Cutting Out the Middle Man
Will you save enough to make it worthwhile?
The myth that anyone – even someone with no training in or solid understanding of design – can quickly and easily create a website that looks as good as something designed by a pro is almost as old as the Internet itself. Remember Geocities.com? Remember how garish and ugly those sites were? If you don’t, well, I envy you.
But technology has come a long way in a short time, and we’re seeing a new batch of online design platforms that promise the ability to cut out the middle man without compromising the quality of the end result. One of the most talked-about tools in this category right now is Webydo.com, which bills itself as a tool for professional graphic designers. Naturally, as a professional graphic designer myself, I was intrigued right away. Was it really possible that Webydo.com could just step into my workflow and replace my other tools and techniques?
In a word, no.
Webydo.com does have a few things to offer, so let’s start by talking about the positives. The first is that it’s responsive on all devices and browsers, which is a must in the modern web design environment. There’s also plenty of flexibility: you have the choice to either start your design from scratch or from one of their pre-designed templates, and you can choose from hundreds of free, open source fonts (unfortunately, the font I wanted to use – Palatino – isn’t an OSF and wasn’t available. Oh well).But probably the biggest point in Webydo.com’s favor is its ability to convert your finished design into updated HTML code and to create a CMS just for that project. That means you can give your clients access to their site without letting them into every site you’ve built with Webydo.com.
Now onto the negatives. The free version of Webydo does not offer the option to install in-browser editing directly to your desktop. That’s a huge problem for me, because I often find myself wanting to get some work done while I’m traveling, and I can’t be certain I’ll always have Internet access. Unless I spring for the paid version, I’m out of luck. Another huge issue is that Photoshop shortcuts are not supported in Webydo, and for a designer (like me) who grew up on Photoshop, that’s something that would be extremely difficult to get used to.
Finally, I found I wasn’t able to log back in without re-submitting my phone number and answering a bunch of questions I’d already answered. True, that’s got nothing to do with the design capabilities of the platform, but it was incredibly annoying.
Webydo claims to offer the ability for professional designers to create and manage code-free business websites. But honestly, that seems like a contradiction to me. Any professional web designer should understand the value of being able to edit and manage their own code. Tools like this one aren’t aimed at professional designers. Instead, they’re aimed at people who don’t want to pay for professional designers. Unfortunately, in design, you usually get what you pay for, and cutting out the so-called “middle man” usually ends up costing more than it saves.
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