Why do most of the web designers use the Adobe Creative Suite to create their web designs? Are those tools really effective, are they "the best tools ever"? Or is this just an old habit inheritated from print designers? For you to be able to compare, discover Easel.
Create your web mockups directly in your browser thanks to Easel
Easel is a web application based on this simple idea: the best place to design a website is the browser. And indeed, not only it allows the web designer to save time for integration (fonts, colours…), but it also makes him have to create "realistic" mockups.
No more static mockups that can't be integrated! Being able to change the size of the screen makes it possible to see how blocks will resize/reposition themselves, and hence anticipate the design when creating the mockups.
First of all, Easel is a complete tool. It allows you to easily and quickly prototype your website, and then to use these prototypes as a base for mockups. Next, it gives the elements in a form that simplifies their integration.
Easel makes it possible to work on projects with other people at the same time and is accessible without installing it on computers – changes in front the client are thus possible without any other equipment than the client's computer.
Designing directly in the browser makes it easier to integrate pixel-perfect, as we are already working in the browser within the constraints of the Internet.
Constraints and disadvantages
The biggest obstacle I can see (the only one that actually prevents me from considering to try Easel) is that we have to use bootstrap as CSS framework. Every single person using another framework like ZURB foundation either have to migrate to Bootstrap or abort the idea of using Easel.
The other constraint is that it is a paying tool – between $15/month for one person and $99/month for a whole team – but honestly, is it a real inconvenient? Any work deserves to be rewarded, and after all, Photoshop is also a paying tool – yes, it is…
And finally, Easel is NOT a publisher of wysiwyg websites like Dreamwaver. It allows you to create mockups and recover the CSS and HTML, yet still you will need to have skills in integration to move from the Easel mockup to the website. It is just a tool to create prototypes and mockups.
To conclude, I find it is a very useful tool and that it was missing. Photoshop, as well as the rest of the Adobe Suite, were not designed for the Internet, and we can notice it in the generated mockups. I think web designers should now have a tool that really considers their needs and satisfies them.
However, as I was saying it in the constraints part, Easel doesn't allow you to choose the CSS framework you want to use – or I didn't find the option – and this single aspect makes it unacceptable for us at Dezup, since we use Zurb Foundation. I hope this point will change very soon!