Lately there’s been a campaign for a better web design app. Photoshop and other editors just aren’t cutting it when the web is so flexible. Different screen sizes and mobile device orientations are difficult to design for in applications that are designed to handle a single image.
I think they’re trying to solve the wrong problem.
Why an image mockup in the first place?
It is a waste of time to spend hours playing around in any image editor when the things needed to create a website are completely different. If we were creating pictures of websites, Photoshop or a mythical web design app would be a great place to work. But that’s not what we’re doing.
The tools used to create a website are not difficult to learn and use, although they take practice. HTML takes real content and adds meaning to it. CSS styles that content. With the use of a few images and icons, that’s all you need to design for the web. There isn’t the need for a complicated and expensive image editor or web design app that produces something that doesn’t turn into a real website. No matter what any mockup app produces, it won’t be the live website.
I think the perfect web design app already exists: the browser.
Here are the things the “perfect web design app” needs to have:
- Fluid / fixed page layout (page flow, grids, etc)
- Realistic rendering of text and styles (text wrapping, css font styles)
- Document-level type styles and integration with font services (e.g. Typekit)
- Objects that can be styled using rules that translate to CSS (e.g. gradients etc)
- Bitmap and Vector editing with non-destructive effects/filters
- Document and object states (e.g. ‘on-hover’ etc)
Browsers have all of those, except the image editing. Project Meteor is trying to get as realistic as possible, but it will never get as real as the real thing. Working on a design inside the browser, its final home, is as real as it gets.
Why not take the extra step and design straight in the browser? The browser is the best what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor because it displays the final working product, not a picture of it.