Designing for the web is a complex process, there are a lot of tools out there to help or sometimes even hinder! I have found that Webflow satisfies the hand-code developer as well as the client and is ready to tackle sites of any scale.
Here is an outline of what I’ll be talking about:
What is Webflow?
Webflow provides a visual canvas that respects the designer’s creation of best practice HTML and CSS. As a result, it’s the most flexible website builder I have seen.
Webflow allows for custom design, which is what DesignChief is all about. Of course, Webflow has Templates to get you started, but its real benefit is how it allows designers to produce unique brand experiences.
It features a visual design canvas, a sophisticated Content Management System (CMS) and an easy-to-use UI which is progressing all the time. Webflow respects the complexity of website design in a way the other website builders simply do not.
Webflow uses Collections to handle database elements like blog posts, categories etc, and you can configure a Collection to contain any combination of content fields you require. Webflow’s ability to design using the Collection content is as good as it gets.
Most common website requirements can be achieved entirely through the Webflow platform without the need for endless plugins and updates. And when it comes to time to go live, Webflow can handle the domain setup and publishing.
A CMS that clients love to use!
I have designed and hand-coded websites for many years, starting before the standard approach of using a content management system (CMS). Now, most websites have content management built-in, allowing clients to edit and manage their sites, adding updates and new content without the need to involve the developer.
The trouble was that most sites that are created using a CMS are never actually updated by the client, that’s my experience anyway! Sometimes the tools were just too complex, or there was a steep learning curve or the fear of breaking the site. Either way, clients just did not use the system as intended and mostly had to go back to the developer for any updates.
This has all been changed with Webflow. Clients love to use the Webflow CMS. In contrast to non-webflow sites, I see clients using Webflow far more regularly and to better effect. And, in most cases clients can get a handle on the editing process in Webflow with help form the Webflow docs and tutorials.
Flexible and efficient workflow
As with any craft, there can be a lot of tools used in the process. Website design is no different, in fact the tools and technologies change at such a rapid pace it can be hard to define your workflow in a meaningful way.
I like the flexibility of Webflow. It can be the traditional end-phase of your website design, purely used for developing a finished static design, or it can be used to demo ideas, create high fidelity responsive mockups or as part of the planning process for the CMS content.
From a responsive design perspective, Webflow is a desktop-first tool, which means the default size is desktop and you can add device specific styles on top of the default. Webflow comes with some pre-defined breakpoints, and you can add your own if necessary. This is one of the few areas where Webflow may be improved, as many designers would prefer the option to design mobile-first.
Webflow integrations and marketing
You can add most of the functionality you need for your website without adding any custom integrations to Webflow. Blogs, eCommerce and Memberships can all be created out of the box and there is fantastic support for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Webflow has direct integrations with many useful third-party tools that make up the current website ecosystem. For anything not available as standard, you have complete control with custom code, which you can implement at either a site-wide level or for specific pages. So you can get as custom as you like if you need to.
Webflow has changed the way custom websites are built and redefined what a professional website builder platform should be. I feel that it is the closest alternative to hand-coded development but offers so much more. For the visual designer it changes what can be achieved in a no-code environment and for clients they finally have a CMS that they can love.