Jux is a new (and free) way to make a website that focuses on featuring your content without the distraction of sidebars, advertising or buttons. The main thing you’ll notice about a Jux website is that each post has a high resolution background image that expands (or contracts) to fill the entire browser window. Despite having a few teething issues, Jux looks like it is going to provide a fresh alternative to the traditional blog that makes it almost impossible to make your content look bad.
A Jux homepage consists of one scrolling page of featured images from your posts displayed in three columns. The single page view of each post uses that same image as it’s background image. The post can be in the form of an image, slideshow, article, video, countdown (top 10 list) or block-quote.
When entering your content you see the changes you make to the single page view instantly. There are standard formats with each type of content but within that you get to choose your text size and colours and choose between a small number of fonts. Your images can be uploaded from your desktop or you can use your photos from Flickr or Facebook. After uploading you can then choose to put your image through an Instagram like filter for special effect. You can also share your content via email, Twitter, Facebook or embedding it elsewhere online.
Each post has a view count and while you have your own Jux web page, all Jux posts from everywhere are combined into one big stream. On the Explore Jux page you will find posts that have been specifically featured for you to browse.
There are certain limitations in using Jux for a website that you should be aware of, but I want to empahsise that most, if not all of these limitations are temporary. It is evident from the support pages that Jux is working very hard at responding to users’ feedback and despite these issues I am very excited about how Jux is evolving.
The issues are:
- links can only be made using HTML
- unpredictable image cropping
- videos support YouTube only
- you can only use a .jux domain name
- no search function
- no commenting
- only one image per article
- users cannot subscribe to your website
The main issue I experienced was that of unpredictable cropping. I found that most images appeared cropped unless the browser window was the exact ratio of the original image. This problem was particularly prominent when it came to vertical images. As you can see below, this life drawing was cropped and it was only until I re-sized my browser window inwards that I could see the whole artwork. The viewer has no way of knowing if they are seeing only part of the image – why would they? They haven’t seen the original artwork and don’t know that there is supposed to be a head and body on top of that derrière!
I am told that fixing this issue is top priority. There will be two options: to have your vertical images reposition (so important stuff remains visible) or to have them fit the entire screen. The only way around this problem at the moment is to make your portrait images landscape by adding some white-space on either side before you upload them.
Another main issue worth elaborating on is Jux’s lack of a search function. Because a Jux website has no sidebars of links or a search bar, the only way of finding a particular post is by scanning through them all. This means that effectively, a Jux website is a beautiful Twitter stream on steroids. I am told that this also is a temporary situation and that Jux is “working on ways to organize posts so they stay fresh and easy to browse”.
So if these temporary limitations aren’t a deal breaker for you, then go check out Jux. And if they are, stay tuned because Jux is constantly evolving in response to users demands and may end up being the platform you have been looking for.
UPDATE: Jux released a major update on October 11. Check out their blog post, “NEW ON JUX: THE LONG AND THE SHORT” for all the details.