My passion is digital design. I enjoy telling stories, solving problems and helping clients achieve their business goals. 

Life isn’t static and neither should your site be. But how can you add that wow and you’re your site to the next level, without having to learn to code?

It’s one of the biggest questions of recent years. Just how can designers, marketeers and content editors embrace and harness this power without the need for complicated coding and time-consuming development?

Well the answer is, we’re not fully there yet… but we are getting there. Since the world of Flash based plugin animations came to an end, animation and timeline-based movement has become more integrated in the way a site is coded. So, the opportunities to explore outside certain parameters and frameworks are less.

Flash was originally a game changer for content creation and needed some knowledge of how to action script and code, so this didn’t really help us out here that much. It became quite a specialist tool and has now evolved into Animate focussing on character animation and games. Although it provided interactivity and animation, it only worked in fixed viewports. It did open up our eyes to the possibilities of interactive animated content. It also created sites with flash for the sake of flash and this weakened its impact and appeal (Why wait for or chase the logo to bounce around when it could just fade in better?). Flash as it was is no more for many reasons. Its main role to tell stories on sites has now often been discontinued and superseded by the possibilities of improved bandwidth and effective streaming of video components such as Cloudflare. With video there are a wealth of production and tools like Premiere and Adobe After Effects best covered in another article. But in the more complex web focussed area of responsive viewport views, interactivity and timeline-based storytelling, the evolution of combinations of JavaScript based animation, CSS and html5 code have become the norm.

It’s worth noting though that HTML5 is not a tool for developing content, designs, video or animations as most would believe. It’s rather a full-fledged platform that lets you do various things which may contain any of the above.

HTML5 is not a single piece of technology to get your product / design / animation / anything up and running. You need at least these three - HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

This is all very well, but it takes the content /marketeer/designer deeper into the world of coding and away from the more intuitive visual world of the content creation tools we are more familiar with. I find learning about coding and how solutions are coded exciting but it’s not where I excel. My time is best spent designing and solving clients creative and visual digital problems. Leaving the heavy lifting and HTML5 world to the true code professionals in our team.

So you need to create a responsive site that looks great, animates and is easy to update, but don’t want to get dirty with code?

Yes please, is there yet a solution? Surely there must now be a tool that allows creatives and marketeers create engaging and dynamic responsive, interactive animated content without the need get too deep into code?

Sorry but no there is no one stop magic program with a publish to all viewports type capacity. Most content needs to co-exist with page code, frameworks (as mentioned above) and CMS entry, to be fully integrated and responsive. There are theme builders for platforms such as WordPress and open source CMS’s like Umbraco which open up opportunities for less code savvy creators, but these still have a steep learning curve and a general knowledge of code is still needed. Standalone offering offerings such as Foleon, Webflow, Ceros, Infogram and Creatopy show that we are on the right road, though it’s still early days for these, I can only see this growing as our needs as creators becomes more focussed and evolved. Creatropy is great for basic timeline based banner creation in multiple sizes and animating simple content blocks. For end to end microsites and interactive publications Foleon stands out as it does have an very intuitive responsive automated approach to different viewport sizes but has other limitations that the others don’t. To get some quick and easy animation Ceros and Creatopy are effective. Infogram great for data driven reports and interactive charts. Webflow is best approached with some coding know how and is more like an all in one theme builder.

So to summarise... there really are only a few robust all in one applications that offer a rich visual editor where the code is kept in the background. I feel that Ceros and Foleon are probably the most intuitive to use. I can see these platforms growing in popularity with content producers and marketers and designers as they evolve. We are currently working on many projects with these offerings and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. It must be said though that be truly able to design and create the best experience possible there’s still is no one magic quick fix solution and the power and flexibility that coding and designing the best solution. Effective resolution of the design process with the latest and cleanest most efficient use of html/CSS/JavaScript and other libraries still can’t be beaten for flexibility longevity and scalability.

If you’d like to get in touch to find out more about working with us on existing or forthcoming projects our team would love to hear from you.