your logo and re-add your footer. Strangely nothing carries over.

So when you create a new page you will just get a blank canvas (see below). Ugh. Frustrating.

Creating a new page in Basekit

Creating a new page in Basekit

Basekit does have some nice looking templates, but don’t let them lure you in. If you were hoping to use one of their templates, you’re going to have a lot of trouble customize it. It’s hardly straightforward. Again, the interface is not intuitive at all.

Flexibility

Basekit offers a lot customization. You can enter Javascript and CSS, and overall get pretty granular with editing templates.

These features will likely be out of reach for most users so it’s hard to call them a plus. Flexibility is only useful if it is in reach and from what I see here writing custom Javascript and CSS is not within the reach of the “anyone” Basekit claims to be for.

Code Integrity

Basekit is HTML-based rather than Flash-based and they (rightly) advertise this point. This is a bonus, there is still many website builders out there that are built in Flash (which should be an instant red flag).

I even noticed some HTML5 in their markup so that’s good!

Salesy

Not too bad. Kind of annoying, user-interface cluttering pop-up telling you how many days you have left on free trial. Unnecessary. We already know. Plus I have to dismiss it every few minutes. Yuck.

The annoying pop-up telling you how many days you have left on free trial

The annoying pop-up telling you how many days you have left on free trial

Summary

Basekit describes themselves as the “top choice for anyone that needs a website” and it’s just doesn’t feel true. Basekit feels difficult and out of reach for most users.

Review by . Last Updated on .

I think there are better website builders out there, but you can still and see for yourself.