Website Builder -vs- Sitebuilder+

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To Whom It May Concern: 



I was hoping to keep this letter "low-key", but it appears this is the only forum I can voice my concerns, ideas and complaints.  So here goes:

I recently converted my
website (http://www.agmr1-uss-annapolis.org/) from Sitebuilder+ to Website Builder and there are several features that Sitebuilder + had that I miss with Website Builder.  I have been a Homestead client for a little over 9 years and I have 5 websites registered with Homestead, but I'm somewhat troubled with the lack of certain features in Website Builder.  Here is a list: 

1)  Mouse Tool-Tips (called "ALT text" in Sitebuilder+) for Links associated with Images/Objects.  I feel this is an important feature for site visitors to know what to expect when they hover over text, an image or an object. 

2) I have not found a way to copy a single text box from one page to another.  I can select a text box and an object, or 2 individual text boxes and copy them to another page, but copying a single text box to another page is apparently not allowed. 

3)  You have removed the ability to create a "Custom Form" (as was a nice feature in Sitebuilder+) so I am building my necessary forms at CognitoForms.com and linking them to my website.  This is working well for me... so far. 

4)  Anchor Links cannot be referenced from one page to another.  Apparently, Anchor Links can only be used and referenced on the page where it is created.  I would like to be able to create an Anchor Link on a particular page, then refer to that same Anchor Link on a different page or even externally... like as a link in an email.  I could do this in Sitebuilder+. 

5)  There is no Guest Book as in Sitebuilder+, so I PDF'd my Guest Book from Sitebuilder+ and linked the PDF with a "View Entries" button on a page in Website Builder.  Also, I created a Sign In form at CognitoForms.com for site visitors to "sign" the Guest Book.  When a visitor "signs" the Guest Book, I receive an email from Cognito and I manually transfer the Cognito form data to the Guest Book PDF then re-upload it to Website Builder.  It's a little extra work for me, but at least I still have a Guest Book for site visitors.

6)  There is no File Manager as there was in Sitebuilder+.  When a new file is uploaded, only the File Name appears in the Element Content viewer (no created date, no file size, no published date, etc.).  This takes me to my next issue with Website Builder... I cannot "replace" (overwrite) an image or document.  Frequently, my linked PDF's are updated and in Sitebuilder+ all I had to do was upload the updated files and when asked if I want to overwrite the existing file, I clicked the "Yes" or "Yes to All" button and the old image or document was automatically updated with the new image or PDF data.  Website Builder allows multiple files with the same name (which blows me away!) and if I upload files with the same name, I cannot tell which is the old file and which one is the new file because there is no file info available in the Element Content viewer.  The only work-around I've found is to first delete the "old" file then upload the "new" file, and then re-establish the link, which is extra (and unnecessary) work in my humble opinion.  I don't know how you would fix this issue, but I feel it's something you should look into, as file management is somewhat confusing and in some cases, ambiguous. 

7)  The Inactivity timer is WAY too short!!!  What do you consider "inactivity"?  If I'm moving images around on a page, or typing text, or adding and re-sizing objects, is that not "activity"?  It seems if I don't Save the page more often than every 5 minutes, I get logged out!  I'm sure there is a quasi-valid reason for such a short Inactivity timer, but there should be a Warning Pop-up to let me know I'm about to be logged off.  Or, rather than having an Inactivity timer, how about this... Is it possible to incorporate a user-defined "Auto-Save" feature for as long as I'm logged in to Website Builder?  That would be a Real Plus!!!  Because of inherent Internet fluctuation, drop-outs and in some areas of the country, instability, a lot of on-line editors incorporate some sort of auto-save feature... something for you to think about :o) 

8)  Finally, I'm having a real issue with Text Colors.  There are 5 color bands in the palettes, but what band controls which form of text?  And how can one change the color of the individual bands?  None of the color palette presets have the text colors I want to use and I have not found a guide on how to change the individual bands.  Perhaps I'm just stupid, but the color palettes are practically useless to me.  I am continuously having to change the text color to my desired color as I can find no way to set a 'default' color.  When I create a text link, the text color changes to some shade of gray and I have to manually change color to my desired text color.  Whenever possible, I copy and paste (duplicate) a text box, then type new information into the new text box... again, another work-around, but at least this allows me to retain the same text color (as well as the font, size and alignment) from one text box to another. 

I would have thought that Website Builder would, as a minimum, incorporate all the features currently available in Sitebuilder+ plus enhancements since Sitebuilder's inception, but sadly that does not appear to be the case.  

Now in your defense:  The Image Gallery and Video elements are GREAT!!  Much larger and Much smoother than Sitebuilder+!!  I miss the alignment tools and I guess there is a way to "group" text boxes and/or objects and images, but most all items will "snap" to other items/objects fairly easily and I'm getting used to that.  So, other than the issues I have identified above and the Section A pop-up always being in the way of viewing and editing the entire page, (let ME decide when I need access to the Section A pop-up!) I'm really liking Website Builder.  It is Much Faster and Much More Efficient than Sitebuilder+ especially for large websites such as my USS Annapolis website. 

