Mobirise is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG web designer which makes it easy to build mobile-friendly, Bootstrap 3-based websites.
The interface is stripped back, more like an app than a regular desktop program. There’s no complex menu system, no hidden right-click options, just a few buttons to click and panels to explore.
The design process starts by choosing “blocks”, the elements you’d like to include on each page: “Menu”, “Headers”, “Media”, “Content”, “Info”, “Social”, “Pricing Tables” and “Footers”. Select something, the block appears in the page area with default content. and you then customise it to suit your own needs.
Don’t be fooled by the block names: these are very limited. Media blocks can have an image, a colour, a background video or embedded YouTube/ Vimeo editor, but that’s it. A “Social” block is just an “If you like xxx, please share us on Facebook/ Twitter/ Google+” line. Menus have a single style, and apart from the item names, all you can change is the text colour and logo.
Still, this does keep everything simple to use, and there just enough options to be interesting. Embed a YouTube video, say, and you can add some descriptive text, set its alignment and position, have the video automatically play and/ or loop, set a background colour, image, video and more.
Additional pages may be added as required, including cloning an existing page (handy if you’ve spent an age sorting out the layout and now want to duplicate it across the site).
Every page updates automatically as you work, and you can switch from mobile to tablet or desktop view with a click. But if that’s not enough, a Preview button opens the site in your default browser.
When you’re finished, a Publish button saves the site to a local folder, FTP server or Google Drive.
Mobirise is short on features, and doesn’t give you many creative options. But it’s genuinely easy to use, its sites look great and work well on all platforms, and we suspect it’s going to improve significantly in the new few months as more blocks and options appear.
Mobirise is available for free on Windows XP+ and Mac.