Fans of Squarespace have been looking to the long-awaited next version of the web publishing platform to address current Squarespace limitations and a growing number of requests for new features. Will Squarespace deliver on customer requests or have the expectations been set too high after a few years of pent up demand?
What Changes Should Squarespace Make?
Squarespace has a pretty broad user community ranging widely in interests, abilities and areas of knowledge. Customers vary from small business owners, to marketers, to designers and developers due to its overall strength as a web platform. These differences were incredibly visible when looking at the responses to my recent survey of the Squarespace community.
Over the summer I asked over a hundred Squarespacers their opinion of the content management system, and what they'd change about the platform if they could. Opinions of Squarespace were generally quite postive, but there were requests for advances in a few major categories:
The responses for Squarespace improvements were varied. An equal thirty percent are looking for advancements in customization and extensibility of the Squarespace platform. Sixteen percent are looking for more intuitive and informative tools to help them use Squarespace, and close to ten percent didn't want any changes at all. How will Squarespace Six deliver in these areas?
Customization - Squarespace six will introduce new and amazing ways to customize our websites. Squarespace has revealed some details about the new template development kit system that will allow designers to create fully customizable and portable templates that can be applied to many different sites.
Help & How-To - While the designer and developer community are antsy for customization and extensibility, a large number of casual Squarespace users are looking to make the current tool more polished and easier to use overall. Making tools like the WYSIWYG editor more reliable, along with hiding sophisticated options when you don't need them are examples of the changes non-developer types are looking for in version six. They also want more and better tutorials on how to use the platform.
Other - The "Other" bucket of responses consisted of a hodgepodge of issues that illustrate how important a handful of other issues are to some people, ranging from specific Squarespace product improvements such as multi-language support and more mobile support, to issues with the company itself, like customer communication planning and pricing of certain features.
Will Squarespace Version Six Deliver?
The challenge for Squarespace becomes clear after a simple glance at the pie chart summarizing the community's requests. Squarespace must advance the tool to meet the needs of sixty percent of its users while not confusing or upsetting those that want Squarsepace to be simpler and/or not to change at all.
Having built a new site on Squarespace six for their Friends & Family beta, I continue to be impressed by how thorough Squarespace has been in their approach to rethink the needs of their customers. I think they're in the process of nailing the changes we've all been asking for, however great and varied they may be.
What is on your wishlist for Squarespace v6? Is a specific change you'd like to see, or do you just have problems with a current feature or process in Squarespace? Share your Squarespace limitations, aspirations and expectations for version six with our community here in the comments.