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Webflow site's redesign is beautiful and ineffective


#1

Along with the new features and new pricing, Webflow comes with a totally redesigned web site. I am certain all these changes are tons of excitement for the Webflow team. But I personally, as a paying customer, do not feel that much excited.

Here's why: it's been a long wait. No doubt - innovative features and quality do take time. That's fine. Problem is quality is not that much great, after that much wait.

Why is quality not that much great - well, take the new placement of symbols and the new way of moving elements in the Navigator. Symbols are not displayed on a list and do not have that even as an option. Moving elements the new way is difficult for me personally and I cannot even get what is the specific problem Webflow have tried to address with changing the way of moving them.

Both of those are not such a big deal on their own. But I'd expect top-notch UI from Webflow. Not such obvious flaws.

Then we have the pricing: https://webflow.com/pricing. Graphic design is beautiful. Usability is ugly. Webflow's pricing page has always been over-complicated. This time is not an exception, either :frowning:

"I just need one web site" vs "I regularly design sites" vs "I am part of a team" !?!? These are neither gradated, nor mutually exlusive, so as to set them as three distinct categories. I could be both regularly designing sites and a part of a team. I could even be regularly designing one single web site, in a team.

Each of those three categories opens three more choices. Ouch guys, what is this? Things are so mixed now, it's even worse than before! As a regular Webflow user I can hardly calculate what an account with two team members would cost me if I want to have all other features on. I have to click here and there, go back and forward, it's a mess.

Just think what a prospective user would get out of this. Has anyone done any usabilty testing on this? Or was it the all-in-one designer/ usability/ front-end who decided this was clean and smart enough?

This pricing page is a disaster. Don't get me wrong, it hurts me to say it. If you do not believe me, just do some testing with users.

And then, the whole redesign of the site - it's beautiful, great, but is it worth the time spent? You could have invested those man-hours into improving the Webflow system itself. People do not subscribe to Webflow because Webflow's main site is beautiful and modern. They (we) subscribe because of the capabilities of the tool. And what was wrong with the initial site design, anyway?

On top of that, your main page is a usability disaster, as well. One cannot get the idea what Webflow is about in the first five seconds. Yet, one is prompted to sign up. This is so simplistic and not smart.

Give the user a temptation to sign up and s/he will do it. Do not push the sign-up form up his/ her face. In the initial version of the Webflow site, the temptation was there - a list of top-features and that animation effect of showing the code. Now we have some blah-blah text: "Visually develop dynamic, responsive websites, then launch them with a click. Or export your clean, semantic code to hand off to your developers." What the hell...

Is this going to be the future of Webflow - prolonged feature development, increasing pricing (requiring a university degree to figure out), UI losing its finesse... ?


#2

woah. steady on there cowboy!


#3

I think it's important to share your opinions, but I don't think you've given a fair representation of the redesign or of webflow as a whole.

...quality is not that great and some new things are useless."

Firstly, the quality of the app is outstanding. No other "wysiwyg site builder" produces such quality markup with as much ease and extensibility via export, integrations, and custom code. As to the "new" things you mention—namely, granular UI improvements, e.g. relocating symbols to a more logical place—those will have a huge cumulative effect, not just on how veterans use the app but on its intuitiveness for new users.

To put it frankly, I don't think the flaws you mention are as obvious or as significant as you presume.

You say the pricing page is over-complicated, but to me it's obviously a simple way to introduce pricing structure:

  • If you only have the need to build one site, then the free tier with hosting is probably enough.

  • A professional designer will probably need additional features that the average new user coming from, say, Wix or a similar drag-n-drop builder may not fully understand, much less want to touch.

  • And then the team pricing should be there for, well, a team of designers... not just someone who works on a team more generally (which is most people, even freelancers to a degree).

It's a simpler page, showing just the features needed for the people who need them in most cases, which is all you can hope to do. It's not confusing: team is $35/month per person, same as pro.

You might be right that usability testing needs to be done... but what if you're wrong? What if they've tested it already with good results? I think you're assuming a little to much in your criticism.

As to whether we can understand the product on the home page, I give you... the home page copy:

A completely visual way to build for the web
Visually develop dynamic, responsive websites, then launch them with a click. Or export your clean, semantic code to hand off to your developers.

That's pretty instantaneous for me. And as to the sign up form, putting it up front makes perfect sense when there's a free tier for all new users.