Regards,

Bob Turner

USS Annapolis (AGMR-1) Webmaster

 
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Robert7195

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Posted 5 months ago

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Michelle C, Employee

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Hello Robert, 

Thank you for taking the time to provide this valued feedback about the builder. In response to the alt text in Sitebuilder plus, when you added atl text the software automatically added a title tag also which is what pops up when hovered over the image. WebsiteBuilder unfortunately, does not have the title tag that appears but it does have the alt tag option where you can enter image description. This will be used to help relay the image description to any viewers who are not able to physically see the site/image. I can put in a request to add title tags however cannot guarantee implementation.
If you have a linked image, text or button on your site there is a pop up that provides a preview of where it is linked to that displays at the bottom left of the page. 

Single text boxes cannot be copied and pasted from one page to another, not sure why but here is a tip you can use. Duplicate the text box,  then place the duplicate in the header or footer. Go to the other page and pull it out of the header/footer placing it on the desired page. This will allow you to copy one text box to another page.

Custom forms is something we find useful and have requested this option, we are now remaining patient in hopes that the development team implements this feature soon. Unfortunately, for now we do have to use third party forms for drop downs and other custom fields. 

Anchor links in WebsiteBuilder can only be referenced to another section on the same page. If you would like to send the viewers to another page, you can use a normal link to the other web page. I understand there is not a way to link to a certain spot on another page, it only goes to the top of the page and I can send a feature request for this also. 

The guestbook feature is something we have mentioned but is simply outdated. Unfortunately, this was not a feature the development team found to be necessary and utilized often as most sites now connect and use social media platforms as a replacement to this. However, I am glad you were able to find something that does allow you to continue using a guestbook. 

The file manager is now "cloud based" and will allow multiple uploads of files with the same name since the new builder does not limit the amount of information published. My recommendation for this is to go in and delete the current uploaded file prior to uploading the new updated file if it is going to keep the same name, then update the link for that file. 

Inactivity time is hard to diagnose. Sometimes anti-virus, firewalls or security programs on the device automatically log you out or force log off after certain amounts of time. On my end there is no inactivity limit that I have run into and I have not made any changes on the site for over 30 minutes. The time out may be happening because of a setting in one of the programs your device is running. You can try disabling any of these settings that may force logging out.  

The colors in the palettes in WebsiteBuilder can be edited. If you go to design>colors>edit colors> click on the color in the first row it will allow you to choose a color or type in the HEX code for a color. Then select save palette. This will lock in the selected color to the palette. 



If you want to set up a custom color for text you can assign a text style. This will set up a specific text color, type and font size to choose for any text box added. 

Go to design>text style>and customize any of these options. Once you set this up you can choose this formatting for any text box you add. 



Then when you add a text box you can select "page title" from custom style to choose the pre set formatting. 




I hope this helps address and clear up some of the concerns mentioned. Hopefully development can implement some of these feature requests to better the experience. Thanks!
(Edited)
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Robert7195

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Michelle,
First of all, Thank You for such quick response to my "sniveling letter" LoL  I really hated to "smack" Homestead with so many issues, but they've kind of been adding up over the past several months.

I have read your response several times and I truly appreciate some of the clarification and suggestions you have provided.  However, there are a couple of items I would like you to reconsider:  You said, "...Sitebuilder plus, when you added alt text the software automatically added a title tag also which is what pops up..."  As I recall, when one added a link to an object or an image, a text box was available in the edit pane where the user could manually type the "Alt Text" reference.  This only works for objects (shapes [squares, rectangles, etc.]) & images (jpegs, pngs, etc.).  Alt Text is not available for text with links.  Your statement that the link appears in the lower left corner when hovering over a text link is correct, but the software doesn't "automatically" add a 'title tag', and not everyone sees that little line of text, and it means absolutely nothing to other folks, therefore thank you for putting in a Feature Request for this capability.  Almost all websites, including Homestead, utilize "Alt Text", "Title Tags", or "Tool/Mouse Tips", etc. in some fashion.

Copying text to another page:  Thanks for the Page Header/Page Footer tip, but I am perfectly ok with my method of selecting the target text along with an image, graphic or object (or two text boxes) to transfer text to another page. This method is a little cumbersome, but so is your tip. LoL  The ability to copy and paste individual text boxes from page to page would be a wonderful add-on feature.  Just add a "Copy" box to the edit bar and copy the text to the clipboard. Sounds simple, right?  LoL

Thank you for the Feature Request for Anchor accessibility from anywhere on the site (or even externally!).  That would be another wonderful feature!!  

Also.... Thank You for clarification of the Color Pallet!!  I looked at the color edit box when I first started working with Builder, but without any documentation on which vertical band controls which style of text, I was lost.  I have since set the middle band to my preferred color and it works "as advertised"  Thanks!!

