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How SAAS Platforms Change the Web Design Industry

VitaliyKolos Inspiration May 21, 2020

Software-as-a-Service — a software licensing model in which users subscribe to services and pay for their use at regular intervals — is restructuring how web design gets done and is likely to change what role designers and developers play in the future.

These services include web design solutions, like Squarespace, Webydo, and Adobe Dreamweaver, as well as e-commerce platforms like Shopify.

Here are 5 of the biggest changes SaaS development is causing in the web design industry right now.

1. Increasing Accessibility to Quality Web Design

SaaS web builders are making good design more accessible to small and medium businesses that may not be able to afford their own teams. All the more so in today's conditions, when the tools for working with remote teams are a must-have for convenient and understandable cooperation of several teams within the project.

The appeal of many web builder services like PageCloud is that anyone can use them, regardless of their skill level. Even if you know next to nothing about web development, programming, color theory or basic design principles, you can still create an effective website. All the parts are there and designed to be slotted together into sites that work.

Because these services also handle coding, they can smooth out some of the most difficult challenges that smaller businesses face when designing a website. A web builder service can easily generate a site that is made for mobile, has responsive page design or is set up with a basic e-commerce framework for your business to use.

With one of these website building tools, it’s possible to put together a functional and aesthetically pleasing site within minutes by effectively outsourcing some of the most difficult aspects of web design.

S

oon, new SaaS web builders may cut down that time even further. Leia, an AI-based web builder service, uses a series of user-provided keywords and a description of a brand’s voice to automatically generate a website — without needing any extra design input from the client.

These AI-powered tools could make it even easier for small and medium businesses without a dedicated web designer to build aesthetically appealing and functional websites. They further raise the bar on internet design quality and make impactful web design more accessible to smaller companies.

2. Empowering Web Designers and Streamlining Design

These services are also good news for experienced web designers.

Many basic SaaS web builder platforms — like Wix and Squarespace — are primarily targeted toward those with no design or coding experience at all. These services allow you to build landing pages, design own logo, blogs and full-fledged websites without a single line of code, in a convenient constructor. Other services — like Webydo, Webflow and Adobe Dreamweaver — are made for designers who don’t have significant coding experience or don’t want to spend their time doing it. These platforms are intended to help create a prototype web design without needing to partner with a web developer.

They also speed up the traditional web design workflow, which is fairly tedious and repetitive.

If you’ve worked in web design for a while, this workflow will look familiar. First, the page was mocked up in another program, where it wasn’t yet usable. Then, it needed to be manually converted into handwritten code and tested. If a client wanted an element of the page design changed, this process would start over. A designer would make updates, and any new or altered features would need to be committed to the code.

This process could often be a significant time-sink for any web design project — especially ones that implemented cutting-edge elements or complex code.

Web builders streamline this process. With these tools, code blocks can be automatically generated as a designer creates a site. Designs can be translated into code with the push of a button, allowing people to iterate and move from prototype to usability testing much quicker. As a result, it can also be easier to A/B test multiple functional prototypes, without wasting time translating a design that may end up unused into a functional prototype.

In this way, these SaaS tools provide a lot more freedom for designers to be more experimental in every step of the process. If a design has already been translated to code but ends up not being workable, then a significant time investment is not wasted.

3. Making Advanced Features Easier to Implement

Another knock-on effect of the greater adoption of SaaS is that these tools make it easier to implement advanced web design features.

Because designers avoid having to sweat the small stuff, even some of the most advanced features can be implemented without coding experience. These tools, as a result, allow for more innovative websites. They also let designers experiment with creating for elements that typically require robust back-end programming — like e-commerce and content management systems — even if they don’t have a web developer partner or significant coding experience.

Thus, if you plan to hire a design team, take a deep look at the benefits of SaaS solutions for design. Some of these tools even automatically manage the implementation of advanced features, allowing web designers to focus more on design than on code. Tools like Webydo can automatically manage parallax scrolling, handle settings for embedded videos and even optimize some aspects of SEO.

4. Improving Availability of Widgets, Add-Ons and Plugins

While SaaS is streamlining the web design process and enabling companies and designers to create sites on their own, it’s not putting developers out of work.

Instead, developers are seeing similar benefits as designers — they don’t need to stick around for foundation-laying work. They have more opportunities to experiment with innovative new development techniques — which can result in websites with an array of new features.

Web developers have also been freed up to design custom widgets and add-ons for businesses that need advanced functionality. This includes things like a pop-up customer service chat window, an animated header or a widget that creates a burst of emojis when a user adds an item to their cart.

SaaS web builder platforms are actively seeking developers and freelancers to help expand compatibility with APIs, platform functionality, and their library of add-ons and plugins.

5. Keeping Web Software up to Date

Deprecated or outdated software can be a significant issue in web design. If an API or plugin is no longer being updated, then it may slow down a website or even introduce serious security vulnerabilities. Security is a key factor in SaaS business, as it can lead to loss of business. We advise you to perform a website security audit for your product website.

Because SaaS platforms are delivered over the internet and on a subscription basis, you’re almost certainly running the current version of an SaaS product. You’re also likely to have direct access to a support team and platform community that can help you troubleshoot any issues or implement new technology.

Updated platforms also have a better chance of remaining compatible with other web systems, APIs and plug-ins. This means that your site is less likely to break over time as some site elements get updated and others don’t.

With traditional software, there’s no guarantee the version you’re using is up to date. It’s also possible that the company that developed the software no longer exists, meaning you won’t be receiving security patches and can’t get official support if you need it.

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