What we learned at WEBFLOW CONF 2023

On 5th October Webflow started a four-city tour on two continents to share the latest updates and releases to the Webflow community as well as launching their own rebrand. Here are our key takeouts and the latest WEBFLOW product features and capabilities that will empower you to build unmistakably professional websites.

Find out about the latest WEBFLOW product features and capabilities that will empower you to build unmistakably professional websites.

So, what is Webflow Conf 23?

Credit: Webflow CEO and Founder Vlad Magdalin launches Webflow Conf 23 in San Francisco

Webflow Conf is Webflow’s annual conference aimed at bringing together the best in visual development — from designers to developers, marketers, agencies, businesses, and community — to elevate their skills, discover new product announcements, and connect.

On 5 October Webflow started a four-city tour on two continents to share the latest updates and releases to the Webflow community as well as launching their own rebrand. Starting in San Francisco, then New York, Chicago and finally London on the 18th October. It’s a big one, with the Webflow community from over 150 countries logging in remotely to watch, listen and learn about the latest news and announcements. 

It's been a big year for Webflow and the rate of accelerated growth and development in their offer doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon. Have a read through some of our key takeouts and what’s coming through the innovation pipeline.

What’s Webflow and why do I want it?

Webflow is cloud based CMS, like most other website builders, it allows users to build websites without having to write reams of code. But unlike other CMS including WordPress, the strength of Webflow really comes down to the design process being so much closer to the build and how quickly you can start to experience the site. It’s not the right solution for everyone but here are some of the main advantages of this approach:

The benefits of Webflow…

1. Close the gap between visual design mocks and the final website - ‍Webflow’s live prototyping removes the guesswork and lets clients experience the design before signing off on it.

2. Faster iterations during the design review process - Prototyping with Webflow means you can make design and content changes in the same environment, and push them live with a click. ‍

3. Put creativity first - Imagine the web design process going from 10% design and 90% coding to 90% design and 10% coding. That is the big shift in the Webflow and cloud based approach. More of the time and budget is spent on the visual and creative aspects of websites. ‍

4. Custom client-facing CMS - With Webflow CMS, you can choose exactly which elements the client can customise and modify, so they don’t need to be afraid of breaking anything. Webflow’s Editor gives your clients access to their content in a controlled environment. ‍

5. Build landing pages faster and more easily - Landing pages play a vital role in any marketing campaign, and Webflow is a great tool for creating them. You can use the page generator and Webflow’s dynamics lists to create customisable, highly targeted landing pages for your campaigns.

6. Dramatically shorten development time - By dramatically reducing development times, condensing the project schedule, you free up budget for other important tasks like SEO, design, analytics set up, content upload and customisation.

A new brand identity

Credit: The conference was used as an opportunity to launch the new Webflow branding

Ok, this article ins’t a branding article. But as a connected services agency with brand at the core of our offer it's an interesting one. It begs the question why? Things are obviously going well for Webflow so why rebrand? 

Ultimately they felt that the 10 year anniversary milestone was a key moment for change and to present a new modernised visual expression of the company fit for the next stages of its growth and development. If you’re interested in the theory behind the branding and more detail on why, have a look at their own blog article: https://webflow.com/blog/meet-the-new-webflow

Or if you are interested to understand when and why businesses rebrand, you can read an article on this topic on our own insights section: https://www.e-c.agency/blog/when-and-why-should-you-rebrand

10 key takeaways from Webflow Conf 23

Let’s cut to the chase! What were the big themes and most important updates from the conference?

Here’s what we learnt:

1. Build more in Webflow

Create immersive 3D experiences with Spline

  • Spline is a web-based 3D design software that allows users to create animations, visual models, and interactive experiences.
  • You can increase what you can build with a native integration with Spline and new localisation capabilities. 
  • 3D provides an eye-catching visual tool that can very quickly elevate sites and grab users attention. It can be used to give customers a closer look at a product, emphasise design details, or create an immersive 360º visual experience.

2. Take your business worldwide with Localisation

For businesses to best serve their customers globally, they need to tailor their websites to their target markets. But current solutions are either completely developer-reliant or come with significant trade-offs in design control, organic discoverability, and high overhead costs. Enter Webflow Localisation. With Localisation, you’re able to: 

  • Customise anything on your site for a specific location, from design to content. No code required. 
  • Leverage native machine-powered translation, using one of their partner apps like Lokalise, or connect to your translation management system (TMS) of choice. 
  • Maximise global traffic with best-in-class SEO, from customizable subdirectories and metadata to localised sitemaps.

