Frustrations, reflections, designing web interfaces: is Webflow on track?

Webflow is an awesome tool I’m using for quite a few years now. But I have doubts about the direction it is heading. It still is a promising tool, but the design process is more and more dependent on the CMS and Webflow’s own hosting. It is difficult to work with the exported generated code.

But we still need a tool to design web interfaces! I am afraid Webflows development may make it more difficult to design web interfaces. I hope not of course. Want to understand why exactly? I very much like this article and the thoughts put forward in it:

@rich_art - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This quote from the author summed up my thoughts accurately.

Being a UI designer and knowing how the web works and therefore HTML and CSS, which are purely declarative languages, is as basic as knowing physics as an architect.

As a long-time martial arts practitioner, the most significant advancement of one’s skills occurs when you can visualize all your and your opponents’ movements and space around you in a contextual, fluid way. That comes from mastering the fundamentals. I think there are strong parallels to web design.

I don’t need a visual design tool to design/build a website. I can do that with code and knowledge of what I want to achieve in my mind. I do find that using a tool like Webflow helps flush out ideas and makes it easy to share those ideas with others before committing to a design. The future of the web is not big desktop designs; mobile is where the users are. Designers tend to have a desktop centered view. I wish Webflow design flow could be mobile-first, not desktop first.

If a project is simple; I can export and go, or pay to host with Webflow.

With more complex projects, once the design is complete, I tend to move it out of Webflow where there are no limitations for the client or me. Except for maintaining animations with IX2, the conversion to my systems is pretty straightforward.

I choose to rely on more robust external solutions for form generation/handling, gallery display, responsive image generation, content management, AI image processing, and the like.

So I don’t feel dependent on whatever Webflow does or does not do. As long as I can export static pages or use browser dev tools to preview my builds, I’m fine, and my customer sites are future proof.

I do think that Webflow is unique in what it does do and does it well. They have to make money, so I understand some of the choices made. The low hanging fruit is where the dollars are. It shall be interesting to see what the impact of a substantial investment; the corresponding pressure from investors effects changes to Webflow as a product.

Servers just finished builds. I’m off to finish an all night deployment. Peace.

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