website design without code

VickyC112

New Member
Hello all,
I'm a graphic designer who primarily designs for print but would like to branch out and offer template based web design to clients, as well as producing my own website myself. Can you recommend the best platforms for creating websites without having any/none coding knowledge.
I've been looking at SquareSpace, RapidWeaver and WithoutCode but there are so many on the market I'm not sure which to go with.
Thanks
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Jack of all trades, master of none springs to mind...

If all you're doing is using a 'ready made' template then honestly most people would be pretty annoyed imo. Using one for yourself is fine if you're not into code etc but I'd never offer one to a client (I would tell them about it so they could go direct if they wanted to).
 

VickyC112

New Member
You've not answered my question, you've just been rude. If you have nothing helpful to say then please don't bother saying anything.
 

Naby

New Member
I took the same path that you want to take, and Im doing so far so good. I was just a graphic designer and when it comes to web designing, I didn't have any knowledge, but I started doing some basic course on html and css. I suggest you to use wordpress cause I started with that, not much coding required but it does give you the option to code, so if you have a little knowledge in coding, it's a plus. It does have pre-designed templates but you create your own design and add it. The end the day, It's not all about the tools you using, It's the website design you can come up with, so... Good luck! :)
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Actually I did answer the question, you just didn't like the response.

The simple fact is I wouldn't use any 'website design without code' for a client website, hell I wouldn't use it for my own site either as it's a false economy. Clients can literally find the exact same thing you want to offer after a simple google search and if I was a client that later found out I'd paid a premium for something I could have done myself (I'd be supplying images and text I expect) for less I would not be happy and would likely never work with that company again.

The reason I said jack of all trades, master of none is simple... it's clear you can't do website design so why offer something that you're not any good at, you should be focusing on the area's you're strong at, not trying to shoehorn in as many services as possible.

I can actually code a website from scratch but it's not my main skill set so I don't offer it as a service, I focus on my area of expertise which is 3D design. If a client asks me to do a website for them I'd say no, then I'd put them in contact with someone who does do web design, and work with that web designer if I'm supplying images for said site .
 
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scotty

Moderator
Staff member
I know that many Designers subscribe to WP theme sites like ThemeForest where you have access to all their themes for a monthly fee.
When a client comes along wanting a particular kind of site then they just cherry pick from what's on offer.

This is all well and good but it would feel a bit underhand to me but that's up to you.
Plus...If they want something doing to the site that requires some coding then you're stuffed.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
I know that many Designers subscribe to WP theme sites like ThemeForest where you have access to all their themes for a monthly fee.
Arguably that's a little different to just using something like squarespace, you still at least need to know the basics on how WP works with themes etc.
 

fisicx

Active Member
People don’t want template designs. They want all singing all dancing drag and drop systems with all the bells and whistles.

If you don’t do code you can’t really offer website design.
 

sprout

Active Member
In the main, I agree with what others have said, which is why, despite being able to do so, I too, rarely do websites any more. I will design them, but for more complex, dynamic sites, I’d get a developer involved every time. The field has become so involved, with the number of platforms and potential security risks that coding is a specialty all of its own, with its own set of skills and aptitudes. At the other end of the scale, I’d never get involved in putting a template site together and expect to be paid for it. Note, I didn’t use the word ‘design’, as there’s no design involved.

The other day, I had one of my existing clients come to me who is, personally, a published author and asked me to do a site for him. I told him I could, but actually for him, using something like wix or squarespace was the way to go. All he needed was a small brochure site that told the world who he was and what he does. No online selling required. I would have been erring towards fraudulent, not to mention, unethical to take his pennies, given how easy it is to set up a wixspace-type site and how effective they are now, for this sort of thing.

On the other hand, I had another client – a composer – wanting a bells and whistles cms site recently. Where, once upon a time, my knowledge of php would have allowed me to do this, these days it is the sort of thing I wouldn’t dream of doing without getting a developer involved. I’m happy to design it and then hand over the mechanics of it to someone who knows what they are doing.

All that said, I think there is a small space that sits between the two camps, where one option is not flexible enough and the other prohibitively expensive for their budget and overkill for their needs. I have a few clients for whom this is the case. It is the space Adobe Muse used to sit in.

