Exploring the Google Web Designer tool – WIN or FAIL?
The Google Web Designer is an advanced HTML5 based design and animated graphics tool, and was rolled out last year. Like most graphic designers, I was intrigued with the idea of Google exploring a field that has Adobe footprints spanning across the entire industry. It is interesting to note that Google Web Designer is not exactly a graphic design tool, and is also directed at advertisers looking to create simple HTML5 ads for mobile and desktop sites. So is it for web designers or online advertisers? Well, let’s cover its highs and lows through this article.
Google Web Designer – Focus on Web Design or Interactive Advertising?
In spite of what its name suggests, the Web Designer (WD) is actually more intended towards developing highly creative and interactive advertising. Upon its public beta launch, Google called it a “professional quality design tool,” and the tool is still a free download for Mac and Windows. WD was developed as a gap bridging measure, since advertisers didn’t really had a tool or platform that could help them generate ads with cross-platform compatibility.
Let’s go into slightly more details.
The Google WD has predefined file formats that allow you to create a Google Ad directly, wherein you could also select two “Environment” options – DoubleClick Studio Rich Media and AdMob. Google will keep on adding more tools and options for advertisers, which I think is something that befits its purpose. The ads are based on HTML5 and are compatible across all devices.
Score – WIN (+1) FAIL (0)
For starters, the Google WD is basically a pen tool for free drawing that can also manage high-end animations- not necessarily restricted to the timelines, but also deploying the might of CSS3 to full extent. There are many familiar tools and functions, but I am more interested in understanding just why would web designers migrate to the WD. I really admire the subtle way one can create 3D graphic content using CSS3, besides the in-built option of integrating embedded YouTube videos and image galleries.
So is it actually helpful or not? Well, most designers would both agree and disagree, since the tool has a high learning curve and new kids on the block aren’t given a nice warm welcome always!
Score – FAIL (+1) WIN (+1)
Playing with Graphics and Animation
At present, the Google WD offers two predefined animation modes – Quick and Advanced, both with their own specific set of features based on the level of expertise. For instance, the Quick mode is a slideshow based mode with simple transitions – pretty basic in my opinion. On the other hand, the Advanced mode lets you add keyframes and manage animation timelines, besides handling transitional elements. However, despite all these feature rich components, the Google WD offers no preview animation! Quite a doozie.
Score – FAIL (+2) WIN (+1)
Google Web Designer is a little hard to use, and the user interface isn’t exactly suitable for beginners. I believe Google needs to do some plenty of work here, and think most designers would agree with me. Handling graphic animations is the shining jewel in WD’s armour, but manually adding videos/images by typing their file name in the source field and the absence of preview feature is big drawback and offers a big scope of improvement. Further, the WD tool is ideal for advertisers, since it offers a quick reliable way of creating engaging Google Ads, and with some corrections it might just become every graphic designer’s go-to application.