This past summer we made the decision to remake the Adventure website. Not only was it time for a refresh, but we were ready to make a change. The first question we asked ourselves: What platform should we build it in? You would think the answer would be obvious. After all, we were software developers experienced with multiple platforms.
The reason for the difficulty was, in part, due to a dramatic shift happening in the design and tech industries. Adobe was abandoning programs that designers had relied on for years, browser features were changing almost daily and mobile responsive design had become a hot topic. We were in a phase when things go out of focus, shift back and forth for awhile, and eventually come back into view, crisp and more clear than before.
By the start of 2015 we had a strong sense that change was imminent. We received a lot of calls from existing and potential clients with the same basic questions: How important is mobile responsive design? Can we get simpler content management? Is there a way to simplify our web presence without sacrificing the complex features we still need? Can we reduce our hosting costs and avoid the open-source-plugin world? It was a classic case of having champagne taste on a beer budget. Everyone needed a professional-looking solution to maintain their brand's identity and they wanted content editing to be easier, something that open source platforms like Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla had a difficult time delivering. But, they also wanted the solution to be affordable since custom solutions had become cost prohibitive for most small-to-medium-size organizations.
Given the fact that we were skilled developers, fluent in multiple code languages and adept at constructing custom websites for complex communications, we were used to being challenged. But, we also recognized that not all clients needed such a robust solution. Given the fact that maintaining a website powered by an open source platform had proven difficult and expensive, we needed to pivot quickly to find the right solution. Overnight our mantra became, "We will find an answer. We will find an answer..."
While seeking out the best answer, we felt the stars align the day we took a closer look at an older platform, Squarespace, originally launched in 2004. (Yes, this industry considers 2004 as being way, way back). They had just released their current version, Squarespace 7, and it had a lot to offer developers compared to other programs in its class. But, we had to know for sure so we made the decision to rebuild our own site using the developer version. Our primary goal: To test whether version #7 would hold up to the keyboard hacks of our design and development team.
The verdict: We love this program. In fact, we have three new websites currently in the making using Squarespace. And although it is classified as a DYI platform, we find that the developer's version is extremely flexible, allowing us to provide true customization for clients who need something unique. And the best news of all, clients can even edit their own content and manage their own design changes if they have a capable staff.
The bottom line: We think Squarespace is a fantastic fit for all types of projects.