Updated: Mar 29
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Wix, our favourite drag and drop website design tool, has just released a new Wix Editor (in August 2022). The new Wix Editor comes with loads of new features, the most prominent and with much fanfare from Wix, is the ability to create sections. In this article, we will take a look at the new Wix Editor, and the features that have been added since the last version.
Wix invited the Wix Partners to participate in their online event to show off the new Wix Editor. The event was hosted by Yaara Asaf, Head of Product for Wix Editor and started with a short video presented by Aviya Sela and Nerri Shelan, Wix Product Managers. The video showed off some of the new features in the Wix Editor and after the explainer video, there was a panel discussion with Oded Nachshon, Head of Wix Editor, David Schwartz, VP Product and Hagit Kaufman, VP Design. Yaara, Aviya and Nerri then took questions from the Wix Partner community.
All About Sections
New Features of Sections
The new Wix Editor comes with the ability to add and design sections. Sections are described as,
"Horizontal, full width building blocks that divide your page into meaningful content pieces".
Essentially, a grouping of elements that are treated as a single unit. This means that you can move, duplicate, or delete a section without affecting the other elements on the page.
Sections can contain all of the traditional elements of the Wix editor, including strips, images, videos, text and anything else you would normally use to create a website.
At first glance, a section doesn't seem that new. It looks like a strip, right? However, there are some major differences in the way they work.
The first feature that is a bit of a silent hero is the area in the top right corner where you can name your section.
"Why would I need to name a section" I hear you ask. Well, it turns out that we can now link directly to sections. This is a great feature, how many times have you found that your page anchors have shifted when you have changed something further up the page. No more page anchors needed to link to a section of a page!
Anchors still exist, and if you need to link to part of a page half way through a section, using an anchor is still the best way to do that. During the Q&A's towards the end of the event, the Wix team mentioned that they are working on a feature to allow you to link directly to sections from external links, something that almost everyone I know that uses Wix has been asking for, we'll be keeping an eye out for that amazing feature.
Wix has also created a number of pre-designed sections that can be added to your site. These sections can be customized to your liking and provide a quick way to add a professionally designed section to your website.
Another feature of Sections is the Quick Action bar on the right hand side. Wix told us that with the quick action bar, we can easily move the sections around on the page, as well as editing the content of the section, without having to touch any of the on page elements. The Quick action bar also has the option to explore new layouts, while keeping the content of the section intact.
Let's take a look at them in action.
I love this feature!
I work with a lot of clients, who don't like going in to make changes in the editor, incase they move things around. This option now gives them the choice to go in, and make changes to text and other elements, without having to worry about changing the design of the page.
How do the New Sections Perform for Speed?
When it comes to new features, the most important question we should ask is, "Will it make my site faster or slower?"
Let's run some speed tests, so we can find out!
I started out by creating 2 identical sites. One with the old Wix editor, using strips and another with the new Wix editor, using sections. I created both sites identically. They are both single page sites, each made up with 3 parts. A welcome strip/section, an about strip/section and an our team strip/section.
I chose the page elements from the pre designed sections in the new editor and then carefully rebuilt them in the old version of the editor, so they are identical. Essentially, they are both exactly the same page, the only difference is one is made using sections and the other is not.
How do you think they performed?
The first speed test was GTMetrix.
The winner of the GTMetrix speed test is Site 2! The new editor version.
You can see from the results that across the board the performance is better. Most noticeably is the LCP (Largest content paint). From 2.8 seconds for the site created with the old editor, to 367ms for the new editor. That's a huge difference, imagine what the results would mean for your website if you could cut the current speed by over 7 times.
BUT! We can't just take one speed test as facts. Let's try it again with a different site speed test. This time we used Google's own PageSpeed Insights
You can see in the results that again, the overall performance was better and the LCP was significantly faster!
I can't explain at this point why adding sections to the page would make it faster, but maybe if someone from Wix is reading this post they can jump into the comments section below and let us know the answer.
The New Site Design Panel
The next feature they announced isn't really a "new" feature. The Site design panel. Anyone that has been using Wix for a while will know that this feature has been available for some time.
Nevertheless, it's still a great tool that can be really handy when you need to make changes.
Here's what Wix said about it during the event
"Site design allows you to set up and control the theme of your whole site from one place".
The tab in the main left hand menu is called 'Site Theme' and it allows you to change colours and fonts through the site design panel and it will update all related elements for the whole site. You can find loads of featured themes, that are designed by the Wix in house design experts. All of the featured themes are compliant with accessibility standards.
This feature could be handy to make quick changes, but I would err on the side of caution. Making bulk changes to fonts and text size could end up moving elements around on the pages, especially when it comes to mobile site design. If you do use this theme editor to make changes, then it's always a good idea to check through all of the pages of your site for formatting.
