There are lots of ways to build a website these days, between services like Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and a whole host of other solutions. Universe is a new startup looking to make that process even easier, with a platform that’s built entirely around an iPhone app that promises to “make a website in under a minute,” as detailed TechCrunch.
To build a site, users are directed to first choose a domain name (URLHERE.onuniverse.com, for example). Domains that include Universe’s URL are free, while custom domains are available to purchase through the app for $2.99 a month if your choice is available. Then, Universe presents a series of templates based around a simple 5 x 3 grid, with a variety of categories (including a personal landing page for social media links, party invitations, and a simple site for listing a business address and hours), which can be personalized further with text, links, icons, and custom backgrounds.
Having taken the app for a quick spin, it largely holds up to that “under a minute” promise — I was able to throw together a quick site for finding my Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts with relatively little effort. The interface is simple, and not overly complex in terms of functionality beyond text and links. It’s incredibly easy to use for those with no web design skills — there’s only the single grid format to use, and adding or removing things is just a matter of dragging and dropping. While other site-building companies like Wix and Squarespace require a measure of choosing a theme and customizing pages and options, Universe distills the process down to the simplest level possible.
As it stands now, the sites you can generate aren’t particularly robust — they’re essentially simplified About.me pages — but the extremely low barrier of entry in generating a quick site is a fun idea.
Universe is only available on iOS (there’s no other way to build a site, even on a desktop computer) and is free to download now.