Tuesday, July 26, 2016

5 Reasons Why the New Google Sites Works

The new Google Sites is here. Well, almost. I've been previewing it through my GAFE account and it's growing on me. I'll admit that I was not too fond of it, at first – a little hesitant to invest time into something that'll likely change. But then I realized that if it's ready to go for this school year, delivering content will be slick.

google sites, google apps for education

I think some will like it. Some will use Sites for the first time because of the new platform. And others won't care because it's easy. Here are some more reasons why I think people will like the new Google Sites.

1. It's easy to use.

You don't need to know HTML. Everything is click and choose. There's no site manager versus edit site layout to find settings in two different places. Confusing, I know. The intuitive design is exactly what my students need, as well as my novice tech-using colleagues.


2. Layouts automatically adjust for devices.

The preview button takes you to a screen in which you can choose among mobile phone view, tablet view, or monitor view. This is nice because no matter what is changed on the site editor, the content will adjust for the device being used to access it. One less thing we have to check and manually adjust (not that it was ever too difficult). The image below shows the mobile view and the options (black background).


3. Drive integration provides options.

This is most important feature of the new Sites. You can add the contents of a folder, like a window into your Drive, or a folder itself. The old sites could do this after jumping through a few hoops, but it never looked and worked as slick as the new Sites.

The ability to add individual drive files and embed calendars and YouTube with only a few clicks is another feature that makes this version worth your time. Although this is not totally different than the old version, it's a lot easier. Adding a video without calculating aspect ratios is enough to make me happy.


4. The flat design looks professional.

Websites are about ease of use. The ornate style of some of the old Sites templates can be a bit much. Maybe once upon a time those notebook back drops or full red brick walls were the way to go. Not anymore. We want it simple and clean. That's why the content needs to be good. That's what it's all about, once the look is easy enough to draw in the user.

5. More is still to come.

In typical Google fashion, the new Sites app will have more updates. New features will probably come by way of feedback submitted by users and will require all of us to be patient. Think about how far Docs has come in the last two years. Give Sites some time, and it will be your go-to for fronting your content. I promise.

Here's a video of me messing around, making an intranet site for a social studies department.