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An Open Letter to Webflow

New user to webflow, and although I hope the above things improve (i am sure they will), this thread hasn’t put me off, the pro’s still outweigh the con’s when assessing against the competition.

However, I don’t intend to build huge sites initially, maybe if I did, I may have to re-think until the above was resolved.

I do intend to get into ecommerce in the not too distant future though, and hopefully I can use WF (if the improved functionality allows), as opposed to having to use shopify, as I want to try and keep all my business in one place and become an expert on one software, rather than being half decent at a few.

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After reading this thread and spending days fighting with something that should be a simple task I have to whole-heartedly agree with so much of it. I have used webflow since the early days and a site that I built with webflow and the finsweet library was recently featured on billboard Country Music. But, since the early days, there has had to be workarounds for the CMS components. Sliders, lightboxes, tags, filtering, basically everything finsweet has built. That stuff should have built-in fucntionality by now.

Before finsweet came out with their CMS slider solution I used a jquery called cycle2.js and made a whole tutorial on how site to build with it. Even without video tutorials people are still cloning it https://cms-slider-and-cycle2js.webflow.io/ because this is one of the things that Webflow never bothered making work fully. @Siton_Systems @webdev @samliew and @Diarmuid_Sexton have been instrumental in helping me and others figure this bits of jquery and javascript over the years.

I actually still use cycle2 js because it is still more powerful and customizable than the finsweet solution. I wouldn’t even think of making a full blown functional blog on webflow. And that multi-image feature might appear great on the surface it is actually next to useless when applied with the CMS collections. These are things that when i look back how much time I’ve spent working around solutions based on all the limitations of the CMS make me re-evaluate. I know people like 3rd party solutions as add ons but for instance membership sites. Why would I use webflow when bubble exists and is designed to do multi-user login and setup? Yes there are limitations to the design with other options but above all else when someone goes to a site they care about functionality. That core component seems to be missing form all the current marketing strategy.

Yeah the e-commerce webflow solution didn’t really pan out. I used webflow because I thought it was easy for clients to update things themselves with next to no computer knowledge. Just input the right data in fields. Unfortunately the editor has even gotten more limited so links can’t even be changed. And why can’t a client update a pdf? This thread has given me a lot to think about. The competition is already there for webflow. And it doesn’t have to do a lot more than take the components Webflow has and make them actually work to surpass it at this point. Years ago webflow was in a league of its own. That is not the case anymore.

it actually makes me sad realizing that tonight as I fight with the functionality or lack there of to building another image gallery…

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Great/Important Post! Thanks.

The problem is not only related to mega-features (Customer Account -or- Multi-language), but also to micro-features.

Anyway, webflow team Doing a great job.

MICRO example

Category post count (Useful? YES, Famous UI pattern? YES).
image

10 things missing on webflow Blogging system:
https://forum.webflow.com/t/10-missing-features-webflow-vs-wordpress-blogging-cms-system/116739

About this:

I work on webflow a lot and it is very rare for me that the system crashes (Try to work on Chrome Incognito - also check your internet connection speed).

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Yeah this part. Webflow needs to spend time making the things it already has truly functional. If they did that it would be a vast improvement to where things are headed.

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@Siton_Systems you cropped the sentence in your quote too early, see below…
This is my personal experience and might be different for you, I’m not arguing this. However considering how many others are reporting stability/performance issues, it’s clearly something systemic Webflow needs to work on ASAP.

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Thank you for the link, @Brittni_at_Webflow.

I sincerely hope at this meeting with yourself, Jiaona, and Vlad will have material & concrete plans about the entirety of Webflow and its systemic problems of under-development and under-support. The repeat “marketing” updates we seem to get feel like a slap in the face (e.g,. shouting into the abyss of Customer Support, the Wishlist, and the Forums).

I think many will only be looking at one answer: “Does this Q2 2021 update show Webflow continuing its complacent trajectory of 2018+ or is anyone at Webflow HQ serious enough to put their foot down for customers?”

I’d like to see someone at Webflow HQ put their foot down and say, “Our company has screwed up, here’s why (e.g,. we kept bolting on major features without technical leadership), and here is our concrete plan to fix it.”

#1 Issue: Under-Development

  1. Fixing the countless bugs (Designer panels, CSS, Interactions, CMS, API)
  2. Stabilizing the Designer back-end (stunningly poor performance, especially with CMS, on $3000+ developer machines on fiber internet on pristine browsers. Webflow crashes more often than Adobe Premiere Pro, which is saying something)
  3. Adding a modicum of the vast oceans of missing features, some promised and some bizarrely absent (CMS, Interactions, Assets, Pages, SEO, images, etc.); Webflow should leave the single landing page paradigm. Structural nesting, template pages, dynamic pages beyond the CMS, multi-lingual, etc.). For example, why are CMS images…not available in the Asset Manager? Who decided that?

#2 Issue: Under-Support

  1. Days-long delays on serious customer support issues, Webflow Customer Support unable to diagnose serious problems much further than Webflow University. Anything more complex?
  2. The Wishlist does not recognize customer feedback as serious platform limitations. Repeatedly, Customer Support tells you, “Put it on the Wishlist”, while Webflow just about struck out the 2nd-most popular Wishlist item in the history of Webflow two months ago. Not to mention the non-sensical updates: “User / membership back-end will help multi-lingual! Nope, not doing multi-lingual actually any time soon!”
  3. The just haphazard, overlapping, and Swiss hole cheese documentation: some platform limitations are only on the forums (why, just why), others only through Customer Support, others only on the YouTube channel. I’ve had a Webflow employee explain a platform limitation and immediately delete their forum post within minutes.

A genuine apology and a suggestion (will it ever happen? doubtful) deleted. Is this documented anywhere? How should new users know Interactions are purely JavaScript injecting CSS upon click? It just says “Interactions”. If Webflow supports two competing animation systems, tell users in your Documentation how they might clash. We shouldn’t need to trawl your forum posts to learn this.

//

What I expect, unfortunately, from the meeting next week:

  1. Some positive updates on membership logins, some four years later, but with tight limitations, an unexpectedly high price (2x hosting?), poor Designer performance, and/or a very slow quarters-long rollout. By 2022, it should be mostly ironed out?

  2. Some copy-paste of what Webflow has written in 2019, 2020, and 2021. “We screwed up communicating [not developing]. We’re working on big things. It’s just hard to get into the weeds right now. Trust us. Action is coming!”

  3. Admissions of some problems purely focused on “we aren’t communicating well”, with loose plans and even looser commitments on development & support of the Designer.

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Thank you for your feedback and know that we are reading everything and listening to all of what our community is telling us. We hope that you will attend this Community Update with an open mind and give us a chance to show you what we’ve been working on and of course how you can all help us become a better Webflow.

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Had to lol at that one. Clearly there’s an infrastructure thing there between static and dynamic content, but from a UX point of view it’s so silly and frustrating… :sweat_smile:

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I totally disagree.
We don’t have the crashes, we don’t have the speed issues, and we find that the overall value proposition is ultra compelling - far beyond any of the other platforms available.

The user thing needs to get figured out though - we need users.