Ask a Question ?
Design & Publish Websites Faster
For starting a real site! If you want to just try it out!
Design & Publish Websites Faster
For starting a real site! If you want to just try it out!

Blog

Receive updates in your inbox

What Gets To Be Called New: How We Overvalue Time


This is how Wikipedia defines creativity.

“Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, solution, artwork, literary work, joke, etc.) that has some kind of value. What counts as “new” may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. What counts as “valuable” is similarly defined in a variety of ways.”

Anything new. I think that’s a better definition. Anything new in the eye of anyone. The eyes of the creator or user. Doesn’t matter.

When you work in a field like ours, you could spend two years working on a problem and still suck at it. You naturally tend to respect hard work. Real problem solving. These are concepts that we have to live by, otherwise we go nuts. So when a tool seems to provide a shortcut to that, we naturally are skeptical and question its value.

What I’ve noticed in my own thinking and the people around me is that we assume there is a positive correlation between the degree of effort and the degree of creativity in the output of someone’s work. I’m not talking about simplicity. I’m talking about the degree of work it takes to create something new. Not the simplicity of the output. Just it’s differentiation from other things (newness).

When we were deciding what to launch Breezi’s beta version with, we really asked ourselves if people would be ok with starting with a blank slate. If the users would be fine with doing the hard work of creating something totally new that looked good. We didn’t have our themes functionality done yet so it was a difficult call. We decided to launch with wireframes which were mimicking the design process. We are launching themes soon but that’s besides the point.

Let’s pause for a quick second and define something “new” into two parts. Other people’s ideas + yours. And let’s say that we’re trying to define how “creative” someone really is during a particular creation task. Person A takes 95% of other people’s ideas and 5% his. Person B takes 20% of other people’s ideas and 80% his (let’s just say that is possible for a sec). Who do you think is more creative?

I’d argue that a person that even has a 0.01% contribution of his own ideas and 99.99% of other people’s is just as creative as the others.

The question is WHAT is that 0.01% and is that something that matters in the eyes of the creator.

That can be a word, a photo, an atom, a different angle, a slightly different temperature or another title for the same book. It really doesn’t matter.

What we have to note is that the mix has absolutely nothing to do with the newness of the outcome. The outcome is something new. It doesn’t represent the sum of its parts. Everything in nature obeys this same logic.

As product developers, we’re just enablers. Enabling anything at all. Even the smallest input from the user. If 0.01% is all you want or can contribute and that could make you feel creative, then it’s our obligation to figure out how to make technology that can accept that.

The user of an application that speeds up the creativity process doesn’t care about how much effort it took to create something new. As long as it’s something new they feel creative. That’s the most valid definition there is for the word. It’s the feeling of creating something new in your own eyes.

If you look at a creativity from a product development lens, you usually have 4 parts.

Input, effort, technology, output. Input is the user contribution. Effort is how much work it takes to give the right input. We should be able to accept .01% for that. Technology obeys the minimum user input and works around that. Output should make the user feel as though she created something new.

Example in case of Instagram… Photo is the input. Effort is how much sweat it takes to take the photo and pick a filter. Technology is the app and service. Output is the final photo with the filter you chose.

What’s interesting is that if you look at the mix from a technology perspective, the input is the .01%. If you look at it from the output perspective, it’s 100%.

 

Respect Your Pause

The pause is that time before you stumble upon that beautiful idea. It’s that grey period where nothing interesting is happening and you’re seeing if there’s anything there. You’re in the room, it’s dark, you know the idea is somewhere in there. You just have to spend a long time to find it. And you’re not sure if it’s worth anything once you discover it.

Most of us are slaves to our inbox. We crave for the reactionary behavior. We love anticipation. We spend our time looking “inspiration”. The whole idea of the “remix” culture is widely accepted and people love to just dismiss any original thought. They just say it’s just a remix of something else. That’s probably true. Partially… they don’t care to dissect the degree of the remix.

The thing that we have to make clear is that our natural tendency is not to sit down for hours of difficult struggle with our own thoughts to really seek out what we’re capable of doing. It’s a massive investment. It’s scary and uncomfortable.

So instead of the investment in our journey, we google things, look on dribbble, scroll endlessly on Pinterest or just keep checking facebook / twitter every 10 minutes. And when we’re not at the computer, we find other ways to distract ourselves. To make it worst, we label distracted people as creative. We encourage them. They have tons of ideas so they are constantly jumping around… right?