3. Style with unprecedented control 

Design faster and stay on brand with variables.

It’s no secret that design systems help you work faster. You can design a common component and use it over and over again in multiple situations. This not only makes it easier and quicker for you to design, it creates a more consistent experience for your users. 

Now, they’re bringing the flexibility of design systems to Webflow with the launch of variables. Variables store values like colours, fonts, and sizes, with no hard coding needed. 

4. Support for custom CSS properties (Cascading Style Sheets)

For projects where you need additional styling control  — they’re working on a way to add custom CSS properties and value pairs to your style elements in the Webflow Designer. These styles will be embedded within your classes and tags  — making it easier to customise your design at scale. More updates due to come through on this one. 

5. Components get an upgrade

Webflow are making components more powerful and usable so you can build more cohesive sites. Whether you’re managing a main component or building with a component instance on the canvas — it’s easier than ever to set up and manage modifiable properties within your component. 

You’ll now have a straightforward process to create and delete properties as well as clear action items for linking properties and elements. The new side panel streamlines the editing process for content editors by displaying only the component properties they can modify.

Webflow also announced the addition of slots. Slots are modifiable placeholders within a component that allow the component creator to build in flexibility from the get-go. They also allow component consumers to modify the structure of a component, by placing any element, or component within that slot. Slots should be available within the next few months.

6. Growing the Webflow Ecosystem

Just a few weeks ago, Webflow introduced the next generation of Webflow Apps. Apps can now help supercharge your workflows by adding and editing site elements such as forms, images, and text in real-time. You can now create easier connections to the tools your team uses every day like HubSpot, Unsplash, Jasper, Finsweet, and Memberstack. 

They’re introducing more Apps to the Marketplace including Finsweet’s new Wized App, Better Shadows, and a new localisation App from Lokalise too.

7. Elevating the developer platform

Beyond what Apps can bring for those managing and building sites in Webflow, the updated developer platform provides access to the latest products for the growing community of agencies, freelancers, and marketing teams. 

In August, Webflow introduced Designer Extensions — a new App building block powered by Webflow Designer APIs that allows developers to build Apps that interact directly with a site’s Canvas. They also made big updates to the REST APIs so that developers can integrate their products with more of Webflow’s core features like Forms Assets, Pages, and Custom Code.

Next month they plan to release a new Localisation API for integrating third party Translation Management Systems with Webflow. All available on the developer platform.

8. Bring your Figma designs to Webflow

They also launched the Figma to Webflow plug-in that allows you to quickly copy over your designs and wireframes in Figma to Webflow. 

Now, your design to build process is getting easier with new functionality that automatically imports your Figma components and their associated variables into Webflow. As your designs change and evolve in Figma — you can cascade those changes into Webflow with the click of a button. 

The improved Figma to Webflow plug-in, and its accompanying Webflow App are coming in the next few months.

9. Importing React components with DevLink

DevLink gives developers the ability to export Webflow components to their React environments. They’re expanding DevLink to include a new React component import that enables customers to power their Webflow sites with React-built components. In the future, you’ll be able to build everything from live data-connected components like store locator and full-stack applications.

10. Improving the way teams work

Collaboration is critical for improving speed to market and efficiency for teams of all sizes. Over the past year, we have invested significantly in making teamwork better in Webflow. 

The recent release of commenting allows you to quickly get feedback in the context of your build to keep projects moving forward, and the free commenter role makes it possible to limit certain teammates to ‘comment-only’ in Webflow. They also rolled out a new environment in Webflow for content editing to enable marketers, copywriters, clients, or any teammate to quickly edit and publish content in a simplified, safeguarded, environment.

If you want to watch the Webflow 2023 Conf full keynotes, have a watch here (1hr 09mins)

So, what next?

Well you’ve either got Webflow and you want to make it better, or you haven’t and you want to know if this might be a potential CMS option to meet your businesses needs? 

If you’re  looking to review your current website and struggling to figure out if you should fix and improve or redesign and rebuild, let the Everything Connected team expertly guide you through the process, help identify your needs and requirements and find the right solution for your business. LET’S GET CONNECTED


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