I am not a Social Media kind of guy, so I don't see how Facebook/Twitter/FriendMePlease :o), etc., can replace my website Guest Book (am I "old-school" or what?? LoL) but my GB adaption works for me.  Same goes for the six Custom Forms I need for the website... Cognito Forms work and they are secure, so I'm happy with that.  The File Manager issue (not being able to overwrite an existing document or image file) is acceptable too once I figured out a work-around - two extra steps, but that's ok. 

The only item I haven't discussed is the Time Out issue with Builder.  Since I've been typing this reply, I have had Builder running in the background.  I have exited Builder 3 times and I didn't see the "You have been logged out of Website Builder" pop-up at any time.  I mentioned this issue to one of your co-workers on the phone a couple of months ago and perhaps it has been resolved as I believe other people were complaining about it as well.  As a caveat, even though I was apparently logged out of Builder, I could continue to save and publish my site - That's A Good Thing!!  Yea!!  :o)   At any rate, I will table the Time Out issue for now.  If it happens again, I will certainly try to get a screen-shot!!  :o)

Again... Thank you for your help, Michelle.  We ALL need a little help now and then, and I really appreciate your time and expertise on these issues.

Regards,
Bob Turner
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Michelle C, Employee

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Thank you. You will want to investigate the programs that are running on your device that may be forcing a log off. Unfortunately, I cannot say exactly what would be causing this. I know some firewalls and anti virus programs do perform this action where it disconnects the internet connection for security purposes. 
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Robert7195

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I checked my [Windows] Firewall & AVG Anti-Virus and couldn't find any settings in either program that would log me off of a site (for security or any other reason).  The only other thing I had running was MS Excel and I know it has no control of my website access.  Please take another look at the screenshot I sent yesterday.  "Homestead" is right at the top of the page and in the text it says, "... your Homestead website is no longer available."  I can't imagine my Windows Firewall or AVG to have the ability to generate this screen... it's fairly obvious this screen came from Homestead mainly because it says I can "sign in to restart" [a new session] and it provides User ID and Password boxes to do so.  More disturbing to me is there is no warning that I'm being logged off!!  I never know I've been logged off until I return to the Account Home screen.  You might check with the development folks again about this issue (and show them my screenshot, please).

Now for something new....  I tried and tried and tried to upload an image this evening and never could get Builder to accept the file.  I'm trying to upload a .jpg that is 770K at 2250x1200 resolution.  Matter of fact, I tried to upload several JPEG files of various size and resolution to no avail.  From the ADD IMAGES screen, I clicked "Upload Images" and chose the file from the Window Explorer.  My modem lights flashed for about the right amount of time (10-15 seconds) but the progress bar on the "Uploading" icon on the ADD IMAGES screen never moved and the file never loaded.  What condition is the file, you may ask?   I built the JPEG in Photoshop 6 and it will open in iPhoto+, MS Paint, Windows App "Photos", Windows Photo Viewer, and even Google Chrome!  So I don't believe anything is wrong with the file.  Do you have any ideas?  I really would like to get this image posted on my website as soon as possible.  FYI... this is the first time I've had any issue with uploading files (images OR documents).

Thanks,
Bob Turner
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Michelle C, Employee

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I understand Homestead is on the page because it is your Homestead account that you are logged into but it is not Homesteads action that is logging you off, it is something else on your device. I have personally tested this theory and left my account open for many hours without any activity and was never logged off. I can provide feedback about the time out error and present the screenshot but I cannot guarantee this can be resolved from our side. 

I do apologize for any inconvenience with uploading images. To better assist in troubleshooting, may I ask what web browser you are using when editing the site?
Our team reported they are aware of and working on resolving issues with not being able to upload images using internet explorer and Microsoft edge. I will get your account added to the open ticket. As of now, if you are using either browser, we would recommend try using google chrome or Mozilla Firefox to edit the website until we get this fully resolved. Homestead sincerely appreciates the patience and understanding while we investigate this issue. 

I also see you did call into support today, did you report these issues with the agent you spoke with? 
(Edited)
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Robert7195

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Michelle,
Thanks for the reply.  I spoke with Matt on the phone a little while ago because last night while I was trying to upload my JPEG image, all of my Cognito forms disappeared from my website.  The place-markers were there, but the forms were not visible and I needed to get that issue resolved immediately, so yes... I called in.  We got that issue resolved by clearing the cache and cookie history on my browser (Google Chrome).  While we were waiting on my browser to refresh, I mentioned the time out feature and he acknowledged that it exists for a couple of very good reasons.  He said he would try to get a "You are about to be logged off..." pop-up added to the software.  So we don't need to pursue this issue further.

Also, he acknowledged there was an issue with uploading images and told me this issue has been resolved.  I knew this because I was able to upload my JPEG image this morning before speaking with him on the phone.  This issue is resolved as well.

Bottom Line:  With the exception of the Feature Requests you are looking into, I am satisfied with what we've accomplished over the past few days.

Thank You SO Much, Michelle!
Bob
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Michelle C, Employee

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Glad to hear these have been resolved. Hopefully in future roll-outs the requested features will be implemented. We will now have to wait and see. You are so welcome and thank you also for being so understanding. Have a great weekend. 

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