x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

App of the Week: Build your web presence on your phone

With Zapd, all it takes to build your own webpage is your smartphone and index finger.

Zapd helps you build a webpage using your mobile device.
Zapd helps you build a webpage using your mobile device.

As anyone who's tried karaoke for the first time will tell you, performing on stage is harder than it looks, no matter how many thousands of hours you've logged looking (my advice for first timers by the way: pick anything from the Neil Diamond or Sheryl Crow catalogues and pray).

The same holds true for webpage creation. It's one thing to spend an entire day alternately typing "so cute" and "too cute" under your Facebook friends' baby photos, but creating a top-to-bottom site, complete with photos and text and links, still feels like it requires board certification, even though that's never really required.

For various reasons, the idea of posting content online still spooks millions, despite dozens of easy-to-use options (www.squarespace.com) that take great pains to completely shield novices from web-building scare words such as "html", "JavaScript" and "Justin Beiber" (OK, that last one scares almost everybody).

Often, however, the problem with accomplishing things isn't the dearth of options, but an overabundance of them - if you don't believe me, just give a recently engaged couple an infinite budget to plan their wedding and then sit back and enjoy the show.

The app

The smartphone app Zapd (free, iPhone, iPad; http://zapd.com/) solves this problem, allowing you to build a simple, though impressive-looking, webpage using only your mobile device and index finger. Once you're done, you can upload your new page directly to the internet (no computer required), thus successfully completing a perfectly passable webpage without ever actually possessing the knowledge or talent to do it - it's the webpage creator's Auto-Tune.

The details

Once you download the app and register, select one of the 20 webpage templates and start adding pictures (either from your smartphone's library or camera), text and links to your site right away. Zapd then generates an (unfortunately) random URL and gives you the option of informing your friends, via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail, before it merges your site onto the information superhighway at top speed.

The simple interface makes Zapd particularly useful for travel logs (or blogs), or anyone who wants to give friends and family a one-click link to always-updating content.

Don't make grandparents wait for their eight-month-old grandson to "friend" them on Facebook - just let them bookmark him instead.

Zapd has its limits (such as no video support), but in the right hands, such limits can be freeing. Now anyone can just get on the Web and be heard - just flip on the mic and follow the bouncing ball.

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae