- No preview. You edit the live site.
- Website editor is confusing to use.
- Solid iOS editor.
Jimdo promises on its homepage that it makes it “super easy” to build a great website without knowing how to code. Unfortunately, this promise is not completely fulfilled. Instead Jimdo suffers from a few problems: the drag and drop builder interface is clumsy and unwieldy, menus can seem illogical and layouts are outdated.
Editing your website
The first thing you should know is that with Jimdo, you are editing your live website. That means there is no preview or demo mode. Instead changes are instantly live! This is a problematic workflow: when building a website, you’ll often want to try things out- maybe nudging an element or rewriting a sentence. But since these edits are instantly live, your website visitors will see those changes as you make them. This makes it risky to try new things!
Now lets dive into the website editor:
One (small) thing I noticed: the main menu is vertical and on the right, but it opens in horizontal mode from the left (which feels backwards- English speakers are used to reading content from left → right). To me this felt unusual, and it took me a while to get used to. Admittedly, this is a small usability issue, but I thought I’d note it.
Adding, moving and deleting elements is done through an inline editor:
Other than being too small, I had a few annoyances with this editor (1) When you hover over an element you have to quickly move your mouse over to the toolbar otherwise the editor will hide. (2) The tiny arrows are for moving elements- why this is even an option is strange- you’re better off just dragging items. (3) This interface gets quite overwhelming when you start interacting with complex elements such as forms:
Jimdo includes an iOS app that lets you edit your website. It’s actually quite well done. I liked the logic of the editing process: it is simple and polished. The app is not finished yet, but I hope Jimdo will preserve its simplicity and airiness.
Interestingly, it would be a huge improvement if Jimdo could take the lessons they’ve learned in designing the iOS app and made their desktop editor more usable.
Browsing among Jimdo templates is a bit tiring because there are a lot of recurring themes. And it’s hard to spot the differences between themes when they look very much alike.
I noticed a template category called Special but curiously there was no indication as to why it is called Special. Huh.
Jimdo lets you configure your template in the Styles section. For text formatting options there are four preset styles, but you can create the one you like. While changing text formatting was relatively clear, other configurations were not. For example: adding and editing your background has three(!) different submenus: one for adding custom image(s), slideshow or video, one library accessible only for paying users and one for editing patterns. The workflow is difficult, first you have to understand its logic, then you can configure your layout.
Jimdo does support a mobile version of your website, which is helpful. Unfortunately it’s not a responsive theme, instead you choose a separate mobile version for your website:
They also include something called Mobile Express Page, that allows you replace your mobile site by a simple landing page with the most important information.
I found the most promising part of Jimdo to be their iOS app. Hopefully this will be the main track of a general redesign for Jimdo. Overall, I found the website editor to be poorly executed and layouts to be outdated.