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Imagine creating a fully enterprise-grade website just the way you want it to look down to the pixel, no coding required. Agencies would no longer need to invest in expensive engineers, and budget weeks waiting for them to write the code needed to translate designs into a fully functioning website. Sounds too good to be true? Enter Warhead, a revolutionary design platform that gives designers complete control over their creative vision by allowing them to design and develop without having to code. In this interview Warhead Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Matt Franklin shares his insights about the company and its one-of-a-kind platform that is built with a designer’s work in mind.
What key differentiating factors give Warhead a competitive edge?
Warhead delivers on the promise that a lot of developers in our space make, but don’t actually keep—that is, the complete freedom to design websites without having to compromise with coders. There are plenty of tools out there that let designers make simple edits. But until Warhead there wasn’t a platform that let designers simply upload their work straight to the web, where they can shape it and reshape it without any assistance from engineers.
Now firms can finally free their designers to work on their own, without engineers, knowing that their work is underpinned by an enterprise-caliber content management and e-commerce service deployed securely in Amazon’s cloud. The result immediately benefits the bottom-line, whether you’re a firm employing dozens of pros or a one-person shop creating a dozen sites a year.
Please cite one case study demonstrating how Warhead helped a client overcome hurdles and attain desired outcomes?
One of our clients is a well-established mid-level firm located in suburban Seattle. It has designed thousands of commercial sites and creates hundreds more every month. But despite the sheer volume of its work, the agency found it increasingly difficult to maintain a net profit due to the expense of employing engineers. The sum of their annual salaries had ballooned to more than $600,000, before adding the cost of healthcare benefits, etc. So the firm took a very calculated gamble by making Warhead central to its business. It eliminated the need for those engineers overnight, and it now pays nothing beyond our nominal hosting fees, which are charged only when a client’s site goes live to the web.
Right away the firm’s profitability was restored, and then some! Before Warhead, each of the firm’s designers created three or four sites per month, slowed while waiting for developers to code out their designs.
It’s simple and long overdue: Warhead restores designer’s profitability by eliminating their reliance on expensive engineers
Today the same designers have time to complete four or five sites a week, very happily working on Warhead.
What are some of the toolsets that Warhead offers?
Most everyone relies on most everything Adobe for good reason, and we’re working hand-in-hand with them company to integrate several products designers love, including Typekit and Stock. Of course, there are lots of designers working on Warhead who don’t rely on Adobe. Mostly they’re on Warhead because it is engineered as a truly blank canvas, the polar opposite of the template-based design apps that clutter the web with lookalike sites. Still a great many designers understandably do rely on Adobe’s toolsets, and it’s obvious that we should prioritize easy access to Adobe’s products to better support designers wanting to work on Warhead.
So far the result can be understood as something like an Adobe Muse/Wordpress/Magento mash-up, if only as a start. We aim to make Warhead’s platform the go-to place to create any type of website from simple to elaborate, and partnering with Adobe helps bring us closer to that goal.
What was your experience like at the most recent Adobe MAX ?
We were honored by the opportunity to show off Warhead at MAX and, wow, we sure did learn a lot there. Maybe the most fun discovery? People do need to see Warhead to believe Warhead. MAX was the first conference where we brought along a designer who worked all day building demos on-site, right there on the exhibition floor. And people were stunned because some of his builds came together in as little as 45 minutes. The agency pros who took time to pay attention came away amazed by the speed, and the end result.
So it’s no mistake that since MAX we redoubled efforts to more closely integrate Abode’s tools into our platform. We appreciate that familiarity with Adobe will encourage the hands-on experience that makes Warhead’s value so obvious.
It’s also worth noting that we’re really excited about the interactions we had with design-school teachers and administrators at MAX. They love the notion that students can stop fretting about code, and they’re quick to appreciate that Warhead is free to use for any number of projects. We’re responding by creating a student license that provides free access to Warhead while enrolled, a license that’s portable when they graduate to work. Looking ahead, we’re eager to see what we can learn from each other.
What is Warhead’s track record so far and what does the future hold for your organization?
More than 6,000 commercial websites rely on Warhead for design, content management, e-commerce and hosting services, and the number of companies conducting business on our platform is growing fast. Already that growth is creating actionable user data that’s revealing more about how design effects business online. And that’s creating opportunities for us to engineer more utility into our platform—value aimed at benefitting our sole customer, designers.
Most immediately, look for us to more closely integrate Warhead with Photoshop by applying Adobe’s Storage API. We’re going to make it even easier to transfer work from Photoshop to the web.