We want to encourage you to discover your own ideas.

At the core of Breezi is an idea that you are creative. That if you are given a blank slate, you can sit there and create something beautiful and original. We can debate over what original is but you get what I mean.

That’s why we don’t force templates on you. That’s why we develop features through the lens of extending your ability to create and do it fast. Less wizards and step by steps… more free form thinking. Rather than dismissing features that extend your capability to create as things that would make Breezi more difficult to use, we look at them as neccasary steps for your ideas to pour out.

We ask ourselves… does it allow you to create what’s in your mind? The rest of it is a discussion of execution & ux.

We won’t deny that lots of people will enjoy an application that makes you look like an artist. Apps that give you shortcuts can be great. We just want to encourage you to respect your pause for a moment, listen to it and see what’s in there. It might be the greatest idea you’ve ever had.

Site Designed in 10 Minutes with Breezi Website Builder

When we learned the folks behind Pushup Charity were using Breezi’s website builder for their kick-off event, we were so pumped we started doing pushups in the office! We decided to sponsor the event, and put our a-team on the job to make the design pixel-perfect.

The concept for this charity event is pretty awesome…five startup teams will compete live to see which can do the most pushups on stage, and prior to the event they’re all raising money for their teams to benefit a charity of their choice.

An event this awesome needs an equally epic website, and needless to say we were thrilled with the final outcome. Watch the 10-minute video above showing the process of creating and designing pushupcharity.org.

Oh and by the way, this site did take longer than 10 minutes to design, of course, but we sped it up for your viewing pleasure – enjoy!

Breezi is Now a Google Chrome App

Website Builder Chrome App

If you use Google Chrome as your browser, head over to the Chrome Web Store and add the Breezi app, which we just launched today. It’s free and takes two seconds to add, and it’s a handy way of getting straight to your Breezi login page when you’re in Chrome. Once you launch the app, you can click the Breezi app anytime to jump into editing your site easily.

Google Chrome Store Breezi App

To Install the Breezi Website Builder Chrome App Click Here

Breezi Celebrates Convergence on World Design Day 2012

Breezi Celebrates World Design Day 2012

Today is World Communication Design Day (also known as World Graphics Day)…hooray! Never heard of it? Well, on April 27th, 1963 Icograda was established and has become the world body for promoting design thinking, best practices, and research, representing over 200 organizations worldwide.

“On this occasion, designers reflect and hope that our global network can contribute to greater understanding between people and can help to build bridges where divides and inequities exist.” -icograda.org

Convergence in Design

This year, the theme is “Convergence”. And over the past 30 years, there’s been a lot of convergence in the design space indeed…

  • Hardware and software breakthroughs have accelerated rapidly, bringing technology and design together while pushing the limits of what can be visually communicated.
  • The web has created a brilliant channel through which ideas can be spread around the world in a click, and web-based technologies have enabled designers to create, collaborate, and share their work like never before.
  • Cross-disciplinary collaboration between designers, technologies, entrepreneurs, and other disciplines has fueled the emergence of innovative new products, areas of specialty and study, and technologies.

More recently, web design, desktop software, and programming have started to converge, allowing digital designers to create beautifully crafted custom websites without writing a single line of code, all within the browser.

Breezi Browser Editing

We have been working hard at paving the way for this convergence over the past few years, leading up to the release of Breezi last month. This whole concept is removing layers of abstraction in the creative process, to bring ideas to life online quicker and without as many obstacles. It’s a concept akin to making things that are complex seem simple, which is not easy to do.

In the sense of designing a website traditionally, abstraction layers refer to designing a webpage or interface on your desktop, writing CSS and HTML code to bring it to life, implementing a content management system, testing the design in different web browsers, and going through several other steps prior to being able to launch a finished website.

Removing layers of abstraction

But when you get down to it, convergence really is all about removing abstraction, and getting to the heart of what you’re looking to achieve through a more direct, uninterrupted route. Convergence will continue in design and elsewhere in life, in different shapes and forms, making way for new innovations and methods of problem solving.

Are you seeing convergence in the design world? What do you foresee transpiring in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments!

photo credit: convergence (sean)

New Features – You Can Now Unpublish & Reset Your Site

Just wanted to give a quick update on two new features we’ve added, after hearing your feedback:

New Breezi features let you unpublish and reset your site

1. Unpublishing Your Site
In addition to being able to hide pages from search engines, you can now unpublish your site entirely if you need to.

