I recently tried playing with different website platforms like Salon.io and New Hive. They are free-form, “blank canvas” website building platforms that allow you to create a full website from a completely blank, template-free, page. You are given the tools and resources to add pictures, videos, gifs, text, and links, and you’re encouraged to create whatever your heart desires.
They are both great for creating artistic collage compositions, and would also function great as a photo album that could be interactive, linking off to different photos, or a gallery for your artwork, diy projects, recipes etc. With the ability to link to external sites, or link to the page from other sites, or even link back to other NewHive/Salon.io pages it is easy to creat stunning, hybrid transmedia. It could even be used in a similar way to Twine, to tell an interactive story by linking plotpoints through photo (or text link if you want). On the more serious side of things, there’s no reason why either of them couldn’t be used to create a resume that you could screenshot and print. It would allow you to make something very unique that would stand out without having to mess with MS Word templates. #yuck
New Hive lets you create a page that looks and functions more like a traditional web page, but you are the divine creator. You can add images and text, put coloured boxes or other shapes behind it to make it look nice and refined or have your text and images strewn randomly around the page. Like most things, the mechanics aren’t perfect and I ran into some frustrating moments the first and second time I attempted a creation.
Salon.io is more of a collage creator. You can add images, text, embed videos or gifs and turn images into links to different places. I played the most with Salon.io because I liked the settings and editing tools. I was also drawn away from New Hive because of how extensive it is to add content with no option for a layout generator which is super helpful for collaging lots of photos on one page.
Where I felt Salon.io was still lacking, however, was in the lack of specificity on how to add embedded videos or gifs. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the right way to add the gifs I wanted on my page. Other slightly annoying things are just small aesthetics like, poorly aligned menu fields and text boxes that get hidden by bigger images that you have to move the top image out of the way to grab the one that fell behind and move it back to the front. But, I didn’t notice anything that was a major disruption to the experience as far as I’ve played with it.
It is a fantastic experience in hybrid media creation with a whole range of freedom to make a web page exactly the way you’d like it to look and function.
Click here to check out my salon page/creation and here to see my New Hive. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you decided to try it out too and what kind of experience you had!