Sparkle for the professionals

So I guess this might be a silly question, but are there designers who use Sparkle to design websites for customers (so a web designer) or is the main focus of Sparkle more aimed at the everyday consumer wanting to get a website up and running?

The reason for the question is that I want to use Sparkle to design and deploy websites for customers and would like to stay away from site builders such as WordPress and Wix, I do feel that there are a lot of people who choose to design or have a site designed in one of these platforms but I feel people don’t always see the underlined cost. For instance, you can design a site on WordPress for free but you are stuck with limited functionality, should you require more functionality the best way is to go for a paid option. But once you have paid for your chosen option you are still stuck with the basic site layout, now there are free themes but if you want something that offers a bit more you need to pay for it, and it is the same with the plug-ins, should you require the functionality of a map you might need a plug-in which you have to pay for. So the question for this section is, am I missing something with regards to why people choose WordPress and Wix or are they being brainwashed by the web designers who tell them that these are the best options?

Thank you.
Hennie

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@Anti0606, That is a really fantastic question!!!

From what I have seen web design has become a commodity and the likes of WordPress falls into that league as one of the “masters” with all the hidden traps, plugins, and a platform that is hacked thousands of times on a daily basis. And then it comes to the brainwash-marketing as well making out you can totally do it yourself with no knowledge of anything about the workings of web design/development/marketing!

Sparkle is fantastic to the no-coders amongst us and is simple enough for the newbies, but in all that it is a learning experience in making a created website work for the intentions you put it up.

I like to think that all my years in the trade of web design & development, with graphic design to back me up, that I can offer a great experience and ROI for my clients and so for the last 12 months plus I have been offering only Sparkle built websites to my clients and the results have been fantastic! :slight_smile:

We have a few web designers in this forum so it would be great if they also talked about what they have experienced, but from my take Sparkle allows me to totally create something that is unique for my client with no fuss, no-code, and rock-solid performance! :slight_smile:

So to answer your question, YES you can use Sparkle to design and deploy websites for your customers!
Good Luck! :slight_smile:

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Thank you for the feedback.

I am new to the side of the business of working as a freelancer offering websites to customers. I have been a graphic designer for the past four years, I was at a stage helping a shop with a site (WordPress site) and it was frustrating to work with because I felt a lot of the plug-ins don’t always work that well together (probably because the are all published by different people), the paid for ecommerce side on WordPress is Woo Commerce and I felt that never integrated into WordPress the way it should, you must navigate through thousands of menus to be able to get to the ecommerce side of it all. And if you require a currency converter this is something on it’s own and requires a different menu to set up. So working with WordPress is by no means made for the every day consumer wanting to create a store online. I had one person ask me why I choose to use Sparkle, and why would I use something like Sparkle when it’s only available on Mac, how do I know that the sites are stable and that the won’t crash due to not being something created in a browser like a WordPress site. But I honestly love Sparkle because it runs on Mac, I’m not a fan of Windows because I’ve been in the IT industry for years and I know how unstable it can get at times.

I guess for the average person who has been brainwashed not just by the whole WordPress thing but also by the whole "if it’s only available on Mac it might not work on Windows " it’s difficult to see what I see in the Sparkle application.

But thanks for the reply, my apologies for the random conversation, I have been listing things as they popped into my head.

Regards,
Hennie

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@Anti0606, I hear you regarding Wordpress, and I also know with the amount of automation behind it (code-converting a desktop into a mobile breakpoint) it is a quicker way to pump out websites for the design studios out there! :frowning:

Sparkle is able to embed a lot of commercial ecommerce platforms out there like Ecwid, Shopify, etc… and it just looks like a seamless experience - your average user wouldn’t know! One of our clients is outright loving their Shopify e-commerce embedded into a Sparkle website - https://www.watertonhall.com.au

When the internet plays up the web browser is just not a good choice as with Sparkle you can do everything without an internet connection (even previewing and testing) and when you are ready you publish it. The setup allows serious security and the “mother-file” belongs to you!

I know this is “painting” a large group of people into a corner but I have come to learn that most creatives use a mac and most industrial-users use a PC.

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Thank you for the reply.

