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Cost/Time Benefit Analysis


#1

Ok, long post... sorry!

I'm interested to know how designers are REALLY using Webflow.

I love this program a lot but I'm having a hard time working it into my existing workflow with developers. I feel like I'm a salesman for the product. I would love to hear a real-world scenario where a designer is working seamlessly with a developer and making this program work to their benefit... and I'm talking more about enterprise-level sites, less about brochure-level sites.

I'm a designer more than a developer and I love the control I have with my layouts using Webflow.

The Webflow homepage says "Forget Photoshop" ...I actually use Illustrator for web design, but I get what you're saying there. Overall, working within Webflow is a lot more cumbersome than using a free flow program like Illustrator. The more I use Webflow, the faster I get and the more I rely on styling to create custom artwork.

Obviously designers are still going to have to fall back on art programs to create more illustrative graphic elements, and then work them into their Webflow projects. We'll be straddling 2-3+ programs to create a final project.

So, designers, are you designing from scratch in Webflow, or are you creating your sites using the old Photoshop (or Illustrator) comp method and then putting them back together in Webflow? Are you simply creating small graphic elements in these programs and then bringing them into Webflow?

This is where things get messy for me. I still create my comps in Illustrator because of the speed and the reassurance that a design is approved by the client before moving forward with development. Typically, once a design is approved I just hand my files over to be coded up by a professional. This new step of piecing the pages together in Webflow is awesome and gratifying, but it's another (rather big) step for me to throw into my workflow.

So lets say I've banged out my homepage and my accompanying templates using Webflow and I'm ready to hand over to have the developer tie in database info, CMS and other back-end stuff, launch the site, whatever. So far, the Webflow work I've done is mostly throw away to them. They're still asking me for the Illustrator or Photoshop files. They still like to build things out their own way. They're still charging me the same as if I'd just handed over a layered Photoshop file. I've attempted to work out "deals" with them to make my Webflow efforts worth the time, and keep my designs tight. But it's just not connecting, and my hours rack up. The developers I work with are pros.

Are they just not interested in adapting to change? Am I just an annoying designer overstepping my role?

I'm hearing that the code is not to their liking. I feel like I'm using best practices when I'm using Webflow. Not doing anything crazy, just basic structure and styling... maybe a few suggested interactive transitions here and there. Do I need to shop around for new developers who will work with my Webflow code?

Again, I'm loving the program. Would just like to hear some success stories from users who work with back-end developers on enterprise-level sites... if you're out there. Since using Webflow, have you successfully gotten you're developers to work with you on how much they charge for front-end work?


#2

I fixed your wall 'o text for you =).


My workflow with Webflow:

  1. Gather all client assets
  2. Create wireframe
  3. Instead of going to photoshop/illustrator to mock something up, I use Webflow to create an basic HTML/CSS/Interaction design
  4. Once approved, export that code from Webflow and put it into a dev enviroment. (This is where Web Devs can take the basic code that Webflow outputs and start connecting it to databases, JSON, etc..)

Our Senior Online Designer does all the photo retouching and vector graphic designs. But, once complete, I upload them into my Webflow project so we can both see how it looks in the allotted space.

This could be why. There are people out there that like to think "if it works, why fix it?" But in the world of web, more people should think "if it works, how can we improve it?"

The role of a web designer changes everyday. For years we were told to design inside of photoshop. But now, as tools become cheaper and better, we as designers start to learn basic code that could sometimes go into a role of a front-end developer.

If people get mad at you for trying to make things better, it might be because they are scared that their own job is in jeopardy. This is what I have experienced in my 10 year career.

So no. I don't think you're overstepping your role. But, if you want to convince someone or even a whole department, you'll need to make a presentation with concrete numbers and reasons why the current workflow is old and busted, and webflow is the new hotness.


#3

cool. thanks for your reply!
Are you creating your wireframes in Webflow and getting internal approval on those before moving into hi-fi mode?

Would love to hear from others designers out there. My situation is a little different than PixelGeek's, in that, I work for a design firm (with no developers) who partners with outside development firms, in-house development teams, and freelance developers.. upwards of ten (or more) different partnerships... I have a little convincing to do of this new hotness.

It's still a no-brainer to me because Webflow output is more valuable than a Photoshop comp any day. The challenge is leveraging that value into cost savings from these partnerships.


#4

no. I use good ol' fashioned pen/paper or whiteboard and marker.


#5

excellent. I like that.


#6

Hi, I'm a designer and not a coder or developer.

First I wire-frame. I've been using NinjaMock for that, but also pencil and paper.
ve elements
Then I go straight to Webflow and design within that, side-stepping photoshop completely, except for the small graphics and cropped and optimised elements that have to be done in photoshop. Then in theory hand over the exported code to the developer.

One of the big advantages for me is that at the design stage you can incorporate active elements, and really show your client how the site looks and functions.

Photoshop just can't do that, it's so static and also doesn't render things in the same ways as a browser; and to be frank I also find photoshop far from ideal for designing anyway.

But I too have encountered the developer problem and it arose with the last site I did. I had done the whole thing in web flow, handed the code over to the developer who then refused to work on it and insisted on having photoshop comps. He said the code was not clean. So I had to go back and redo the thing again in photoshop, I wasted a lot of time and lost quite a lot of money.

Is it that developers are resistant to some new and different, or is it that the web flow code is not as good as they say it is.

I don't know.

It'll be interesting to know of others experiences and also have any comment by web flow.


#7

Just curious, did the client want something in the site that could not be implemented in Webflow? What was the primary reason that a developer had to be involved in the process at all?


#8

Well, it had to go to a developer for several reasons. The site was to be hosted by Aruba in Italy rather than by Webflow itself, the initial design was to be used as template for further sites in english and german. That in itself wouldn't rule out Webflow, but the client needed a cms system too and decided upon Drupal and so a developer was needed to do that.

The only comment I got back was that the code was 'not semantic' and that he wanted psd files.

(I was basically using Webflow to visualise the site and was hoping the code would be helpful/useful as a kind of bonus).

As far as I can tell, the only thing that Webflow cannot and could not do is provide for a CMS when the site is hosted away from Webflows own servers. A not uncommon scenario I would imagine?


#10