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AMA Nelson Abalos from Webflow

11 months ago from , Customer Success Specialist @ Webflow

Hello designers! :D Thanks for this AMA opportunity. I’m very honored to be here.

My name is Nelson and I’m one of the Customer Success Specialists over at Webflow and I’m happy to help answer any questions you may have about, Webflow and what it is like working with an awesome, game changing team, my career journey or anything else web design related.

A bit about myself, I have been fiddling with web design since before Geocities was bought out by Yahoo!. Over my 15+ year career I’ve been a freelancer, contractor, and in-house designer and I think I can say that I understand some of the struggles it takes to find your dream job.

As for Webflow, I found out about it back in July 2013 and signed up for the closed beta. After playing with it for an hour, I was convinced that this was the tool that would help many designers, like myself, build awesome things. After helping the community over the next 2.5 years, I was asked to join the team in June 2015 and have been loving each day since.

My personal mission is to help others go beyond their perceived limits.

This is what I’ve been doing for the Webflow community since I joined the team. I’m also providing original content on my YouTube channel in hopes others can use it to excel in their careers.

I’m excited to answer your questions, so let’s do this! :D

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*edit: * thanks for the questions everyone :D If you want to keep in touch, I'll be over here in the twittersphere ;)

http://twitter.com/thepixelgeek

26 comments

  • fsdgerh wrheherfsdgerh wrheher, 11 months ago

    Hey Nelson, firstly I just wanted to say thanks for doing this!

    I think personally, like many others-were initially skeptical of Webflow. Not because of anything the product was doing, but more the whole "WYSIWYG" world at the time was flush with products trying to do what Webflow does.

    In this day and age, the modern dev stack can become complicated for new designers/developers. It's hard to learn what to install, where to start...how do I get everything to compile? There is something so simple and intuitive to the way Webflow works, and I think that it almost instantly unlocks the potential for an entire group of designers who'd normally only stay in Sketch/Figma.

    My question is this-do you ever see Webflow moving into the world of app development? I'm sure that question in of itself is complicated and dense but I wonder how large that "gap" is from what the platform is capable of doing now vs what is will be capable of doing in 5 years. It seems the product has grown quite a bit in just the past couple of years, I'm really excited to see what the future holds for Webflow.

    10 points
    • Nelson Abalos Jr, 11 months ago

      Hi Spenser :) Great question.

      Yes! Webflow isn't planning on stopping at just CMS or ecommerce. Just like Vlad said i our latest quarterly community live Q&A, we will be opening the app up to developers who would like to create their own component for Webflow.

      We also want to create features that will let sites have their own user system without having designers having to write any backend code.

      Vlad also mentioned that the team has only completed about 5% of the long-term vision. We have a lot more planned :)

      10 points
      • fsdgerh wrheherfsdgerh wrheher, 11 months ago

        Nelson, that's great to hear! I have another little story that the team at Webflow might like to hear.

        At my college, I taught a peer class about building portfolios in Webflow. After teaching 20 or so designers (with ZERO development knowledge) the box model, and some simple grid/flexbox examples-they were off to the races. After 2 hours, most had totally complete portfolios with animations, galleries, multiple pages. The most interesting thing to me was that almost every single portfolio looked totally different from one another. That was one of those big "Aha!" moments I've had with Webflow.

        It was great to see basically the reverse of the "templated web" we're often surrounded by these days.

        7 points
      • James Daly, 11 months ago

        A user system (login/registration/custom dashboards) would be incredible, very excited for that

        0 points
  • Scott ThomasScott Thomas, 11 months ago

    First of all, Webflow University has been very helpful, same with the feature ranking/suggestion, and the community space sharing new ui systems. It finally giving me the power to build without needing a dev to understand PHP. It help me launch couple of my person projects rather then just rot in sketch or photoshop. For that I thank you.

    Second, I have been using your product more and more for wireframing in both government and commercial space. The feedback has actually been very impressed by the design speed, and developers love it because it brings the designs back to earth. I am curious anyone else does this....

    No questions, just praises.

    7 points
  • Brennan Smith, 11 months ago

    Hello Nelson, I really enjoy using Webflow, it gives me the freedom to experiment with my designs without investing a lot of time.

    That being said are there any plans to reduce the price of hosting? $20 a month is a punch in the gut and a hard sell to my clients. Also, do you plan on offering annual hosting prices for client billing?

    Thanks for doing the AMA and for all of the content you put out there related to Webflow.

    4 points
    • Nelson Abalos Jr, 11 months ago

      Hi Brennan :D

      At the moment we have no plans to change our hosting prices. Our hosting can seem expensive when you compare it with shared hosting that sells for a few dollars a month, but with our many features (SSL, form support, custom search engine, regular backups/versioning, plus a whole CMS for editing content) and our top class performance/reliability, we compare ourselves much closer to managed hosting solutions — many of which are more expensive by comparison.

      As for support for annual payments via Client Billing, yes, this is something we have on our backlog of improvements and do plan to work on this.

      3 points
  • Dexter W, 11 months ago

    Hi,

    I often have issues of creating something in Webflow (I prefer it because it's so intuitive) and it ending up on a much larger project with multiple people.

    Webflow seems good at starting projects but not collaboration. Is there any way to be more friendly in a collaborative environment - i.e. creating components that get preserved in dev environments, and can be integrated back in webflow?

