Way back last year when we started building our own CMS, we had this crazy pipe dream of releasing it as a paid monthly service for new companies, start-ups, freelancers and small businesses to build their own web sites with at a low cost and, perhaps most importantly, with it not ending up looking like a complete mess in the process. Finally – finally! – our aspiration is starting to become a reality and I’m really excited and proud to announcing that we’ve just launched a teaser site for the forthcoming product. It’s called Kong and we think it’s pretty awesome.
Of course, there are other web site creator tools out on the market and I’m not crazy (or arrogant) enough to suggest that we’re going to take them all down or somehow reinvent the marketplace. But we knew this from day one. In fact, we’ll be content to just get a tiny little slice of the pie and leave the hustle and bustle of ferocious commercial marketing to those businesses with large investments and deep pockets. Ultimately we’re not in it for the money. And yes, I may come to regret saying those words later.
Kong is, I guess in both ideals and reality, a labour of love born out of the simple concept that there must be a better way of editing content on web sites. Most content management systems have a lot to offer but tend to be flawed in the fact that they still rely on simple text boxes and WYSIWYG editors (I’m using one now) for users to input and edit their content, making it extremely difficult to not only see what you’re doing but also create a variety of layouts. They’re fine for developers and web enthusiasts but your average Joe struggles with them, especially when trying to edit anything more complex than a stream of text with a few styles and full width images (just like this blog post you’re reading now).
Fact is, CMS’ are more tools for developers now than for end users and ironically contribute to the loss of importance being placed on content that we’re seeing today, perhaps due to the difficulties they pose to non-techies. We want to bring the focus of content back to the end user.
So, following our truly insane mantra of the long hard stupid way, we came up with this idea for creating a new CMS, our own CMS, where editing content was incredibly easy and an actual true representation of what you see on screen. We wanted it to be utterly simple to use, so simple that the site being edited couldn’t ever be broken, yet still gave the user the degree of control and freedom needed to create a wide variety content as they saw fit.
But I’m waffling. Long story short, we also see Kong as an opportunity for professionals who lack large budgets to get their own great looking and effective web site up and running quickly and easily. As I said before, whilst there a fair amount of web site builder tools already out on the market many are either surprisingly difficult to use or spam the user with features and options, resulting in complete overload. We did a lot of market research and I saw some cases of people spending hours with some of these tools trying to ‘design’ (sorry, finger must’ve slipped on the apostrophe key there) their own web site, failing miserably and ending up with something that looked like a dog just vomited the screen. That’s something we’re going to make impossible.
Of course, not all of the online web site creator tools out there are bad and there are indeed some really good ones (c’mon, do you really expect me to name them here?) but, again, we’re content to find out own feet and carve our own niche. We’re following the Apple way of high quality and excellent design, trying to create a user experience that’s a pleasure to use with the right balance between freedom and control. We’re also focusing on template designs that suit professionals rather than individuals and stick to our ideology of clean, progressive, content driven thinking. As such they’re all going to be highly customisable rather than configurable (i.e. you can’t break them) and responsive, right down to mobile level.
So that’s a brief glimpse into part of what we’ve been doing for the past nine months. If you want to be one of the first people to try Kong then you can head over to teaser page and sign up for the free beta. The video’s rather nice too.