Professional web designers have been frustrated for years by coding. According to surveys conducted among web designers, about 70% of a budget is spent on coding. It is a major expense, increasing the cost of a project, thus eating into a designer’s profit margin. Coupled with the rapid growth of ecommerce and businesses needing an Internet presence, a designer’s workload can become problematic. Quick but professional turnaround is key, which leads some designers to visual website design platforms.
Adobe, one of the most well-known companies in the design industry, recently launched its new Muse software for designers who found Dreamweaver to be too clunky and inefficient. Another company, Webydo, also launched its own visual design toolkit, which makes the bold statement on their site of “By Designers, For Designers.”
For many, choosing which one to go with can be a difficult decision, so below we’ve outlined the benefits and drawbacks of each platform. This should help our readers single out which program is best for them.
Webydo is an online SaaS website builder platform created for professional web designers, by a team of designers. Developed with the specific goal of helping designers to have a more streamlined work process. As a B2B website builder, it also aims to provide creative professionals with an all-in-one solution for website creation, design, hosting, and a clients management dashboard where designers can bill their clients and manage their sites.
When creating a website, Webydo offers several choices to start off with – a blank canvas, an already-designed template and a wireframe layout. All of them are customizable. Selecting any one of these options then brings you to Webydo’s ‘online canvas’ tool. This setup both facilitates pixel layouts, and supplies an easy way to customize how the layout looks, and what content is displayed. The UI somewhat resembles Adobe software.
One of its benefits for the professional designer though, is the simple fact that it generates W3C-compliant code. You can create a mobile-responsive template as well, and preview it in Design mode. The design is converted and generated into HTML and CSS, without you needing to code or manually create a responsive site.
As for pricing, Webydo is a freemium service. It’s free with no ads, and the ability to set up unlimited Webydo subdomains. To host on your own domain, there is a low monthly cost, which is lower if you pay by year and includes unlimited bandwidth as well.
Another feature of Webydo’s platform is their interaction with the professionals who use their product. Webydo holds frequent meetings and daily feedback sessions with its community. Through these meetings and the online forums, they receive suggestions on new features, and hold voting sessions to determine the priority of each one’s implementation.
Muse is Adobe’s newest product for web designers, built as a complement for their Dreamweaver program. Where Dreamweaver was a robust yet bulky and difficult coding tool, Adobe’s Muse is a lighter build software that allows for visual editing, and no code manipulation.
Designers familiar with InDesign and Dreamweaver will recognize what seems to be a marriage between the two interfaces, making it more suitable for use by print designers, rather than web professionals. First you have to build a template – and then create your pages from said template, and then build a sitemap from those pages. Unfortunately this setup can become confusing with larger sites, which require a lot of pages to be designed and organized.
Muse also uses a canvas interface to build site designs. Users can place images and content where they choose to, and Muse will then generate code dependent on where items are placed. Designers are unable to modify or touch any of the code, as Muse is “code-free”.
However, this code-free feature can also be a drawback. The code generated by Muse does not always pass W3C standards checks. Adobe has flagged several issues to be improved in future updates: overuse of divs and CSS, web font support, lack of HTML5 semantics, and more. Although it has potential as a code-free web design program, it does lack SEO features.
Both of Webydo and Adobe Muse have their advantages. Are you a web designer that has tried out Webydo or Muse? Post a comment here, and share your own opinion with us.
Image credit: Flickr