Slides by Designmodo – A Fantastic New Static Site Generator (Reviewed)
Whenever Designmodo brings out something new, I get quite excited. Why, you may ask? Because I personally think Designmodo makes some of the prettiest — and often most innovative — webpage-building elements around. So when I heard about their latest release, Slides, I was as keen as ever to learn more, find out how it worked and, perhaps most importantly, see whether or not it lives up to expectations.
Let’s take a look.
What is Slides?
In short, Slides is a means for anyone who understands how to use an FTP client, a text editor, and a little HTML and CSS* to easily create stunning one-page websites that use slide-like transitions to display their content. Take a look at the Official Slides Demo and you should see what I mean.
There are two things that make Slides special: a) using Slides gives you access to more than 60 beautifully made web elements (slides), meaning you can create virtually unlimited custom designs, and b) creating a website with it is very, very simple (providing you have some basic web dev skills).
For a more in-depth introduction into what Slides is and what it’s all about, take a look at the Official Intro Video.
Wait, wait… Isn’t WinningWP supposed to be all about WordPress?
Well, although WordPress is a fantastic piece of software, I’ll be the first to admit it isn’t right for absolutely all projects (indeed, no web software is). If the site you’re building doesn’t require a blog and won’t require updating anytime soon, then it’s often a shrewd move to opt for something simpler. After all, WordPress sites can often prove confusing for clients, be a pain to keep up to date (something that’s absolutely key to keeping them secure), be slow and cumbersome without proper (and sometimes expensive) site optimisation, and, compared with their static counterparts, require considerably more complex web-hosting plans.
Creating sites with Slides
Once you’ve bought a licence, you’ll be granted access to an extremely easy-to-use online interface (which Designmodo calls the ‘Generator’ — screenshots below) that lets you assemble the look of your website by clicking template thumbnails of the slides you’d like to include. You can then combine these with various header and footer elements, and a heap of different transitional effects, to give you the exact look and feel you’re after — all completely responsive and retina-ready, of course.
The Slides Generator Interface:
Once it’s been assembled, all you have to do is download the zip file you’ll be presented with, edit the text and images it contains with a text editor (this is why you’ll need to be familiar with HTML), and then upload it all to your server (hence the need to understand how to use an FTP client).
For more on how Slides works, take a look at the Official Tutorial Video.
My Slides Demo
It’s worth remembering that what you initially upload needn’t be the finished site: you can always do a number of bits and bobs to tidy things up (such as rearranging the slides) and hone site speed (by optimising images, minifying files, enabling gzip compression, and so on). I’ll not be doing any such things on this demo site, however, as it’s more informative to show you exactly what you get straight from the Slides Generator.
Slides is a very focused product: it can only be used to produce single-page websites with slide-like (sliding, fading or a few other types of animations) transitions — if you’re after anything else, this simply isn’t for you!
Priced at $249, Slides isn’t cheap. According to the official website, however, the price is for ‘unlimited sites’ (for more on this — and other things, such as browser support — see the official Slides FAQ), meaning this isn’t a price you’ll pay for every site you create with it! That said, if you’re only going to use it to create a single site, it’s arguably a little on the steep side.
Providing you’re looking for a tool to assemble precisely the type of websites Slides was created to build (mainly landing pages and promotional-type sites), I’d say this is a framework well worth considering.
If you’re an agency looking to design a number of such sites for clients, making the initial investment is probably a no-brainer!
*You’ll also need to know a little PHP if you wish to use the pre-made Contact Form Slide — according to this handy video tutorial on the subject.
**Running on a completely bog-standard DreamHost VPS.
If you haven’t already, go check it out!
Note: keen readers will likely be aware, but for those who aren’t, as we have written about a number of its products previously, Designmodo has kindly provided us with a discount coupon code entitling WinningWP readers to 15% off all Designmodo products (including, of course, the aforementioned new Slides Framework) – view coupon.