Designing for the Future by Understanding the Changing Designing Needs – War of the Landing Page Builders

designing needs

Do you remember one primary reason why you bought the latest landing page builder?

I remember mine; it was the drag and drop designing option.

Yours might be different but whatever it is, it will be related to the editor or, in the way you could design and build the page.

Agree or, Disagree?

I think it was about 7 years back, when I first bought Optimizepress 1.0 to put together a sales page for an online course that I was planning to launch.

There weren’t really any sales page builders back then and hence the release of OP 1.0 came as a huge relief for marketers who wanted to build landing pages.

But OP 1.0 had a huge problem.

It involved creating landing pages using short codes. So you practically had no visibility to how your landing page would look, unless you have saved the work and did a preview of the page.

Huge problem! Isn’t it?

But marketers were still thrilled to use OP 1.0 and there were tons and tons of sales pages that were built using OP 1.0.

Fast forward to 2017 and here are just some of the landing page builder options that we have –

And what’s the one thing that all of these have in common?

No marks for guessing that!

It’s the drag and drop page builder.

What’s even funnier is the fact that Optimizepress 2.0, which is the next generation landing page builder from the OP family has lost its monopolistic lead that it enjoyed about 7 years back to others like Thrive and Profit Builder. (In fact even I have, since switched to Thrive)

The Changing Designing Needs – Designing for the Future

Why is OP 2.0 unable to beat its competition?

Why are there so many landing page builders in the market?

What change led to landing page builders focusing so much on the editor?

All of these questions have a single answer – The Changing designing needs of the marketer.

While a few years back, I was okay with using “shortcodes” to design my landing page, I am simply not okay with spending that much time on designing today.

I want something that can give me instant feedback and show me how my finished product will look.

I want to have the ability to change things in real time and get a real feel of how my landing page looks.

I want something that was faster; faster to design, faster in loading, faster in the background and faster in feedback.

And, anything that cannot give me all of these is “trash” for me.

What changed in the Designing Needs?

I used to run a “crappy” web designing service until some time back. And I call it “CRAPPY” because when I look to the designs that I did then, I feel a little embarrassed.

And, ironically people bought those designs.

But today, designing needs have taken a completely different dimension.

With HTML 5 and CSS 3.0 becoming the norm, animation and effects that used Javascript are now giving way to these. And the simplified code and the faster page load speeds thereby, are attractions for using them.

From a customer’s perspective, the needs changed. They were looking for website designs –

  • that loaded fast
  • had simpler codes in the background
  • was SEO optimized
  • was graphically and aesthetically appealing
  • that gave them the ability to tweak smaller things easily, on their own.

Hence designing was no more about putting a few codes together or, slicing some of the elements from a Photoshop mock-up.

This is where the designers’ needs also changed. Their tools changed as also did their concepts though the underlying principles did not change. (When you read this article in Smashing Magazine, that was published in 2008, you will realize the fact that the principles of a good design are still the same.)

But there was a problem for marketers.

They had to build a lot of pages – sales pages, landing pages, optin pages, squeeze pages etc.

Hiring a designer every time, to design one of these wasn’t really an option. They had to get all of these designed in-house. And since most of these marketers were running their sites on WordPress, it had to be a plugin so that is did not fiddle with the basic design of their WordPress theme.

This is where the need for “ease of designing” came in. And here are a few of the other things that the marketers needed –

  • simple codes so that it did not impact the site load times
  • SEO optimized code so that search engine rankings did not get impacted
  • an editor that could give real time feedback
  • simple designing options, preferably drag-and-drop
  • a WordPress plugin that could go with any WordPress theme

Anything that ticked all of these boxes was happily picked up by the marketers.

And Optimizepress 2.0 didn’t quite tick all of these boxes because of it being slightly complicated in comparison to a lot of the other page builders.

Take a look at the below screenshot of Thrive content builder and you will understand my point.

thriveeditor

 

There are numerous things about what you are seeing above which simplifies the entire process of designing. This is a homepage template and my plan is to build a completely customized home page for my website.

Here is what you are getting –

  • A readymade template which you can customize with the click of a few buttons. You can change colors, images, text, content etc.
  • Every one of those elements that you see can easily be dragged and dropped to get your own custom homepage
  • Simplified editing tools – Click any text that you want to edit and change it
  • A ready feedback about how your finished page will look. You don’t need to save the page and click on preview to really see how your page will look
  • A ton of additional options readily available in a sidebar. Just drag and drop them wherever you want them to appear on your website
  • And best of all; a simple code that is fast loading and doesn’t drag your website performance down

Now, all of these are features that every developed is trying to stuff into their landing page builders. Because they know that the designing needs of customers and marketers have changed.

It is no more about designing websites. It is about customizing and building templates for frameworks.

Gone are the days of WordPress themes. This is the age of “Frameworks” and that is why frameworks like Genesis, Thesis etc. are the preferred options as against the many themes available on Themeforest.

Any developer who has understood this change in designing needs will survive and thrive. The rest will perish.

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader

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