    Thanks!

    3 points
    • Nelson Abalos Jr, 11 months ago

      Hi Dexter :)

      What you can use is our new cross-site copy/paste feature. You can create one site to be the master style guide and copy/paste that into other sites in your account.

      Hope this helps

      https://webflow.com/blog/new-feature-copy-and-paste-between-projects

      1 point
    • Bryant ChouBryant Chou, 11 months ago

      Is there any way to be more friendly in a collaborative environment - i.e. creating components that get preserved in dev environments, and can be integrated back in webflow?

      This is definitely an area of opportunity that I believe Webflow is well positioned to innovate in. Look forward to some news on this front in the future!

      1 point
  • Marcel M., 11 months ago

    If you would lead the Product team for a week, what direction would you go with Webflow 3.0? A feature you would like to see that would make...let's say: your life as a webdesign freelancer much easier than today?

    Why? Cause I feel like Webflow lost the inspiring glow they had for years. All the stuff that's been worked on is pretty much obvious stuff that needs to be done in an already saturated market. Missing the visionary ideas.

    2 points
    • Nelson Abalos Jr, 11 months ago

      Hi Marcel :smile: Good question.

      As of right now, Webflow does make a lot of freelancers lives easier. But for features that could make our lives even more easier? We are already working on those features. :slightlysmilingface:

      Yes, stuff like our unique CMS, designer tool and our ecommerce feature are featured that others have already tackled. But if you look deeper, we've always taken a different approach that helped lots of designers do things they wouldn't have thought of doing on their own without code.

      What I, personally, think would be the next game changing feature will be for Webflow is our custom components, which will allow you to maintain larger design systems more easily, without always worrying about traditional BEM style class naming.

      Just like how the iPhone changed the game for smartphones, it wasn't until the App store was launched did we see bigger changes in the world.

      This is what I envision for Webflow's future. The community creating things our own team would have never thought of.

      3 points
  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 11 months ago

    Are you considering any pricing structure changes? So far that has been the biggest hurdle for me in recommending Webflow to everyone I know.

    2 points
    • Nelson Abalos Jr, 11 months ago

      Hi Jonathan :D

      We’re thinking long term about pricing as we move closer to releasing ecommerce, plus some of our more secretive long term plans, but we don’t have any massive structural rehauls in the works.

      I’m curious: what about our pricing specifically is a “hurdle” for you recommending Webflow further?

      0 points
      • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 11 months ago

        People want the tool but the hosting is too expensive. The CMS is amazing but its another added cost. Its a tough sell.

        3 points
        • Bryant ChouBryant Chou, 11 months ago

          Hey Jonathan, thanks for joining the convo! Compared to Squarespace/Weebly/Wix, WF is often comparable or cheaper, and with much more advanced features (the ability to customize your CMS in ways wordpress won't allow, handle form submissions, custom site search, reCaptcha, responsive images, global CDN, etc). You could actually see a breakdown of our pricing vs. others here. In many scenarios, users that host with Webflow save over $100 a month, as those services add up (ie. Adding swiftype + typeform alone costs you $98/month)

          We don't do a great job of communicating the advantages and the value of WF hosting vs the $1/year VPS server in Bulgaria option, but we hope to improve that this year. Pricing is always a tough topic, as many of us were former freelancers, and we intimately understand the tough spot many are in when it comes to discussing costs with clients. We feel that with the right amount of education and supporting material we can often help users find the best fit for their needs. (sometimes $1/year hosting is really all the client wants, but those aren't really the type of users we're building our product for, though we could always create a lower priced, skimmed down plan)

          What type of clients do you typically service and would they deem Squarespace's plans out of their budget?

          1 point
  • Alexandru NăstaseAlexandru Năstase, 11 months ago

    Amazing tool Nelson!! Few things missing that on my end are utterly important especially now: 1. Custom breakpoints (media-queries) 2. Hover state on every tag (If I hover a DIV to be able to modify its children) 3. Custom Grid properties — These things I was missing while working on 2 projects in Webflow, had to export and go in code manually. Looking forward for updates. — Also would consider a Pay for Export based on the number of pages maybe that I'm exporting, because I found that there are even 2 weeks in which I just don't touch Webflow, 2 weeks I'm paying and not using at all.

    Keep up the good work guys, amazing tool!

    1 point
  • Zsolt Kacso, 11 months ago

    Hi Nelson, thanks for doing this.

    I was impressed with the eCommerce announcement recently and was wondering what direction do you see Webflow going as a product in the near future?

    Thanks!

    1 point
    • Nelson Abalos Jr, 11 months ago

      Hi Zsolt! :) Thanks for your question.

      Yes, that announcement page is beautiful. It just comes to show what is now possible with Webflow when a Graphic designer and content strategist team up to execute on creative ideas and not have to rely on a developer.

      As for the direction of Webflow, we’re working on adding more functionality to enable non-coders to add more advanced functionality. Things like ecommerce, custom components, and user systems (login/registration/custom dashboards) would be easily added without code.

      5 points
  • Jim Owens, 11 months ago

    Hi Nelson: When will Webflow support some of the newer layout functionality in CSS: CSS- grid + multi-columns, and CSS-shapes. Also, are there any plans for facilitating integration with React, Angular or Vue?

    1 point