When I first heard about EverWeb, I was so excited to try it out. Now that iWeb support has gone by the wayside, customers are looking for an alternative. Since EverWeb is so similar to iWeb, it appeared to be the perfect product to transition to. Even though I’ve had some bad experiences with this program, I do believe that with some changes, they can be that perfect solution.
I’ve found the best way to review a product is to truly immerse myself in the use of the product. For this review, I could have just made a test website, but that wouldn’t truly show me what it was like to rely on the product solely. So, I used it to create an actual website: ShootAnyAngle.com. Feel free to browse the site to see how cool it looks. I should also say that I was assigned this review, so I was not the original one to work out the review with the company – thus, they didn’t know I was a product reviewer. I prefer it that way so that I am treated as a customer would be, not as someone they are trying to please.
At first, it was great. The interface is so similar to iWeb that it made using it really easy. There are great features like the Image Slider, which can rotate between images at a speed of your choosing. Pages are easy to create and edit and all the templates look professional. The Image Gallery feature was great for tossing in a ton of photos so that users could easily view them. I did find that the page numbers for this feature were a bit unnoticeable, which is problematic for portfolio sites like I was building, so I hope they make that a bit better in the future (including adding the page numbers at the bottom as well as the top). The program has a great redirect feature so that if a user types in an old URL, it will redirect to the new URL. This is perfect since a lot of users are coming over from iWeb, and thus their URLs are slightly different. Just like iWeb, you can upload to a folder or directly via FTP, but I found the latter to be quite glitchy, and it didn’t work for me. I did run into several problems like this, so though the program looks great on the surface, it didn’t perform as I had hoped it would. I will state here that some of the issues have been fixed with new updates (I was reviewing the product during the time of several updates), but sadly, not all. At the time of this writing, the company had just released 1.5, build 1260.
I’ll let you in on a little product reviewer secret: we don’t want to give bad reviews. We want to love every single product we lay our hands on! Unfortunately, that can’t always be the case. While working with no problem for a few hours, the program crashed, and I lost absolutely everything. I contacted support as a regular user would do. Unfortunately, they kept coming up with reasons that were completely unrelated and irrelevant. That is my opinion as someone who has worked in the website customer support circa for several years. They never were able to resolve it, so I had to start over from scratch.
Sadly, the issues didn’t stop there (though I never did lose my work again). When I would contact them, I seemed to only receive half answers, and in my experience, that usually irritates customers, so I played the part. To test their support, I put my acting skills to the test and decided to demonstrate bit of anger as any normal customer would do when met with the type of answers I was receiving (not to mention losing an entire site’s worth of work). To be fair, I was only acting the part of a moderately irritated customer (proportionate to how I had been treated thus-far) and not that of a full-blown irrational rage-aholic like I’ve had to deal with in my own customer support history. They didn’t handle it well, and their support declined further. I know from experience that it’s not easy to deal with angry customers, but that’s the time to up the game, not to brush them aside. After all, support staffers should know that they will only angers customers if they don’t give them full answers.
On a different issue that was getting no solution, I was asked to download a software that would allow their staff full, unrestricted access to my computer and all of its contents to investigate the problem. They specifically asked that I leave the program running for a few hours so that they could investigate at their leisure. Talk about a security and privacy breach! There is nothing acceptable about that request in this day and age of hacking and identity theft. I was truly shocked to receive that email. Only after I expressed my concerns at the sketchiness of the situation did they offer to schedule an actual time slot so I could watch what they were doing. That should have been how the original request was presented to me instead of being told to just leave the program running.
I wish I could report that the support issues ended there, but they didn’t. I won’t get into all the details, but I found the answers to be consistently incomplete and leaning towards the customer being the issue rather than an update or feature being the issue (it was later proven to be the update, but they never admitted their fault). I kept trying to give them more opportunities to show me their support was up to par, but I’m sad to report that didn’t happen. I explained that my words were to improve their system, but it was not accepted as such. Still, I never revealed that I was in fact a product reviewer.
It’s a pity for the program really does show potential. I’m hopeful that the program will improve. It will be so completely wonderful once the program is removed of glitches and once a proper customer support staff can be hired. I say that because, though I am uncertain of this fact, it appears that the developers are also stuck doing the customer support in addition to developing the software. I fully, truly sympathize with that situation. As someone who has been in a similar state, I can tell you it is so hard to do customer support in addition to your normal work. Customer support is downright difficult and can definitely drain the staffer. Still, customers need to be answered fully and treated respectfully, so I hope a new situation can occur to help them out. I really do feel they will be doing great once those are handled. They are big requests, as any company will tell you, but they are crucial.
I really do think EverWeb will be a great program, but I sadly cannot recommend it at this time, especially not at the price range of $79.95 for the standalone version. I do advise readers to check back in a few months to see if things have improved. A great way to judge if the program has become effectively useable is to check the public forums.
For more information on EverWeb, visit http://www.everwebapp.com.