Webflow World Tour 2020 is officially over. The final stops of the tour included Bangalore and Sydney, where we learned how Webflow fits in the designer skillset and how no code is helping businesses through tough economic times. Here's a recap of some of the talks from last week.
We just wrapped up our final week of Webflow’s World Tour. While this year has forced the tour to go virtual, the ideas and energy coming out of it were very real. Each World Tour started off with a recap from our product marketing team about what we’ve shipped, and what we’re focusing on as we continue to develop products for Webflow’s platform.
Here are some of the highlights from week 3:
Lighting fast iterations
Our first talk of the week started with Ankit Tiwari, Designer at Slang Labs, diving into why his team made the switch from conventional code to Webflow.
Ankit’s journey to using Webflow for the Slang Labs website started with a simple blog migration — from Medium to Webflow’s CMS. Because Medium didn’t allow for full transparency on how readers were interacting with their content, Ankit and his team knew they had to find a way to get more control over their blog. After successfully migrating to Webflow’s CMS, Ankit began using Webflow as a way to design pages and export the code to use for conventional development purposes. However, Ankit came to realize that exporting code meant website iterations took longer than they needed to.
As a designer, you need to iterate quickly. Often, when you take a more conventional route to website design and development, it can take weeks, and even months, to ship new pages. Ankit explained that it would take them weeks to make iterations on the Slang Labs website. This is because once a change had been decided, it meant making changes to code, doing a code export, having someone review the code, pushing the code to staging, and then publishing the new page. It was a long process.
“Teams are efficient because the tools allow them to be. I would not be able to iterate quickly and efficiently if I was building the conventional way.”
Ankit knew that speed was an important factor when it came to efficient iterations, and ultimately decided to stop exporting his code and just host inside Webflow. Beyond just quicker production times, like being able to visually debug things and publish right away, Ankit realized that in order to scale his team, it was necessary to move to Webflow Hosting. In Ankit’s words, if he left the company, it would also be easier to teach someone how to use Webflow compared to understanding traditional code.
Webflow’s role in the designer skillset
As a former freelancer, turned founder of Frozen Iris, Harish Venkatesh’s talk dove into how brands can scale design using first principles thinking.
When tools like Photoshop and Illustrator came out, Harish was fascinated by the way these tools were enabling creators to design solutions in various mediums, be it photography, graphic, or web design. This fascination led Harish to fall in love with the concept of branding and how it plays a role in how businesses communicate their value in the marketplace.
Harish dove straight into the world of web design when he was tasked with redoing his universities entire website — compiling over 2,400 pages and 20 subdomains. Through this massive project, Harish realized how important software and design need to work together to provide a great user experience.
“The biggest thing we realized was that a website is not an ending point of a brand. A website is a conversational tool that allows clients to evaluate their positioning, services, and vision.”
Harish realized that businesses wanted a way to effectively communicate their products and services to potential clients. With his design studio, Frozen Iris, Harish’s main focus is to help businesses rebrand and reposition themselves into what they want to be. As in, a website is used as a tool to simulate how a brand wants to be perceived by the world.
Using Webflow, Harish was able to change the focus of website creation from designer-to-developer into designer-to-client. Harish explained that the main goal of the designer is to understand the clients business needs. And the designer is to then take those needs and provide a solution through design.
Hospitality going digital with no code
Ajay Prakash, Head of Product at Draper Startup House, gave us a deep look into how businesses can adopt a growth mindset during tough economic times.
Draper Startup House, a coworking, hostel, and event company that helps startups get funding and drive growth, had been hit hard by the quarantine rules set in 2020. During Q2 of 2020, Ajay and his team were stressing over the fact that they had over 11 physical locations around the world and now needed to figure out how to move everything online.
With no traditional development team, Ajay decided to use Webflow so his team could start launching programs quickly.
In his talk, Ajay expressed that businesses need to keep launching quickly in order to get feedback and iterate. Instead of taking 12 months to launch a new campaign, DSH would do it in just days. Ajay and his team launched over 10 programs in a few weeks, and came up with the launch loop strategy: find several problems worth solving, prioritize the problems based on your core competencies, and build a minimal viable test to generate some revenue.
Through this “launch quickly” mindset, Ajay also began to adopt a stricter approach to growth. During business hardships it's easy to fall into a scarcity mindset, but Ajay pointed out that you need to put yourself in a position to generate more customers as soon as possible. Ajay describes growth as the famous AARRR framework, otherwise known as the pirate metrics.
The pirate metrics:
- Acquisition (how you generate traffic)
- Activation (how you acquire leads)
- Retention (how you get people to stick around)
- Revenue (how you get people to pay you)
- Referral (how you get people to love you and tell their friends)
During the last part of his talk, Ajay brought up the idea that you need to have a highly effective, low-cost, launch. And to accomplish this you need to have 3 core fundamentals down: product, brand, and distribution.
Ajay says if you lack in the brand and distribution department, then you should look to partner with other brands and work out a deal with them. If you have a great product, it shouldn’t be hard to come to an agreement with a partner.
“With no code, there’s no reason why you can’t have a good product.”
As a recap of Ajay’s talk:
- In times of low or no business, go back to your customers. Find out what their current problems are and find a solution you can offer.
- Be resourceful and don’t always rely on your current resources.
- Find out who you can work with to get product, distribution, and brand aligned. If you lack in one aspect, can you find a partner to fill in the gaps? Or, worst case, can you be the connector?
- Embrace no code, and take effective shortcuts that allow you to launch programs quicker.
It’s a wrap
Webflow’s first World Tour is officially over. It’s been an incredible ride. This year's World Tour, while originally not planned to be virtual, showed us how much the no code movement has grown, and the potential it has for the future. From individuals using no code to build amazing websites and apps, to using no code to automate and scale processes — we saw it all during the tour.
I’m not the first to say that we are truly humbled by the support behind this movement and can’t wait to see this community grow.