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The Making of a Web Design Revolution: In Conversation With Webydo CEO Shmulik Grizim

Posted: 11/10/2013 03:21

The idea was simple; free website creation from web code and liberate designers from their dependency on developers.

The result is Webydo, a revolutionary web design software that with stunning freshness, addictive ease of use and astounding feature rich design, renders present web design players archaic.
Webydo is transforming web design, serving a set in its way industry with a long overdue wake up call.

I catch up with Webydo's CEO Shmulik Grizim who talks about putting 'radical democracy' into action, daring to challenge a somewhat sluggish industry and why Israeli innovaton is such a powerful world leader.

Q Webydo is astoundingly intuitive, did you have a low user learning curve in mind when designing Webydo?

A We've created Webydo in order to serve the needs of designers, both web designers and graphic designers. With Webydo designers can create stunning websites for their clients without writing code. Designers can therefore focus on the creative side, while Webydo's code generator automatically converts their graphic design into HTML code updated to the latest industry standards, cross-platform and optimized for search engines and with a built-in content management system (CMS) for their clients. 

Webydo provides a sophisticated technology. But the work flow is very intuitive using familiar graphic tools found in other professional softwarers such as Adobe Photoshop or Indesign. This is the reason why Webydo's online software is so simple to use. Webydo was made for designers.  If you know how to Photoshop, you'll know how to Webydo your client sites. 

Every feature in Webydo's system was made with designers needs in mind, providing designers with total creative freedom while eliminating all technical barriers. The challenge was to make Webydo's sophisticated system extremely user friendly and efficient. One element that saves a lot of headaches for designers is that with Webydo you are designing in browser. There is no need to install or patch any software and you can continue working on your sites from any computer.

No technical knowledge is needed to use Webydo and Webydo's system provides a full code-free solution for designing, managing, and hosting your sites and even billing your clients.

Webydo has a simple "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" design interface that allows designers to just drag and drop all their design elements such as images, texts, videos, flash, galleries, menus, custom designed forms, widgets, or even their own HTML code. Yet Webydo allows for complete accuracy, down to the last pixel, with features such as a grid generator, rulers and guidelines as well as parameter menu for each design element. When the designer finishes designing and hits Publish, the website is live online instantly.  

Q Another remarkable aspect is the richness of features. Webedo invades the space of not just pure web design/publishing tools but also the mighty Photoshop. It effortlessly eliminates the need to turn to traditional design applications for different elements.

 A Designers are savvy Photoshop users and most of them still use other graphic design softwares when creating and managing websites with Webydo. 

However, the development of features of Webydo's online software is decided by Webydo's devoted community of designers. Our designers are setting our roadmap for development. We believe in radical democracy and we want our designers to own the platform and shape Webydo's future. Following the request of our designers, more features are added and indeed there are designers who prefer to do the whole design process in Webydo without using other softwares.

Photoshop is a fantastic software and was used in the past as the first step for creating static design for websites that developers will convert into code. However, Webydo allows designers to design websites directly in browser, from any computer, and experience their design in action immediately. Designing with static files doesn't provide an accurate sense of the dynamics of a functioning website. Our designers wanted to be able to handle the whole website creation process, from designing to hosting and managing on their own, without writing one line of code or hiring developers. Webydo provides a full code-free solution. 

Moreover, designers need to have a clear and direct dialog with their clients. Websites today demand constant updating and managing. This means that the online software for web design must be integrated with a friendly CMS for the designers clients. This is why Webydo offers designers two integrated work environments; a DMS (Design Management System)professional online software for creating and designing websites as well as CMS (Content Management System) for content updates by the website owner.

This integration of a professional online software with a CMS that can be easily used by website owners allows designers to provide their clients with exceptional web presence.  


Q Webydo has what I call the Steve Job's effect - where a new application/tool instantly renders all that preceded archaic. Did you start off with the feeling that the market was crying out for a product that is more in line with today's user ?

A Yes! Designers learned to rely on fantastic softwares such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign for all their professional needs. However, the market didn't provide a full solution for website creation by designers. The old professional process for creating websites (which hadn't changed much since the '90s) demanded hiring a developer in order to convert graphic design into code. This process was slow and expensive, leaving 70% of the budget in the pockets of developers. 

