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Squarespace 7.1 is an insult to what Squarespace used to be.

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Preamble:

Hi. I have been with Squarespace since 6. I have been a staunch advocate to others as to its revolutionary enabling power, simplicity, aesthetics and scope. I've probably converted 25 paying companies to customers.

I've built 13 sites using 6 and 7, plus two using 7.1 — Nine of them are still active.

I even had Squarespace choose one of my sites to feature and film — a full on case history of business and online presence as reflected by the SS capabilities. It was a big honor.

I say all this to avert the inevitable "RTFM dude" comments, and the "it takes practice" detractors and trolls. Yes, I am fully aware of the continued kinda-support of 7.0. Yes, I know I can stay with that. But that's hardly progress, is it.

That's that out of the way. Now my point

v7.1 was, in my opinion (and I think objectively), a deal breaking death move that has undone everything the company originally stood for.

  • The over simplification of control, to the point of handcuffing the regular admin (those not in the coding business). 
  • The removal of multiple levels of lower granularity, choosing instead a global, insulting, "three-colors are all y'gonna get" approach. Restriction, confinement. Crushing of creativity.
  • Making typographic decisions global and grouped. Deciding for the designer the groups they're going to use — and making it SO hard to override.
  • Reducing the layout options SO minimalistic that they might as well be all blank pages.
  • Removing the block insert widgets that made production so straightforward and unambiguos
  • The introduction of compulsory Sections, yet providing so little control over their margins, padding and spacing, that they force white space to happen, rather than allowing the designer to control the white space (and trust me, I'm the ultimate advocate of whit space, but on my terms. Sometimes good design requires the violation of white space).
  • Removing features like parallax, Landing pages, One page sites, Index Pages which may (to the Squarespace developers) be "so last week", but to many clients remain valid and desirable features, that gives them a level of "cool" they would otherwise never have dreamed of.
  • You get the idea.

I was so excited for the arrival of 7.1. I assumed it would be nothing Shortt of an exponential improvement on that which was already great. But it's now dead to me. I can no longer give clients what they want, unless I want to relegate myself to a legacy user.

WIX doesn't have the "Apple" sheen of Squarespace. It's an insult in different ways, but at least it isn't suffocating creativity. I am transitioning all my future builds to WIX. Reluctantly. Angrily. 

But you lost the plot guys. Somebody in-house even said "why show them a variety of inspiring images in our meagre offering of layout ideas... let's just use three shots of a mountain so it all looks the same."

"Why waste time giving them ten layout ideas, let's reduce it to three"

"Why show users how they can use color, let's just make everything white"

"Why give them access to detail, let's just give them some pre-curated packages and let them work with those"

Plus the contact/help process — which used to be so good and human — has degenerated into channeled, pre-existing that help them avoid the difficult questions: no "other" in choice of help topics?? CLASSIC example of minimizing client contact in the interest of maximizing profit.

You lost touch with your market, and I think it's going to bite you in the ass.

Cheers

 

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7.1 may seem like a death move only if you believe you have no choice but to use it. But that is not the case.  I still use 7.0 because I like it better than 7.1, simple as that. I don't judge 7.1, which is one template, as good or bad. It is just that 7.0 with its multiple template families including Brine, which in the opinion of many is the best group of template designs anywhere, offers more to me than 7.1. So I stick with it. I have played with 7.1 so that I can be of assistance to those who want to use it, particularly new first time builders, which 7.1 seems to be easier for them to build on. That is the way I look at it. Squarespace like many other compaines that sell a product, including car makers, or operating system makers introduce new things that are not necessarily improvements over the older things.  Was Windows 8 an improvement over XP?  Was Windows 8 an insult to what Wndows was before, with XP? Some thought so but it has worked out in the long run. It will with Squarespace too and they offer support for both 7.0 and 7.1, let us not overlook that. 

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