An Introduction to Webflow
Hearing about a constant struggle between creativity and the journey to get it into the final signed off output?
Is a simple Click-and-Drag enough to get that magical output from the glut of No-Code web design tools out there? Has the code barrier been overcome and your designer can get your website ready in a jiffy?
Forrester predicts that the no-code development platform market will grow from $3.8 billion in 2017 to $21.2 billion in 2022. That’s good news, but when it comes to creative web designs – Are you satisfied with the No-code design platforms? Probably not.
However, getting creative with the desired quality with No-code may have got a bit easier now with Webflow. Let’s explore more about this buzz.
What are the common challenges in web design projects?
Designers and developers are like two separate Silos. Collaborating to get the right picture has been a pain area with even minor changes like font or text alignment taking a few weeks among the project priorities.
Digital transformation has made landing pages in-demand and needed with on-the-fly changes. Marketing on the digital front has pumped up demand for web collateral. But traditional web development collaboration takes too much turnaround time and is riddled with process inefficiencies for today's pace.
No-code website builder platforms may have been providing some relief to all these ails. Unfortunately, quality gets impacted and the creative vision is not met to the satisfaction of business objectives. The time and demand pressures have been leading to compromises.
There is a large amount of garbage CSS code that is generated with no code site builder tools in many cases - like while using absolute positioning. In some cases, there are gaps between HTML & CSS realities versus what really gets produced. Visibility of class names and creation of unused CSS classes or empty HTML tags are common.
Is Webflow the magic answer? Let’s find out.
What is Webflow?
Webflow was launched in 2013 as part of Y Combinator's startup accelerator program. One can create responsive websites with its inbuilt drag and drop tool without coding.
Webflow targets to fill the gap between no code and low code platforms like Wix, WordPress CMS, and actual web development for the front-end. Webflow provides finer control and closeness to the actual code.
The Editor panel in Webflow makes it easy for content, but a professional designer can make better use of Webflow with a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, box model (Nesting elements together like a box inside a box), and a basic understanding of flexbox (gives precise alignment and stacking control).
Why should you use Webflow?
Some of the highlights of using Webflow include the following:
- Closes the designer-developer Gap: You save time in the creation of a static mock-up design by the designer and your developer getting it ready with multiple rounds of iterative feedback and fixes.
- Quick changes: Using Webflow, one creates real HTML and CSS code that gets created for a clean web page that's ready to use with link et al if required. Changes can be done instantly with visual drag and drop tools without coding to get your final output right away.
- Easier Responsive design: Creating a mock-up website used to take many attempts to get the responsive views right across multiple devices like tablet, smartphone, and mobile. There was also the portrait and landscape view fitment. However, Webflow gives you all these outputs in a single click making it simple and easy.
- Simpler and faster interactions: Webflow provides a simpler way to explain your ideas using interactions and animations thereby helping convey your vision easily. It gives a more realistic multi-dimensional view, unlike flat mockup ideas.
- Design for content - hundreds of pages at once: With Webflow one does not need to create dummy text layouts. Here one can create a structure by giving flexibility and consistency to the end-user for content creation. Creating content types with Collections help in creating content as per requirements enabling richer and fresher content that are user-friendly.
- Team templates: Template-based approach availability with Team Templates offers speed and consistency in design. This makes creating a landing page quick and provides time to market gains. It can help stay competitive and keep pace with digital marketing efforts.
- Everyone can Update: Updates on Webflow can be done by all involved in the project from the copywriting team to marketing staff or designers themselves. This reduces the approval workflow and iterations improving the productivity of the whole team.
- Instant prototyping to product stage: Designers can skip prototyping tools and create high or low fidelity prototypes that can be changed to a final product quickly without any coding.
- Analytics add-ons: Incorporate analytics tools like Google Tag Manager and HotJar tools which are essential for today’s digital marketing.
- E-commerce enablement: Webflow E-commerce option allows for setting up e-commerce with rapid scalability.
- Automatic site backups and staging URL's: Users don’t have to worry about losing their work as work gets saved automatically with easy reverts to changes. One can also publish content to a staging URL directly before publishing on a production site.
Webflow can help make rapid changes with today's demanding pace for web collateral like website designs and landing pages. It offers more granular control over the design elements despite being a no-code platform and makes for easier and cost-effective changes and maintenance.
A few weeks is all it requires to master Webflow and once designers are empowered, there is no going back. No-code platforms are the future and it makes sense to learn and utilize this essential design tool. Start now.