I do agree with the point you made here with regards to why people choose WordPress, for the companies that feel they want to offer the services of a Web designer but want to push through and publish thousands of sites without having to worry about the way it will display. But that is actually one of the reasons I like Sparkle way more, I am able to set up the look and feel of my site for each device. So if I want to have my mobile site look different from the desktop site I can set it up exactly the way I like.

I have looked at the site before, I have been visiting the community a lot since I’ve been trying out Sparkle and I remember seeing your site in a post about integrating ecommerce into Sparkle, and me being new to the whole Web design part of it all I’m not sure how you got the site to match so seamlessly, when looking at the site you wouldn’t say that there is something else in the backend running the ecommerce side of things, it looks and feels as if it’s part of your Sparkle site. It’s a beautiful design and I do like the colours used as well.

That is why I enjoy Sparkle, I can use it wherever I am without having to be connected and I can look at a live preview of my site while working on it, this is something I do all the time, especially when applying an animation to something. I don’t have to design, save and then preview, I can make my changes and see it play out as I make them, if I’m not happy I can change again without having to save, exit and preview.

This is true and I do agree with you. And it is something that most “non corporate” designers will tell you, if you want to design you do it on a Mac and for most it’s because Mac renders colours the way the actually would look of you had to go to print. I feel Windows does have it’s place in the world, but it’s not with the designer community. It’s great for the people who like to crunch numbers all day and give you your expense report :joy:

Thank you for the replies, even though some of what I say seems like a guy who complains a lot.

I think what triggered this post for me was when I had someone ask me to quote on a site and they asked if I’m doing it on WordPress, when I said no it was like they felt I’m doing it a cheaper less reliable way, even when I mentioned all the functionality I’ll be able to put in (maps, contact links and submission forms) they didn’t seem interested because it wasn’t a WordPress site.

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@Anti0606, Thanks for your kind words! :slight_smile:

I would not worry too much about your WordPress quote experience. You probably don’t want that type of client and you’ll find the more you use Sparkle the more you will attract those type of clients that will appreciate it and the beauty you can create… so for now just got “next”…

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I think this is probably going to happen a lot with dealing with new clients. Focus on the positive reasons why Sparkle is a better alternative.

At the end of the day it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks! If the clients are hell bent on wanting a Wordpress site, then so be it, let them go elsewhere and suffer all the potential problems and costs involved by doing so.

Best,
Scott

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Thank you for the reply Scott.

That is what I’ll be doing. If people are happy with their WordPress sites they can stick to them. But I will be delivering beautiful looking sites and I’ll be making them all on Sparkle.

Regards,
Hennie

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Hi @Anti0606, just wanted to add the point of view of our motivation to create Sparkle.

What we have seen over the years is a flattening and standardization of web design. It’s so much so it has become kind of a meme:

To me it’s pretty clear the reason is the complexity of web standards, and the huge surface area of different technologies you need to know to walk the (very) thin line of standards, performance, mobile optimization, browser compatibility and bugs. Mobile and minimalism kind of pushed everybody in a corner with a limiting design canon.

All the necessary knowledge, the new rule of the road and the mantra I think convinced everybody that code is the only way to go. But with the market rules at work, most web shops only buy a pre-built theme that solves the technical problems, never using any of the web flexibility. Some people still built custom HTML and CSS, but the testing required for a one-shot project means it will be a very expensive proposition. This leaves beautiful bespoke designs as something only for very high end websites.

So this is the problem we set out to resolve: take care of the technical issues, take web coding off the table for as many scenarios and use cases as possible. It’s something that has happened for most other fields, as the Webflow founder aptly tweeted:

What we’re working on is that bottom-right rectangle, and it’s mind boggling that anybody would insist that’s the only way to do it.

But how far is Sparkle in the realization of this grand vision?

For some things, it’s already perfect. This is what makes Sparkle great already today for who mainly builds websites with static content.

For other things we have have a ways to go. We are very very, very aware of what Sparkle doesn’t do. And for some things you might find the best solution is a very specific wordpress plugin, which means you have to use the whole wordpress sinking ship.

But we are 100% committed to bringing everything we can to the realm of visual editing. And not in the sense some “no code” tools do it, where you might not be writing CSS directly, but their “GUI” is essentially a table of CSS properties.

