Why I started working on this automatic website design tool
This story is about how I ended up deciding to launch a new product to help freelance designers and web agencies.
I have been running a web agency I founded since 2008. Over the years, I worked on different website projects. I had some good and bad designer hires in the past. And most of the time the website design projects had some common pain points when it comes to executing the project. A combination of factors caused it.
Collecting visual requirements from clients
Some clients had a clear visual idea of what they wanted, but most of the times they don’t. Even if I ask different questions to collect their requirements better, I realized the same set is not working for all clients.
Understanding the visual requirements
My design and development team is in India. Even though there are a lot of creative talent in the country, finding a great designer with great communication skills is still a challenging task. This category of designers understands the clients visual requirements faster and creates a first mockup that is as close as possible to it. But others tend to take more iterations to get even the first mockup right. These were costing us time and money.
Design to Html conversion
That is the most annoying part of a web design project. I am a designer and programmer myself, and I hate doing design to HTML conversion, even though I had to do it at times. It maybe the creative side of me that make me hates that kind of repetitive tasks. And as a business owner, I always want to try to automate repetitive tasks. Some new website tools allow you to design and export to HTML, but our requirements were a bit more than that.
The budget of website design
Getting small businesses as clients is always difficult because of their tight budget and competition from so many website design companies and the online website builders. I wanted to help some of the friends who owns a small business in creating their website by giving them a discounted rate. But allocating a highly experienced designer for them was ending up as a loss for me, as I had to trim down the friends I can help.
All of these above made me think about ways to solve this problem. I asked the web agencies I know, and they also confirmed they also have the same pain in their business. I decided to roll up my sleeves and spent a week brainstorming on my whiteboard. I worked out different ways and algorithms that I could create and to solve this by adding some artificial intelligence to the web design process. Finally, the idea of “First Mockup” was born.
“First Mockup” solves these problems by asking a set of carefully crafted set of dynamic questions to the client and then automatically create the website design based on that. And it also allows one-click export to your favorite frameworks such as Bootstrap or Foundation, or even a Wordpress theme.
It’s been a couple of months since I started the initial work on it and I am planning to launch it in the next few months. I already decided to share the journey of this product with you. So watch out for more stories related to the startup “First Mockup,” the challenges it faces and behind the scenes actions.
If you are a freelance web designer/developer or a web agency sign up to the beta invite list at www.firstmockup.com.