Over the summer, I’ve been reading a few books about Peak Oil, the Energy Crisis, Renewables and other such engaging subjects. I also thought it was a good time to start experimenting with some of the new Advanced Design features in OfficeLive Small Business. So what I did was put a small website together showcasing Office Live Small Business and also highlighting the potential ecological dilemma we all face. Have a look at the end result at www.eco-crisis.co.uk.
The first thing you may notice is that this website looks quite different from other Office Live Small Business sites you might have seen or built yourself. The reason is that the Advanced Design mode has been switched on to reveal some features not previously available:
Once the Advanced Design features have been activated, you’ll immediately notice that each webpage has an extra option of “Save as template”. This allows the designer to build a new page with its own unique features, and then save it as a template which can then be re-used for subsequent pages for the site.
By clicking on properties for a webpage, it’s now possible to reveal options to completely remove the website header, footer and even the navigation. For my site, I decided to lose everything except the footer (of which I changed the colour, more on that later).
Similarly, when in Site Designer, clicking on Options brings up the opportunity to change not only the page width and alignment, but also to decide whether to display the page frame colour, the “Powered by Microsoft Office Live” logo and the Windows Live Search box.
Things start getting really interesting when you click on the “Style sheet” button in Site Designer. This feature exposes the default CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) that your Office Live small Business website uses to display all the templates.
In Advanced Design mode, you not only have the ability to modify the CSS but also to completely over-ride it.
Now, I don’t claim to be any sort CSS expert, in fact quite the opposite. However, by doing a bit of reading up on this online tutorial, borrowing some ideas from the CSS section of this tips & tricks website and reading the CSS and branding guide for OLSB available here, I managed to change colour schemes, alter page widths, change the way hyperlinks display, and so on.
I’d recommend spending a bit of time experimenting with this powerful new set of features in Office Live Small Business. If you already have a site and don’t want to risk messing things up, just create another Windows Live ID and sign up for a new free site at http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/?lc=2057&cloc=en-gb.
Have fun !