We felt that there is an urgent need for a design-centered solution.

Technology is a powerful vehicle but we need to decide who is driving! The manual production of code was at the center of website creation for decades. We believe it is time to put designers in the driver's seat and eliminate all these technical barriers. With Webydo designers can now focus on creating better visual storytelling, better user experience, and a better web for us all.

We also believe designers know what is needed best.  We are living in a participatory culture. Today's users want to have control over their work environment. This is why Webydo is a community lead platform. Webydo provides the technology, but our designers are the decision makers. Through this radically democratic process we want to create the ideal work environment for designers. 

Q How did the idea for Webydo come about? was it a moment of inspiration or an idea that has 'simmered' for some time?

A My partner Tzvika Steinmetz and I were leading a big web agency and felt frustrated by the fact that majority of website creation budget is going towards the Sisyphean, repetitive development of handwritten code. We felt the hands of our designers our tied and there's no direct communication between designers and their clients. 

We believe designers should be the leaders of website creation and we wanted to develop a platform that will enable them to control the whole website creation process independently. 

We hired extremely talented mathematicians and engineers in order to develop a code generator that will automatically convert graphic design into code. With Webydo designers can finally create sophisticated websites in a process that is ten times cheaper and faster without writing even one line of code. That's a real revolution. 
At first we've developed the Webydo solution for our own web design agency. But when we realized the power of the technology, we've decided to share it with the whole design community. 

Q What would you describe as Webydo's strengths?

A For the first time, designers using Webydo have complete control over the entire website design process and they can build their own independent web design business without hiring developers or manually writing code, focusing on the creative side only.

Webydo is the only solution for website creation that offers designers total creative freedom and independence. With Webydo designers can create pixel perfect websites using familiar graphic design tools.  

Webydo offers designers a full solution including a free online software for the creation of stunning websites and a built-in CMS (Content Management System) for direct dialog with their clients in the ongoing management of sites.  Designers can even lock parts of their design, preventing unwanted changes and preserving full artistic control.

Webydo includes an advanced cloud hosting allowing designers to publish their site with a click of a button.  

Webydo's billing system allows designers to bill their clients directly from the Webydo Dashboard. 

Webydo's "Build Your Brand" feature, allows designers to re-brand the whole Webydo system putting designers brand identity front and center. 

And lastly, webydo is made by designers for designers. Webydo's designers community sets the goals for the development of the platform and every designer can influence the future of the platform.  

Q What is your personal background? where have you mastered your craft

A I have an extensive experience in the web industry. Before working on webydo, together with my partner Tzvika Steinmetz we've founded and headed two leading web agencies that are still very successful. 

Webydo is a collision of two personal passions of mine. Even though my formal background is in business and economics, I'm really passionate about good design. Good design manifests things that are beyond economical value. Good design shows you that the service was born out of a thoughtful process that puts human experience at the center. My other great passion is the web. The web has introduced a new era of collaborative efforts. Innovative communities bring to life radical transformations.  I believe Webydo's designers community is building up this transformative power that will change the structure of the web itself. 


Q - Why does so much fresh thinking, innovation come from Israel? What in your mind is the secret to Israel's lead when it comes to creative and truly original thinking?

A I believe you can find creative and original thinking all around the world. Israel is blessed exactly because of that. It's a multi-cultural society built mostly by immigrants who came from different parts of the world wishing to create something better, together. It's a small place, the size of New jersey, lacking any significant natural resources. So creative thinkers are our main treasure. 


Q What next for Webydo and its makers?

A - Webydo is lead by a devoted community of designers. So in many ways I need to ask Webydo's designers community what is next for Webydo.... 

Following the requests of Webydo's designers we are about to launch responsive features for mobile devices and our team is working on many other powerful features & apps. 

I hope more talented designers will join us. Developers have huge and extremely active communities, such as WordPress. I think it is time for designers to unite in action and create a design-centered work environment. 

We see Webydo as a call for a better web for us all. The web is one of the most exciting human inventions. It is now time for the creative minds to set the future of this medium. We hope to see a web with richness of visual storytelling and much better user experience. Our goal is to eliminate all the technical barriers and help designers focus on the creative side. We believe that together with our designers community, Webydo will revolutionize the way websites are created. 

 

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