As for pricing more generally, I think Webflow's making better choices than many people in the forums give them credit for. As a user who hopes for longevity with the product, I want this company to be profitable as hell—otherwise they'll be gone, and lower pricing structures won't help me out if there's no app left at all.


#4

Well, just do the "interface maths" - tell me how many clicks and scrolls and cognitive tasks you need to do, before figuring out what it'd cost to have a team of two for one static web site on its own domain and one dynamic web site on its own domain?

With this kind of pricing Webflow would not be profitable as hell.


You might be right that usability testing needs to be done... but what if you're wrong? What if they've tested it already with good results? I think you're assuming a little to much in your criticism.

I keep recommending Webflow to various IT professionals all the time and I train people in it. I have long-time observations over Webflow's ease of use to completely new users. Therefore I'd be happy to learn that other tests contradict my observations and that the users I've observed are a tiny sample of some cognitive exception.


#5

I have long-time observations over Webflow's ease of you to completely new users. Therefore I'd be happy to learn that other tests contradict my observations and that the users I've observed are a tiny sample of some cognitive exception.

Sorry, you had been talking about usability testing on the main page, which is what I was referring to when I said you might have been too quick to judge whether or not they'd done user testing.

Talking about the UI inside of the app is a whole different story, but I'm pretty confident that anyone who is familiar with the CSS box model and/or willing to watch a few minutes of the tutorials Webflow offers can figure even out fairly quickly how to get started, at least with a template if not with a blank slate (speaking from personal experience, both of myself and from watching others use it, so that's all purely anecdotal but seems pretty fair if you ask me).

Can you explain what you find unclear about their copy:

"Visually develop dynamic, responsive websites, then launch them with a click. Or export your clean, semantic code to hand off to your developers."

I think it's a well-written intro that covers the bases for amateurs and pros alike.

As to the mathematics of signing up, if you have a team I think it's fair to say you'd just have to scroll a little farther in the team section to answer your question. So that's one click, a little scrolling, and then maybe another click to "view full comparison" if you're still unclear.

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

What makes you say they wouldn't be on the road to profitability? They're increasing revenue per user as user-base dramatically increases, all while developing and releasing new features which will increase user-base even more and most likely lead to additional premium add-ons. And all with a pretty small team.


#6

In order to assess UI/ copy more or less objectively, you need to observe actual novices dealing with the site, in front of your eyes. You alone, are already well acquainted with the system and whatever way it is explained to you, you'd get it. This is why you must observe other people's reactions.

I'd try to explain what's wrong with the copy, but it is not something to explain, it is something to demonstrate live. I've been doing usability testing for a few years and with every test, I've been stunned by the extent to which my perceptions differ from those of fresh users.

For instance, you say "you'd just have to scroll a little farther in the team section to answer your question. So that's one click, a little scrolling, and then maybe another click to "view full comparison" if you're still unclear. " Well, this is nothing for you, because you are already acquainted with Webflow. For the regular prospective-Webflow-adopting-Joe, this is far, far too much. And be certain, most of the average Joes would not even notice they need to scroll so as to learn that paying the Webflow fee is one thing and paying for connecting a domain is a completely different thing, and then you have a static site, and a CMS...I start feeling physical pain just at the thought of this mess... :frowning:

I'll explain about the copy as much as possible, but you'd better show a screenshot of the visible part of the first page and ask a bunch of potential Webflow users, what do they think this is. You should also ask them how well explained the product is, in their opinions, on a scale from -5 to +5. Same about the pricing page.

So, the copy... well, problem N1 is that this is a copy. The best way to explain something is to interact with it, second is to see it, third is to read about it... They could have had a signup sandbox access... then they could have had a carousel of screenshots or something like that... (they do have it now, but it is below the fold. And as I mentioned - the initial version of Webflow's page had quite effective visual explanation already.)

Problem N2 is the copy's vagueness: "visually develop dynamic, responsive websites" - so what is this after all - a programming leanguage, a drag&drop site builder, a Wordpress UI layer, a CMS, a whole framework? People usually name things by nouns and use points of reference. Neither a noun, nor a point of reference here. When you want to buy a shampoo, you ask for a shampoo, you do not ask for a "hair cleaning in a delicate and soothing manner with extra fragrances", do you?

Then you have "then launch them with a click." Wow, really? How do you launch sites in Wix or Wordpress, by a push-up or what? Too cheap.