Mobile Editor - Mobile only design options
The new Wix editor features the ability to add and design elements directly to the mobile editor, that will only appear on the mobile site. Again, for frequent Wix users, you will know that this feature has been active for quite some time now, but that doesn't take away from just how good this new option is.
Optimising your site for mobile is probably the single most important thing you need to do, if you want to improve your chances of ranking in Google. Mobile first indexing has been in place at Google since 2018 and it means that they will use your mobile site as the primary version when deciding where to rank your pages.
How many times have you tried to edit text on the mobile editor, only to find out that content can only be changed on the desktop version? Wix has fixed this with this new feature. You can now edit text and elements directly in the mobile editor, without having to duplicate all of your content in both the desktop and mobile versions of Wix. This will save you a lot of time when it comes to making changes, especially if you have a lot of content on your pages.
You can also add new elements that will only appear on the mobile site. This could come in handy if you want to use a different call to action or images on the mobile version.
This feature is simple to use, all you have to do is hide the elements you don't want on your mobile site, and then head to the 'Add' button in the left side menu, and chose the elements you want to add. You can add anything that is a design feature, including text, images, buttons, decorative lines & shapes, container boxes, social widgets and even embedding custom code.
Once they are added, they will only appear on your mobile site and won't affect your desktop site at all.
New Gradient backgrounds
This feature is AMAZING! If you haven't already discovered the gradients then you are missing out.
"This is a feature you will not find on any other platform"
There are two ways to design gradients.
First up is the gradient tab, this lets you design linear or radial gradients. You can select the colours you want to fade through and the Wix gradient editor will take care of the rest. You can change the look of the gradient with the sliders in the gradient editor and create something that is unique to your site and perfect for your design.
Then there's the fluid gradient tab, where you can create complex and unique fluid gradients.
You might have seen them literally just about EVERYWHERE at the moment. Fluid gradients are more popular now than they have ever been!
Just make sure you don't over do the colour combinations when it comes to creating fluid gradients. Less is more and subtle fluid gradients often work the best.
Here's how to access and use the gradients editor on Wix.
They are really easy to use and you can create some really stunning effects. Make sure to check them out and have a play with the gradient creator to see what you can do for your site.
Q&A Session at the New Wix Editor Event
Wix closed out the event with a live Q&A session, with questions from Wix Partners that had been submitted during the event.
Q: Are sections mandatory when building a site?
A: Sections are mandatory in the sense that everything between header and footer is a section. They highly recommend creating different sections for each part of a page, to take advantage of the new section features.
Q: When will the new version be live?
A: All new users are automatically getting access to the new version of the editor. For existing sites they are in the stages of rolling it out, so if your site hasn't been updated yet, it will be soon.
Q: How will sections work on my existing website?
A: Sections will be added to existing sites automatically. Live site won't be affected and visitors won't notice that anything has changed.
Q: Can I link my site menu to a specific section?
A: Yes, you can currently link to pages, sections and anchors. Also planning in future to be able to create direct links to section from external links.
Q: If I like a section I have built can I use it in a different site?
A: Yes you can, save it into your saved sections and then you can use it on any site you work on.
Q: Are sections responsive?
A: Sections are designed to work well for mobile. They retain the same grouping of elements, which was one of the main problems before switching to sections.
Q: In the site design tool, can theme kits be created and saved?
A: The theme will be saved to the current site, but can't be saved to use on other sites. this may be added in the future.
Q: Quick edit: Can I set permission for someone to edit content only?
A: No. but possibly in the future.
Q: Velo: Will sections be codeable?
A: Yes, Sections have their own API functionalities, and sections can be included in Velo code such as collapse/expand
Here at NX Digital, we can confirm the answer to the last question. We did some Velo coding work over the weekend to create a Mega Menu for a client who has the new editor. The whole coded element worked the way we expected it to work, and the client has not had any issues with it.
All in all we think the new Wix Editor is a great addition to Wix. The fact that it is automatically being rolled out to all new users is fantastic, as it means that everyone using Wix will have access to the same features and functionality. The interface is clean and easy to use, and the new features are really helpful.
The new Sections are going to take some getting used to, especially if you use Wix a lot for your day to day work. The way you move, resize and place strips has changed, and it could be a little frustrating to work out while you get used to the changes, but we think they are ultimately going to be a great addition to Wix websites. The ability to easily move and rearrange elements within sections is fantastic, and the new features like fluid gradients are really going to help Wix websites stand out from the crowd. During the live event, the Wix management kept hinting at new features and capabilities that will be possible due to the addition of sections, and we can't wait to see what Wix comes up with next.
What's your opinion of the new Wix editor? Take part in this quick poll to let us know.
What are your thoughts on the new Wix editor? Do you love sections? let us know in the comments below!
Here's the full recording of the live event by Wix.
Thanks for reading!
NX Digital is a web design agency that specialises in Wix design and development, as well as SEO for your Wix site. If you need help with your Wix website why not request a free Wix site Audit. We'll take a look at your site and give you some tips on how to improve it.