Harmony Review

From the moment you visit Harmony’s site, you are promised that you can “enjoy building websites again.” The graphics are relaxing and welcoming, and the site fits a great deal of information on the first page without being confusing or looking cluttered. Harmony is very clear about its selling points, all of which are real — not basic services masquerading as special benefits. It’s certainly enough to make one want to dig deeper into what Harmony has to offer.

Ease of Use

The first thing you’ll notice when you sign up is that you’re offered three choices of what to do next. You can go to Harmony 101, where a series of tutorials and documents are available to teach you how to use the system. If you’d rather learn by viewing examples, you can choose to view sample sites with explanations of what everything is. Finally, you have the option of skipping the tutorials and jumping right into making your own site. How is it possible that no other web builder has thought that people learn differently? This is nothing short of brilliant in its simplicity and should be a model for other website builders.

It might be best to use one of the teaching options, as the actual builder is, unfortunately, not very good. It’s not particularly intuitive, nor is it easy to use. Options are hidden under submenus of submenus, and the ubiquitous loading screens and poor response time for various links is atrocious and frustrating. Providing numerous learning methods is an excellent idea, but it shouldn’t be because the system is absolutely impenetrable without them.

Building

Even after you become familiar with how it all works, the building process still leaves a lot to be desired. The system is too slow, so you end up having to deal with lagging reactions to almost anything you do. This is not only irritating, but also results in the expenditure of additional time and effort to fix mistakes caused by misplacement. Not only is the system slow, it’s difficult to tell whether something you clicked on isn’t responding or if it isn’t meant to respond at all. This is because there is no indication as to whether a button is temporarily unavailable or why it might not be available at all.

The contradictory instructions are also a problem. For example, there are times when you’re told to “click or drag” something from a menu to place it on a page. However, dragging often does nothing. Same applies to clicking. You’re left to guess what will work and whether you chose wrong or whether the builder hasn’t caught up yet.

Hosting

Hosting is a fairly nebulous idea. You’re given a sub-domain and presumably a way to get a regular URL attached to it, though it’s not clear where that option is. When you sign up for one of the plans, you’re given storage space but the number of pages, blogs, links and administrators are unlimited. This is a very good thing, as it shows that Harmony is not trying to limit what can be built with the resources available. However, if your traffic gets to a somewhat fuzzy place of being “heavier-than-average,” you might be asked to upgrade plans.

Marketing

There are no specific marketing-oriented benefits to Harmony. Your best marketing tool is the ability to create almost limitless content on your site to get the attention of search engines. It takes a while, but SEO is the most reliable way to market your website these days.

Customer Support

Harmony’s customer support is much more in line with the company’s image. You can contact  either by the Feedback form inside of the builder or via email. Either way yields basically the same result. After testing with a number of problems at different times of the day, Harmony’s response times were always excellent and the representatives were very helpful. They answered questions, pointed toward supporting documentation without letting that be the only answer, and genuinely seemed to want to make sure the customer is satisfied.

Pricing

There are five plans offered by Harmony that differ only in the storage space, number of sites you can build and host, and the undefined bandwidth limitations. Otherwise, everything is the same.

$30: Comes with 2 websites and 500MB of storage.
$60: Comes with 5 websites and 2GB of storage.
$110: Comes with 10 websites and 4GB of storage.
$160: Comes with 15 websites and 7GB of storage.
$200: Comes with 20 websites and 10GB of storage.

The Good

• Teaches users how to use the system in multiple ways

• Great customer support

The Bad

• The higher priced plans are a bit high for what you’re getting

And The Ugly

• The builder is at best half-finished and needs to go back to beta in order to be made faster, more intuitive and less buggy

 

 

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