As a product and UX agency, a good portion of our time is spent designing and developing digital products for our clients, and yeah, we use a bunch of complex tech to do it. As product designers we know a good tool when we see one, and we love it when that tool becomes indispensable.
When it comes to designing and building a custom (as in not a half baked template) product marketing site, landing page or blog style website, there are many tools that you’re probably familiar with. But, after four years of battle testing dozens of client projects, we’re happy to say that Webflow stands out as our number one pick.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list about awesome Webflow features, you can get that by literally Googling “<txt-link>awesome Webflow features<txt-link>”, instead we’re sharing some of its more nuanced qualities that we appreciate. So here we go.
The founders of Webflow popularized a category of digital tools called No Code, starting what some might call a movement that favours the use of specialized apps to tie together logic and workflow to deliver a magical customer experience.
An example of this would be our very own No Code School, where we teach free and paid UX design courses. To launch such an initiative, we strung together a bunch of applications, Webflow being one of them, into a seamless customer experience. In four months we delivered courses to over 500 happy (we hope) designers, sent 4000+ supporting emails, got paid an undisclosed amount of money, and did it all without writing a single line of code. That’s No Code and Webflow as the champions behind it. We think that’s pretty cool.
It’s 2021, you’d think by now web design should have become progressively easier. Turns out the exact opposite of that is true. Speed, performance, stability, responsiveness, accessibility, SEO, you’d typically need a team of designers and developers to take care of it all, plus all the marketing and content folks.
With Webflow’s powerful CMS, the challenge of supporting a site with complex data structures and content relationships is reduced to pretty much zero. Instead of shying away from these concepts designers can lean in and embrace them, not only giving them an appreciation for data driven content but the hands-on experience of using it. All this is made approachable and even enjoyable in Webflow.
When a designer can single handedly launch a revenue generating business, like an online school, a membership site or an e-commerce store, (yeah Webflow does ecommerce too) that’s pretty powerful stuff.
It’s not unusual to hear client comments like “This section needs a little something,” or “Can we make this pop a little?” No designer likes to hear that, but it’s a lay person’s way of saying this layout is kinda blah and it does nothing for them. It can be a hard pill to swallow. So once you’ve stormed off and mumbled expletives under your breath and are finally ready to get to work, Webflow’s got your back.
With Webflow we get to use a bunch of features to add that pop and dazzle. Animations based on mouse and scroll position, vector animations with <txt-link>Lottie<txt-link>, 3D transformations and even video are just a short list of options available to add interactivity to otherwise static pages. It’s the first tool since Flash (RIP 2000-2020) to bring this level of approachable custom animations back to the web.
So when we need to put a bird on it, we know exactly where to find one.
Webflow does have a pretty steep learning curve, but that’s to be expected, it’s 2021 and designing for the web is harder than ever. Webflow makes this a little easier with an active community of expert designers that share their techniques through one of our favourite Webflow features called “cloneables”.
Cloneables allow the author of any Webflow site the ability to have their web designs cloned by anyone else who’s interested. It’s helped us learn a bunch of really useful techniques to improve our own skills and give us the opportunity to share new things we’ve learned back to the community.
At RSG we’ve taken open sourcing a little further with a CSS Library we built in Webflow and use to build all our Webflow sites. It’s a toolkit we built to support a team based design approach in Webflow. We call it Stock, and of course it’s open source, cloneable and completely free. You can get @ startwithstock.webflow.io.
Aside from building in Webflow, teaching Webflow, and contributing open source projects to the Webflow community, we also host the official Webflow group in Toronto called No Code TO. Come check out our events where we share everything we know how to do and hold nothing back by joining the official Toronto Webflow Chapter <txt-link>here<txt-link>.
Like we said we’re all in.
As product designers we know a good tool when we see one, and we love a good tool when it becomes indispensable.