Shortly after I launched my Smugmug website, the company announced a complete overhaul of their entire platform. Since their big announcement on July 30th, I've been on the fence about moving to the new Smugmug and leaving behind all the work I did on the old platform. I spent this past weekend digging into the new Smugmug and ended up not only redesigning my Smugmug website, but also my Squarespace website. I did this partly because I was already thinking about updating my Squarespace design and partly because I didn't want to try and make new Smugmug look like old Smugmug. Updating both websites simultaneously also ended up being less time consuming than making Smugmug look like Squarespace. Overall, I'm extremely happy with how the entire redesign turned out.
So what do I think of the new Smugmug? The short answer is that it is definitely a move in the right direction. They went to a template model, similar to Squarespace, and in the process made the customization process much easier. The templates they offer are all beautiful and really let photographers showcase their images. Instead of having to rely on custom HTML and CSS, the new Smugmug lets users insert content blocks on various sections of the page. While those that want advanced customizations can still use HTML and CSS, I think most users will be very happy with what can be accomplished using the new drag and drop interface.
To tell you the truth, the new Smugmug reminds me a lot of Squarespace. Both services now provide attractive templates as a starting point and allow users to customize as much or as little as they want. All from a simple and easy to use interface. Both companies also offer free trials, so if you're looking to build a new website or for a place to host and showoff your images, I suggest you check them out.