2. Start Over by Resetting
If you made changes to your site that you’re now regretting, and you’d like to just start with a clean slate, we now have a “Reset” option. This let’s you pick a new starting point and start over.

Several more updates coming soon, read Navid’s post about Breezi Beta; What’s Next?

Breezi Website Creation Guide: Bring it to Life with Your Own Content

Update!
We’ve released several new updates since this guide was created, including a new App Store, and an updated content editing method (double click to edit any content). Updated video coming soon!

So, by now you’ve picked your Apps, have gotten your page layout to a good point, and you may have even started applying styles to design your page, depending on which track of the guide you picked. You’re ready to move onto adding content to your Apps!

Start with the Header & Work Down the Page

Breezi header image example
Since most if not all of the pages on your site should share the same identical header, it’s easiest to start there. In most cases, you’ll have a logo or heading, and possibly a navigation menu, some text, and maybe even a call to action button or social media links. This will vary depending on your design approach and content.

Add Your Own Content Through the Apps

Add content to the body Apps that make up your page

Working down the page, you can start adding your content into the Apps that will make up the body of your page. Whether you have text, headings, images, videos, social media feeds, a blog or other content you’d like to display using the Apps you’ve added, you can double click to add your own content. 

Create Links with Text and Images

Adding hyperlinks in your content

If you need to create links within any of your content, for text you can simply highlight the text, click the link icon, enter your link or select a page to link to, and then choose to open in a new window or the same window. You can adjust the default and rollover colors of a link by highlighting it and selecting the color picker. You can also link images by clicking on an image, and selecting the link option.

Linking an image

Once you’ve added all of your content into the Apps, you’re almost done with this page! If you haven’t already started, you should now move onto applying styles so that you can design your page with the look and feel you’d like to see.

If you need to revisit any of the other steps in this 4-part guide to finish up your site, here’s a quick reference to the other steps:

Think About What You’d Like to Showcase

Lay Out Your Content

Start Designing the Look & Feel

Breezi Website Creation Guide: Start Designing the Look & Feel

Update!
We’ve released several new updates since this guide was created, including the Bulk Style Editor and style propagation per app. Updated video coming soon!

Hopefully by now your page already has all of the Apps you’d like to use to display your content, and you’ve customized the layout to your liking. Depending on the track you chose, you may have added content already.

Now, it’s time to apply styles, so you can design the page exactly how you want it to look.

Add Backgrounds to Different Areas of the Page

Applying a background on your page

A good first step in styling your page is to select backgrounds for the different main areas. With the background style dots, you can select a solid color, apply a gradient, choose from our library of background image options, or upload your own. If you choose a background image or upload your own, you can then choose settings if you’d like the background to repeat or be displayed a certain way.

Style Your Content with the Dots & WYSIWYG Editor

styling content using the WYSIWYG editor

Depending on the Apps you’ve used, there are a number of different ways that you can modify the design of the content. For text, for example, you can use the WYSIWYG toolbar to adjust the font style, size, kerning and line spacing, color, and other formatting options. For images and videos, you can easily resize them, add a border, rounded corners, adjust spacing, and make other design tweaks.

Fine-tune the Design Until it’s Pixel-Perfect!

Using the style dots to design your page with pixel-level control

Now you can continue diving into the style dots, applying granular design adjustments to get the look and feel of your page just the way you’d like. For example, you can change spacing, apply background colors, change opacity, add rounded corners, and more on Apps, columns, and larger areas of content. Each dot controls a specific part of the page, from small buttons and headings to full backgrounds, so move your mouse around and explore the options through the dots.

Depending on how you’ve approached creating your site, you may have already added all of your content, or you may still have some left to add to complete your page. If you need to revisit any of the other steps in this 4-part guide to finish up your site, here’s a quick reference to the other steps:

Think About What You’d Like to Showcase

Bring it to Life with Your Own Content

Lay Out Your Content

Breezi Website Creation Guide: Customize the Layout

Update!
The Layout menu described below has been removed. You can fully customize your page layouts however you’d like with the Layout Builder. Updated video coming soon!

