Israel, known as the ‘Silicon Wadi’ of the East for its dominance in high-tech startups, is now making huge ripples and a tangible impact in the world of web design.
Already a knowledge base for technological staples such as Moovit and Everything.me, more than a few Israeli personalities and companies are setting their gaze on rethinking and reimagining traditional components of the design industry. From inspiration aggregators to schooling in entrepreneurship, these are a great list of tools and services with which every designer should be familiar.
In truth, the list of relevant companies is too long to fit into one article — but to give you a taste, here are the top five design startups and personalities making waves in web design.
Webydo is one of the most popular, professional web design platforms on the market right now. With personalities and funds such as Moshe Hogeg (Mobli), Singulariteam and Our Crowd betting on Webydo, designers are too. It’s a cloud platform that enables web designers and agencies to craft and manage responsive, fully-branded sites without having to write a single line of code. The brainchild of Shmulik Grizim and Tzvika Steinmetz, Webydo’s popularity most definitely comes from the way they combine an intuitive, easy-to-use interface with professional-grade tools for stunning results. Offering designers the ability to craft pixel-perfect websites, a friendly built-in dashboard for managing hundreds of clients’ sites and clients, the option to manage content with Webydo’s built in CMS, Webydo is a complete solution for all your web design needs.
Founded by Ohad Aviv and Eyal Zuri, Muz.li is an innovative designer tool that gives designers constant access to inspiration. As a Chrome extension, Muz.li connects you to an endless, wonderfully curated, stream of the freshest UX/UI and interactive content from around the net. Scrolling around at Muz.li, you can find illustration projects, cool new design features, unique websites, visual art and photography galleries, current articles about the field and so much more. Essentially, if it’s got great design and it’s on the internet, you’ll find it here. The sources are both small sites you’ve never heard of and the biggest names in the industry (Dribbble, Mashable, Techcrunch etc) — conveniently, there’s even a weekly digest, in case you need to get that dose of inspiration in a hurry.
A mashup of GoogleDocs, WhatsApp and InVision, but for video? Unlocking group collaboration for video makers, Lookat enables parties to share and discuss work in progress. Yonathan Gur-Zeev and Inbal Voitiz come from the world of film, an environment where you are constantly working on tight deadlines with the need for instant feedback to accomplish your goals in a timely manner. While YouTube and Vimeo are great, they aren’t interactive — the founders of Lookat realized that half of the battle was speed of review and revision. With tools such as real-time video review and collaboration, version management, and contextual commenting, Lookat is a faster, easier, more effective way to get the job done (and have a happy client!).
NuSchool is all about learning (as its name suggests) — it’s essentially a business school for designers. Created by innovative design duo Lior Frenkel, Ayal Gelles, and Ran Segall, NuSchool aims to aid designers in becoming successful, sought-after professionals. This platform provides online video classes that teach designers pricing methods, how to increase their market value, how to speak (and sell) to clients, and all sorts of other entrepreneurial tips and tricks of the trade. They also have some handy tools to help designers calculate a potential project’s price to easily create a proposal (think about how many times and in how many places you see designers asking about pricing of projects!). NuSchool is gaining a real following all over the world because it speaks precisely to the part of the job design schools don’t bother discussing — how to run and grow a successful design business.
Branding itself as “the simplest designer on the market, and pretty too,” Smore is a brilliant tool with personality, for creating newsletters. The Tel Aviv startup, founded by Gilad Avidan and Shlomi Atar is highly customizable with a ton of different looks and styles. Smore always looks slick and inviting — at the same time, it is ridiculously easy to use so there is essentially zero learning curve. Looks aside, it’s got brains too. Smore has some pretty awesome features, such as social media shareability, useful analytics which you can actually read and implement, list managing abilities, and you even have the option to export to Craigslist. One of the best things about Smore is that your newsletters don’t actually have to look like those standard segmented newsletters — they can pop out as flyers, for instance, which are real attention-grabbers, and you can also print them out and hang them around, old-school.
Honorable Mention: UX Vision
Tal Florentin is a UX specialist extraordinaire, winner of the 2014 UX awards for redesigning maVeze, an Israeli content and blogging platform. Tal is a lecturer, mentor and consultant on all things UX and just basically the guy everyone turns to when they need to make sure their design is on point as good as it can possibly be. Having worked with a number of high-end clients, from Microsoft to 888, Florentin is the CEO of UXVision, one of the leading firms in the field, and even wrote a successful book about it (Hebrew). If that’s not enough, Florentin is the man behind quite possibly the coolest UX-related project we’ve seen in a while: UXHero, a new comics series about the industry. The first issue is already out and we’ve looking forward to seeing where the adventure takes us next.