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I have this weird idea that designers working on web app UIs should use something like WebFlow to design stuff so they can have a better grasp of what is actually possible to do with CSS.
It's nice that Sketch has all sorts of plugins that make it easier to hand off to developers, but the process still strikes me as awkward and a step too far from the final product.
Let's say you want to have a grid layout where the margins area percentage of viewport width, not an exact pixel or em/rem value, then you have to specify that by hand in documentation. It's not something that will come out in auto-documentation plugins or even the developer looking at the Sketch file themselves. Furthermore designs who have never played with CSS may not even realize they have the freedom to do stuff like that.
I think a lot of designers/developers look down on products like WebFlow because they assume they will significantly limit them or are just another shitty WYSIWYG theming system, but in reality I think they are a step in the right direction towards making designers familiar with web layouts and giving developers a design/prototype that is actually already using HTML/CSS.
Just can't agree with you more!
I've just started playing with webflow for prototyping. I'm looking for responsiveness and interaction. Hoping webflow can deliver. How has your experience been so far? I'm hoping I don't get frustrated or hit a wall with it and end up going to code because speed of creating is what I am looking for.
Hey sorry I missed your comment here, for some reason I don't always get emails when people reply to me on DN.
WebFlow can create the vast majority of layouts and interactions you come across on the web. If you are prototyping a super complex web app that goes far beyond hover/click interactions and two-state animations it might not have what you need, but I continue to be pleasantly surprised at the capability it has.
Regarding speed I think it's mostly a matter of familiarizing yourself with the UI. They aren't really doing anything completely outlandish with their setup, so it shouldn't be too hard to get up to speed.
Webflow is awesome, however in Affinity Designer you can specify elements to have percentage widths and heights with the Constraints panel. It's actually really cool. What really bugs me about all these tools is that none of them let you make tables. Do I really need to pull up Microsoft Excel to create a table that I can drop into my design (whether that be Sketch, Affinity, or Webflow)? InDesign really has that only decent table creation and styling ability of any design app. That is sad. I know tables are not used for layout, but they are still used to display data. Plus it is way harder to style div elements to be table-like for a quick mockup than it is to just make an html table. Kind of weird.
On the baseline, they should just have the actual knowledge and experience of CSS as a coding language. Haven gotten their hands dirty with it at some point so that they then know what's possible. Not necessarily a 'unicorn' designer, but it is a severe must to have awareness of the technologies you are working with and have an impact on.
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