UR #03 - Webflow vs Framer honest and clear opinion

November 6, 2022

This newsletter is not sponsored by anyone. I give my opinion in a clear and unambiguous way. When it sucks I say why and when it's good I say why too, trying to be as honest as possible.

What is Framer?

I think I've used too many softwares and web-apps to create user interfaces without really knowing why ūüėÖ. From Sketch first to much less known tools like Supernova Studio.

I've mentioned all tools I've used at the end of the newsletter with a little opinion that I hope won't influence your choice too much, because in fact, you will realize very quickly that no matter the software or the tool you're using, use what you feel most comfortable with.

However, among these products, one has really stood out recently by changing its positioning from an UI design tool to a visual website builder like Webflow and that is Framer X which became literally Framer Sites.

Originally, Framer was a pure competitor to Sketch, Figma and XD. The only big difference they offered was the fact that you could generate code natively to build real interfaces, which was a big advantage to gain productivity.

Should Webflow be worried?

No, because I don't think that Framer is a direct Webflow competitor.

Clearly more visual but with less features, it will be very convenient to use this tool if you come from Figma, Sketch or XD because the interface clearly reminds of those three. But strangely, I found the whole thing much less intuitive, not to say destabilizing.

Webflow is more for the "try-hards" who want to use no-code to make extremely advanced designs in a short time compared to development using pure code.

Despite the fact that Webflow can be very complicated to use (especially for advanced animations ūüėĆ ), let's not forget the countless features the tool has and how obvious it can be to use once you understand how it works.

This is not necessarily the case with Framer. The way to use the tool is extremely different and the available tutorials to build are not complete enough for my taste, hoping that it will improve.

So, yes, Framer will surely appeal to a market and to some Webflow users, but it doesn't have enough features to worry them, at least for the moment and I don't even think that's the point.. 

  • Those who don't want to read the Webflow docs ( it is necessary to be patient in this case )and who are already familiar with the Figma interface will find what they need.
  • Those who want passive incomes from web design but didn't manage to pass the Webflow Marketplace quality control will be able to turn to Framer to propose their templates without commission.¬†i.e. 100% of the income generated with your templates will be yours.
  • Start-ups, SAAS and other Tech business who need to deliver a site very quickly will be served.
  • Individuals who want to create portfolio very quickly will be served.

Conclusion

I don't have a preference for one or the other, each has its advantages and of course disadvantages.

I will continue to use Webflow because it is an integral part of my business of course. But I have already started to use Framer and I find the proposal very interesting although a bit complicated and incomplete in terms of documentation.

There is also the habit that plays without lying. When you are used to a tool, it is very hard to adapt to a new tool that will serve you to do almost the same thing, so it inevitably biases my judgment...

They still have time to improve all these little things, I'm waiting for them to do so and then I would be a little more interested... and eventually why not offer more templates made on Framer on my marketplace.

UI Design tools used

As promised, the list of tools I have already used. Please note that some have changed their positioning or their purpose.

  1. Sketch: When I was an Apple fanboy (I still am) - https://www.sketch.com/home/
  2. Adobe XD: I never learned to appreciate the tool to its true value but at a time when I worked with some colleagues who were using PCs, I just had no choice. https://www.adobe.com/fr/products/xd.html
  3. Figma: I learned to appreciate the tool as I went along and it's partly what I use most often today to design specific interfaces... recently they were bought by Adobe... not that I don't like Adobe but I have a very bad feeling about the future of this tool. https://www.figma.com
  4. Invision: I don't know if you can still design prototypes with it. However this tool just had the most beautiful interface of the game at the time for me. https://www.invisionapp.com/home
  5. Supernova Studio: I had to use this tool because I needed a particular type of code to create a music app at the time... Spoiler, it didn't work, but it was very informative. Now they seem to be more design system oriented... https://www.supernova.io
  6. Framer X: Before Framer became Framer Sites, there was Framer X. I was the only one using it in my class when I was a student for the simple reason that it was the only tool that, for me, allowed me to get immersive and interactive designs through code. https://www.framer.com
  7. Adobe After Effects: Yes, basically we use it for VFX but After Effects had an advantage in terms of simulations. Indeed, if we were looking for particular interaction effects, I think there was no better option, at least at that time. Maybe Zeplin but I never looked it.  https://www.adobe.com/fr/products/aftereffects/landpb.html
  8. Axure: I was forced to use Axure at school but honestly and without wanting to degrade the tool, it was very archaic... https://www.axure.com

I repeat it again but create with what you are most comfortable with. It doesn't matter what tool you use, what matters is your own judgement. If the final project looks nice, intuitive and overall satisfying , you won.

Moshymercy