One such client Is a medium-sized hotel who I have designed and developed a brand identity for, over the last few years. For their website, they wanted a bit more flexibility and had some specific requirements that template sites couldn’t offer, but didn’t require any dynamic content (beyond embedding third party hotel management software for bookings, etc). They felt, overall it was more cost-effective to pay me to make their infrequent updates, than to pay lots of pennies to have the options to do it themselves on the not hugely frequent occasions it was needed. They do need to update menus regularly, so the workaround for this was to have them as linked pdfs, they can just ftp up and replace the existing ones, as and when they need.

This is where Muse was useful (it even had a cms built in) and it’s demise left a bit of a gap. At the time when Adobe announced its demise, I researched quite a few alternatives; Pinegrow, Webflow, etc. In the end, despite its apparent simplicity, I settled on a piece of software called Sparkle. Terrible name, but surprisingly flexible. It is not expensive, however, it is Mac only. It does genuinely produce adaptive (though not responsive) sites with breakpoints that do look exactly the way you intend without having to get your hands dirty. They are also, just about to launch a new version, in the coming weeks, with many upgrades and improvements. It means that you can produce a site within a budget that simply won’t stretch to a fully bespoke, hand-coded, dynamic site.

Sparkle will also import Sketch files. I don’t use Sketch myself – though I have been thinking about getting it just to see how useful it is for prototyping, compared to Adobe’s XD, which I don’t really get on with. For those sites that fall between two stools, Sparkle is a great option and well worth looking at.

That said, if you are going to use any sort of wysiwyg software, I would still suggest learning, at very least, a basic level of html and css, so you understand how webpages work under the bonnet.

If you are not going to add value and just use template sites for client work, why should you get to take people’s money for something they can easily do themselves. For me that falls into the ethically-dubious, peddling of snake oil school of business practice and in addition, as Levi rightly said, you risk, becoming a jack of all trades.

I am not a fan of template sites, but they are pretty good these days and with some really good templates out there, as a designer, you add nothing for a client by using them. They serve a purpose.

I’d say, stick to what you know – or learn what you don’t.
 

VickyC112

New Member
I've been a graphic designer for over 20 years and I know better than to pretend I'm something I'm not. If a client is after an all-singing all-dancing website then I would gladly direct them to a developer with the necessary skills.

But more recently I've had small business clients asking me for some kind of online presence, a simple website with a contact form and an 'about' page. I don't see what's wrong with offering a template based service providing they are aware it's template based and that also my web skills are limited. If they feel confident enough to go down the route of doing it themselves then fair enough. I would even be happy to suggest some options. But not everybody does have the confidence or the time to do it themselves.

Thank you Sprout for the suggestion of Sparkle. I will look into it.
 

sprout

Active Member
I've been a graphic designer for over 20 years and I know better than to pretend I'm something I'm not.
We see so many people here who have no experience, no skill and no talent, that want to be designers ‘cos it’s cool’. Apologies on my part if I assumed you were yet another of the army of alacritous who need to walk before they run. Didn’t realise you were a seasoned pro.

Give Sparkle a look. It is surprisingly easy to use. Real wysiwyg. A lot of software claims it, but you still need to delve into code. You are not going to get every possibility with it, that you would by hand coding, but it is work around-able to be able to get what you want and it is a while lot more flexible than templates. Sparkle are also really hot on customer service. If you write to them with a query, invariably, you’ll get Duncan, the guy who created it, responding.

As I say, I think it is still important to understand how html and css function, in the same way, you don’t have to know how and engine and gearbox work to be able to drive a car, but it really helps.

Good luck.
 

fisicx

Active Member
But more recently I've had small business clients asking me for some kind of online presence, a simple website with a contact form and an 'about' page. I don't see what's wrong with offering a template based service providing they are aware it's template based and that also my web skills are limited.
A template won't help here. Contact forms need server side code. This means you need php hosting and probably some javascript.

There are plenty of scripts you can use but they all need integrating: ergo you need to know how to code.

But if you offer WordPress you have access to thousands of free templates (themes). You don't need to know how to code, you just need to learn how to configure a site and add a contact form plugin. Of course this means you won't be doing any designing, you just need to know how to customise a theme.
 
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