Special Advertising Note: The following sponsored content is provided by one of HOW’s trusted partners, Webydo.
Until recently, designers who didn’t think of themselves as code developers had limited options for creating websites. You could choose from complicated software tools such as Adobe Dreamweaver; big open-source content-management systems such as Drupal or WordPress; or simple template-driven programs aimed at consumers. More commonly, designers relied on developers to convert their concepts into functioning websites, spending up to 70 percent of their budgets on manual coding.
Originally developed for in-house use, this software is now available to all creative professionals as Webydo (pron. “web-ee-doo”). A community of 35,000 designers united in an effort to create a better, free solution for themselves in the spirit of open-source developer communities such as WordPress.
Webydo and Adobe Muse
At first glance, Webydo appears to be similar to Adobe Muse, and indeed the products have much in common. Both give you the ability to design from scratch with total creative freedom and without writing code. They offer a new approach to creating websites that liberates designers from the old-world chains of manual programming.
In both, you can:
- Plan the site’s pages and hierarchy
- Automatically generate navigation elements
- Drag-and-drop text, images, boxes and other design elements to a canvas
- Add advanced interactive features such as forms, galleries, rollovers, video and Flash animations
- Embed HTML code
- Adjust the design for desktop and mobile sites
- Optimize sites for search engines
Once you’re finished, you publish your site, and both programs automatically generate the industry-standard code needed to view it on the web.
Where Webydo Stands Apart
Muse is a design tool with basic site-management functions. Webydo gives you crucial B2B features to help you build an independent web-design business, seamlessly integrating cloud hosting, content management and a centralized dashboard that let you easily manage thousands of client sites. It also offers as a “Bill Your Client” service and a white-label option through which you can present the system under your own custom brand.
Webydo also distinguishes itself in the way it interacts with the designers who use the product. All software companies claim to be customer-centric, but Webydo sees its designer community as an integral part of the development process. Through meetings, online forums and daily feedback sessions, they suggest new features and vote on which ones get priority.
During the past six months, the developers added 20 features requested by the community, including:
- The “Bill Your Client” and “White Label” services
- The “Articles” feature, which lets you set up blogs and also makes it easy to create repetitive design and content elements
- A Layers Window—released two weeks after the community request — that lists all page elements, sorted by sections
Many other user-suggested features are under development and planned for release in 2014.
Other Key Differences: Webydo vs. Adobe Muse
Online vs. desktop — Webydo is an online application that runs through a web browser. It feels like a desktop app—you can drag and drop elements into your designs, and performance is snappy. But because it’s web-based, you can run it from any Mac or PC with Internet access. Design teams can work on the same project together, in the office or at home.
Muse is a desktop program that you download from Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and the software license limits you to running it on two computers.
Cost – Muse costs $15 per month, or you can get it as part of Adobe’s $50-per-month Creative Cloud. Webydo’s Designer Account is free. You can design, manage and publish clients’ websites on Webydo’s subdomain at no charge, up to a maximum of 15 pages and 1GB of storage per site. Once your client approves the site, you can choose the Premium plan, in which the client pays $7.90 to $9.90 per month for hosting under their own domain. They get content-management and search-engine optimization tools, an unlimited number of pages and up to 2GB of storage. Webydo also offers premium plans for large design agencies managing 100 or more websites.
Integrated CMS — Websites these days demand constant updating, so Webydo is integrated with an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) that makes communication between designers and clients much more efficient. A what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface allows designers and clients to see the web design in action immediately. CMS clients have full capability to edit all content and media on each page, including advanced features such as galleries, articles, blogs, and e-commerce. Clients can also add pages based on a specific design. As you build the site, you can easily lock specific elements so they can’t be modified.
CMS capabilities within Muse are much more limited. For example, you can’t set up blogs. Clients can modify some elements through the new In-Browser Editing feature, but it’s complicated and requires Adobe’s Business Catalyst service. Even here, clients can’t add pages, and any changes made to the site online have to be synced with the desktop version. Business Catalyst enables additional CMS capabilities such as e-commerce, but Webydo’s CMS is easier to use and more tightly integrated with the design features.
E-commerce — Through a partnership with Ecwid, Webydo has a widget that lets you create a sophisticated online store in just a few minutes. Available in 45 languages, it’s integrated with all major payment gateways and social networks.
User interface — Muse is certainly easier to use than web-development tools such as Adobe Dreamweaver, but it’s packed with features that reside in various panels and dialog boxes. Webydo places its features front-and-center. As long as you have a grasp of common design concepts, you should find the learning curve to be quick, especially given the copious training videos on the website.
You can learn more about Webydo and sign up for a free account. Tell us what you think of this exciting community-led platform in the comments below.
Want more up-to-date software information and instruction from HOW’s interactive pros? HOW Design University has you covered with courses for all experience levels and interests!
- Begin with the basics and tackle Principles of Web Design, with interactive guru Patrick McNeil.
- Or, try Bill Haig’s Breakthrough Website Design Success one week power workshop.