Continuing our step-by-step guide to creating a website with Breezi, this step is focused on customizing the page layout. If you’re reading this, you’ve hopefully already planned and organized your content for the page you’re working on, and have the right Apps in place. But chances are your page is looking a bit jumbled, so let’s get right to cleaning up the structure of the page, placement of the Apps, and sizing up those columns just right!

Customize the Page Layout

Use Layout Builder to customize the layouts of your pages

Now that you have a pretty good idea of the content you’d like to have on the page and you’ve added the right Apps, use the Layout Builder to customize the layout of your page to your liking.

The Layout Builder lets you add and remove entire blocks, sections, and columns on your page, and you can also click on any column separator and drag it to resize the width of columns.

Move Your Apps Into Place

Move Apps into place on the page

Next you’ll want to move your Apps into place on the page, so that the layout starts to make sense based on where you’d like certain content to display. You can click, drag and drop Apps into the page layout you selected to move them into the right places. You may need to try a few different placements of your Apps until you start to see the layout you envisioned come to life.

Tip: You may realize there are still a few Apps that you need to add or remove, so feel free to do that as you go.

Adjust Column Widths

Adjust column widths to get the right sizing in the layout

Some of the Apps may need a bit more or less space in the layout you’re using, and you may want to adjust the column widths in the different areas of the page. To do this, mouse over the handlers where columns are divided, and then click, hold and drag the handler right or left to adjust the sizing.

Add Sections & Containers, Add or Merge Columns & More

You can add and merge columns with the new Layout Builder

With the newly added Layout Builder, you can add or remove entire sections and containers, as well as add and merge columns and more very easily. Learn more about the Layout Builder here.

After you’ve set the layout the way you’d like, and your Apps are in the right places on the page, you’re ready to move onto the next step.

Breezi website creation guide next step options

There are two options for how to finish your page from here. You can add content next, and then finish by applying all of the styles to design your page. Or you can jump right into styling to get the design looking nice, and finish with adding content last.

Pick the option below that works best for you!

Add Content, Then Design or

Design First, Then Add Content

 

Breezi Website Creation Guide: Think About What You’d Like to Showcase

Update!
We’ve released several new updates since this guide was created, including a new App Store, and an updated content editing method (double click to edit any content). Updated video coming soon!

Sure, creating and designing an amazing site with Breezi is pretty simple, but even the best tools won’t build a site for you (and they shouldn’t). You still have to add your own content, and wield your design chops in creating the pixel-perfect website you envisioned. That takes a little time and effort, and sometimes you may get stuck.

Don't get stuck creating your website with Breezi

Worry not! With this 4-part step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to get yourself on track and launch your new Breezi site in no time. Let’s get started.

We suggest completing one full page at a time, starting with the homepage, after you have a general idea of the different pages you’d like on your site. The first step is organizing your content and figuring out which Breezi Apps you’d like to use.

Consider the Content You’d Like to Showcase

Breezi website builder content planning

What types of content would you like to display on the page? Will you have a logo and navigation menu in the header, an image gallery, videos, and different areas of text for descriptions, titles, and so forth? Will you want to display a Twitter or Facebook feed, or maybe multiple social media icons to link out to your social profiles? Take inventory of your content, and then save and organize your text and image files into folders and sub-folders on your computer.

Tip: For video URLs, social media profiles, and other links, you can add them all in a text file for reference later, and place the file in your organized content folders.

Organizing your content into files for your Breezi site

Remove Apps You Don’t Need

Now, log into your Breezi account, and look over the starting point you picked when you signed up. See Apps you don’t actually need on the page? Remove them! Just click the “X” when you rollover any of the Apps that you don’t need to start out. Don’t worry, you can always add them back later if you need to.

Tip: Don’t like the starting point you picked? Don’t worry you can start over if you’d like.

Removing apps in Breezi

Add Apps You Need That Aren’t On the Page

After you remove the Apps you don’t need from the page, look over the content you have planned for this page and think about which Apps you need that aren’t there yet. You can see a preview of how all of the Apps work right in the Apps panel, by mousing over the “eye” icons for each app. Don’t worry too much about placement right now, we’ll cover layout in the next step. You may need to add and remove a few different Apps until you find the right ones that will display your content nicely.

See default state preview of apps in app store

Congrats! Once you’ve planned your content, and then removed and added the Apps you’ll need on your page, you’ve finished step 1 and you’re ready to move onto the next step: Customizing the Layout.

Go to The Next Step!

 

Photo credits: Stuck Truck (by Norman C)