Webflow

User Rating
  • Great Option for Users With Some Web Development/Design Knowledge
  • Advanced Animations & Effects
  • CMS API, SEO Tools
  • Customizable Forms
Score
7.1
Ease of Use
Simple
Templates
100+

Webflow Site Designer

There are three main components to Webflow’s offer: the code-less, visual web design tool, the content management system (CMS), and the hosting – the first one arguably being the flagship feature of the service. In this section, we’ll take a deeper look at the Webflow Site Designer.

What looks somewhat like a Photoshop window is actually more of a HTML/CSS automation tool, where the user is free to add, position and style elements as they please, while the underlying system automatically generates the markup and all other necessary code. The interface is rather complex and takes some time to get used to, yet it’s undeniably one of the most powerful and versatile real-time website builders in existence today.

 

Let’s make it clear right from the start: you won’t be able to simply draw a shape in the middle of the canvas: instead of offering a naive way of slapping together a visual of a web page, Webflow keeps it real by acknowledging that there’s always actual code behind each element, and that such code gets exponentially messy if you don’t consider the way HTML and CSS work.

In other words, to draw a square in the middle of the page you’ll need to add a new <div> element (a “container” or a “section” in Webflow terms), set its positioning to “fixed” and its top-right-bottom-left positions to 0 – this is real life, kids!

Yes, the webflow promo code panel consists of actual CSS properties, so in order to fully appreciate the power of this tool, one should be familiar with HTML/CSS. However, if you mark the “I don’t write code” option during the sign-up process, Webflow will automate a significant part of the builder for you, for example handling the media breakpoints to ensure responsive behaviour (i.e. generate tablet- and mobile-friendly code for your page on the fly).

Working with media breakpoints and device views in Webflow

Needless to say, it wouldn’t be possible to cram every single CSS feature into the Designer – which is why Webflow simplifies most less-useful or less-frequently used parameters and makes the wording more user-friendly: from providing pre-defined options, to introducing toggles that show or hide “advanced” features and more granular control.

It is possible to start from a blank canvas or use any of the pre-made templates, some of which even come with ready-made site structure. There are over 30 free and 100 premium templates in the Webflow library, with the key difference between these two groups being the level of detail as well as included assets like styles and images. The paid themes range from $40 to $80 and are the creations of the Webflow community, i.e. professional designers and developers outside of the company.

For the reasons outlined above, starting from a blank canvas is mostly recommended for those who already possess at least some practical experience with HTML/CSS and are comfortable arranging the building blocks from scratch. If you haven’t coded before and also if you have but want to familiarize yourself with Webflow’s toolkit first, tweaking a pre-made template is highly advisable.

Apart from static content, animations are an essential part of the Webflow design tool, adding an extra layer of interactivity to the resulting websites which can be daunting to achieve and test using more traditional tools. Firstly, you can add transitions and transforms directly to any element using the same right sidebar with element properties – which is a real time-saver as most of such CSS rules are tedious to write by hand and many developers use one or another auto-generation tool in any case.

The real fun stuff starts in the “Interactions” panel, accessible from the tab with the lightning icon at the top of the right sidebar: there you can add animations based on the page’s state or the user’s interactions with a specific element (e.g. hover, click). Essentially it’s a Javascript automation tool, which can potentially replace 80-90% of your ordinary JS file for a standard website – menu animations, element fly-in-outs, hover states, and what not.

The remaining sidebar tabs contain the Navigator (a HTML tree) and the Style Manager (CSS hierarchy) which are useful as overview tools but add less value compared with the panels discussed above.

Overall, the Webflow team have managed to create a very comprehensive coding automation toolkit which works as a semi-visual editor; the degree to which it simplifies the process of creating attractive web pages with clean code will be appreciated by anyone who has ever tried writing their website by hand.

# Score Plans Main Advantage Get Started
7.1
Templates
100+

 

  • Great Option for Users With Some Web Development/Design Knowledge
  • Advanced Animations & Effects
  • CMS API, SEO Tools
  • Customizable Forms
8.1
Templates
10+

 

  • Supports multilingual sites
  • Includes online code editor & database tools
6.8
Templates
10+

 

  • No coding skills needed
  • Simple to use editor
  • Built-in e-commerce tools
  • Responsive designs that perform well on mobile
  • Ability to use your current domain or purchase a new one
  • Easy to use form builder
  • Social feed optionBuilt-in HTTPS for added security
5.8
Templates
25+

 

  • Cheap to make your website advertisement-free
  • Unlimited storage space on Business plan or higher
  • Help and support is concise and to the point
9.7
Templates
1000+

 

  • Numerous excellent templates
  • Well-designed editor
  • Both in-house and Ecwid eCommerce
  • Numerous integrations
  • Free 14-day trial