And then "Or export your clean, semantic code to hand off to your developers." Confusion grows here. Wait, I am a graphic designer, I am looking for a tool to make sites on my own, without programmers and now I need to export some code and hand it off to my developers, which I do not have, anyway!? What is this thing semantic code? Sounds quite high-level...

I have noticed, plenty of times, that the best explanations of products are to be found in PR articles, when a journalist explains the product, often through an interview with the founder. Most sites go to extremes with the generic blah-blah talk. It sounds pretentious and commerical (and this gives confidence in managers, because so do the messages of competitors) but it does not give you a clue what the thing is, even in very general terms.


#7

Yo, this is a free open community, please don't make people feel bad for sharing their viewpoint.
@uzzer has given lots of idea's and viewpoints, that's what pushes us to keep getting better!

You don't need to agree with them, but I don't think a short little "steady on there cowboy" really adds anything to this discussion or the community in general.

Don't get me wrong I personally love the redesign, but all ideas and views should be considered.

Peace.


#8

Ya, true, I probably should have said nothing. I just found it irritating to read such scathing criticism of such a great product and service.

I'll try keep my emotions under wraps from now on!

Peace


#9

One thing missing in the new pricing page is a comparison table and little more about how team plans work.


#10

Great Tool. No Doubt. But the Pricing and issues with Pricing is not defined well from the beginning. They are confused between pricing it from a Agency/Freelancer to someone who hosts business/personal sites. No CLEAR discrimination in pricing at all.

I would say few wins are still in place, like free collaborators, free SSL etc (But CDN is a TOTAL blow).

The website keeps changing - its because they can! Its webflow!

But... There are a few 404 that keep popping up and another thread on an issue (Don't know if it was resolved)


#11

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here. FYI, I'm fairly new to Webflow and I'm basing my opinion on how quickly I was able to understand the purpose of the site and pick up on using the interface.


#12

new site is all or mainly about the CMS. I enjoyed the last one as well. had more personality. homepage looks like a features dump but hey that's ok! the CMS ease to use is a great feature for most websites!


#13

also the hero banner Background is all black?

it is missing it's image or bg video? seems a bit blank. or maybe you'd say it's great use of black space.

but kinds seems like something is awry and empty there.


#14

Part I : Webflow UI

I am a brand new webflow user that started using Webflow like 3 or 4 days ago. I had no problem at all with the Webflow UI, in fact, the first thing I always do for any program if I am not able to familiarize with it is to watch the tutorials.

And sure enough the tutorials go in-depth about the UI and what each function does in a way. So I am not too sure what's wrong with the UI here, aside from it been really fluid and easy to use.


Part II : Pricing

For me, at least, the tables makes sense. Because it clearly states what each plan is. You have :

- Single site hosting + (Free Members)

Need just one site? Only pay for hosting.
Start building for free, then add hosting to go live.

- Regular Site creation (Pro members)

So you build a lot of sites?
Build sites for free, then charge clients for hosting with Client Billing. Or go with a paid plan to unlock more projects, export your code, or white label everything.

- Team Plans (For larger teams)

Part of a team?
Create a Webflow Team to work together on shared projects and style templates.

Maybe I am failing to notice what exactly is wrong with this, because when you click on each of them, you get more in-depth information of what it's about. But here is one thing that I immediately felt could use some work on, and that was the icon illustration for each table. They do not clearly represent the context of the paragraphs at all.


Part III : The Message

For me, as I opened the site, the first thing I read and peeked my interest to scroll more was "Visual way to build for the web"

When it comes to Webflow though, we also have to keep in mind what kind of customers webflow is aiming for? Are they aiming for everyone, or specifically Designer. You mentioned that it's hard to get an impression of what the tool is about when you first open it, but as a Designer, that immediately caught my attention.

Now is Webflow aiming for general users, or more specific group, whom is this for, for the"Designers" or "Front-end Developers" ?

Overall, I am not sure, but all of these points, for me was the opposite. Because I like the tool, it immediately caught my attention. I started researching about it, and started playing with it.

Perhaps there are better ways for UX, that in itself is a forever on going process. But that sums up my thoughts that came to mind after reading your post @uzzer


General Critiques of Webflow Site
#15

This conversations reminds me so much of Wikidot's story... Wikidot was the Webflow of its time - a perfect mix of great, noncoder-friendly UI, with high-quality output code. It started with a lot of enthusiasm and dedication. It was high on innovation (its user permissions system is a paragon to this day). It had a real life business model, a brisk community and professional customer support. It used to be an amazing product, at the beginning. It still exists.


#16

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