So does this make Sparkle good for “professional” use? I would say that “probably not” is the best approximation, but not because of any issue Sparkle might have, just because there is an amazing variety of needs and most of them are solved with a some custom coding here and there.

That said you will find that there’s a very long tail of people who are fine with what Sparkle has to offer, and every Sparkle update raises the bar of what you can do, entirely visually.

We are, as always, very open to suggestions. Smaller suggestions, that might be quick to add and maybe make you more productive, or big picture suggestions, that we might take longer to add but raise the bar and give you a more capable tool long term.

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Thank you for the reply,

What you have said is unfortunately a reality. When it comes to the graphic design industry there is always a trend and at the rate things are going trends are difficult to keep up with, every year there is a new design trend and people are moving towards that. And some of them unfortunately do require coding, one that I’ve seen being used a lot by designers who code their sites from the ground up are the guys build vector based images that people are able to interact with because there is a lot of CSS that goes into making the image interact with your cursor. That is definitely a nice to have but to work that into any application would be difficult to do. Being new to Web design I have not had any issues with what Sparkle is able to deliver, I do understand that the “making vectors respond using CSS” is definitely not something that would be a small undertaking because it would have to allow the designer some form of input with what is happening at the back end. But I still feel that Sparkle is the best with regards to me as a designer and not a coder, because it does allow me to put my ideas to the test in a setting that I understand, as a designer I am used to looking at my designs as I create them (so my live preview of sorts) and Sparkle does the same, I am able to design and as I design I am able to see my website at work.

It is daunting heading into a field where I am by no means even close to being called a professional. I have a love for design and I have decided to embark on this journey and embrace the world that is the Web. And so far Sparkle has made it a pleasant journey. Now the challenge is to get all the WordPress lovers over to a Sparkle built site.

Thanks again for the reply Duncan.

Regards,
Hennie

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I agree totally with you Duncan. I guess one point is also the missing ability of a lot of people using their own imagination or creativity. Think there’s only little of it. On the other side it’s “awesome” to become a “web designer” “photographer” or any other kind of creativist.
Therefor people just think: “I am what I’ll be able to create”. No matter if hundreds or thousands of other “creativists” just do exact the same.

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I’m going to jump in and say that even though @duncan said “probably not”, I am running an agency and all our sites are moving to Sparkle. About 30 sites so far. And every client who comes to us, they are talking about Wordpress and we quickly talk them out of it.

We’re talking about companies like large billion-dollar manufacturing companies all the way down to local plumbers.

Duncan and his team have solved problems for me that plagued me in Wordpress for years and it changed my whole agency.

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@WebRoyal, I’m with you on this and totally agree! :slight_smile:

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My thoughts are as an IT professional since the dinosaur era is that “simple” websites are what the customer wants, nice to look at, simple to use.
When the websites become “bouncy”, that is when the client starts getting chewed off.
Not demeaning Sparkle, I think it’s great, but Sparkle lets you create a great functional website that your customer finds good to use, rather than an “arty farty” pretty dynamic site that your creatives ( who don’t buy things) like
Provocative I know, but in my view a realistic view of people wanting to browse / buy / hire

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While I run 5 websites for my own businesses, I use it to do restaurant websites - new place opens up, I mention that I do simple websites and the fee is $500…in food.

That works, try it.

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I run an ad agency and most of our sites are very simple, and don’t have a lot of features. They work! Sparkle is the best tool for this type of site. (Not that you CAN’T have features with sparkle, just that it makes simple, functional sites very easy to use and develop,)

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Great website! Lots of inspiration. Thanks.
-W

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@Woodrow, Thank you! :slight_smile:

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As stated by @H173 don’t ever lose sight of the user - that’s who you are building the website for.

Good content, well presented and working well on mobile, tablet and desktop is what works. Sparkle delivers that, so yes professionals can use Sparkle. The fact that a professional may also need to be fluent in HTML, CSS and various scripting languages for the ultra-bespoke website does not detract from what Sparkle does so well.

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I used Rapidweaver for many years, but got tired of all the 3rd party updates and revisions and costs. I then moved to Weebly (for my less demanding customers). But since becoming part of Square Weebly has drawbacks too. Now, I’m heading to Sparkle. So far, I’m VERY impressed! I have ten sites I’m hoping to convert to Sparkle.

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