The tanking WIX stock is no surprise

By
@iampure
Thursday, March 24, 2022
5 min read

Open letter to the investors and the CEO of Wix.com Ltd:

  • Fidelity Management & Research Co
  • BlackRock Fund Advisors
  • Principal Global Investors LLC
  • Baillie Gifford & Co.
  • Flossbach von Storch AG
  • Avishai Abrahami


I'm writing this letter as an investor and customer of Wix. And I'm writing this letter because my family lost money due to the tanking WIX stock. Of course, this is the expected risk that comes with investments. No problem here. My fault. But losing money with a company like Wix while other no-code solutions are skyrocketing feels odd.

So I got curious about how this could happen and started a side project on the Wix/EditorX platform.

Building a business with EditorX is a catastrophic experience. EditorX is a complete disaster! No matter from what angle you look at it.

EditorX's technical debt and user-experience debt seem rotten to their core. EditorX is a horrible executed software product and causes hours of unnecessary and additional work.

  • 5-10% of all clicks are for opening or closing panels that EditorX is closing or opening with no logical reason. Again and again and again. Hours of additional stupid work caused by bad UX/usability.
  • You need to restart your browser (safari and chrome) several times a day/hour because EditorX slows down until nothing works anymore.
  • Panels overlap with no logic, and it's impossible to reach the parts behind the panels.
  • Your work doesn't get saved by the EditorX, and your work is lost forever. Happens too often.
  • I've changed my dashboard settings several times, and my settings just disappear overnight.
  • I've added my color pallets to the editor several times, and they just disappear overnight.
  • Working with EditorX is not fluid at all. Compared to other browser-based tools like Webflow or Figma, the user interface smoothness of EditorX is far beyond. It's not even close.
  • 20-30% of your work is because of the unbelievably poor integration of styles and the underwhelming EditorX Design System feature. This feature is missing everything to cover real-world uses-cases. It's hard to find a web-editor tool that has implemented design systems worse than EditorX.
  • The overall user experience and usability are not state-of-the-art.
  • Several hours every week are lost because of bugs, instability, or finding workarounds because of all the missing essential functionalities.
  • Essential parts of components are not fully working on mobile. But you don't have access to change, fix or customize them.
  • The first level of customer support is amiable (except for some people in the Velo forum), and they're trying to help, but they rarely have a solution and need to forward your case to a special team. All love for them.
  • The special teams are not this special tho. They either do not contact you at all, react with some automated bot messages, or send you some info that does not help solve your problem. Too often, your follow-up question does not get answered anymore. 

All together, the quality of EditorX is not acceptable! Not even as a paid beta.

Customers are trying to build their business with EditorX. Unfortunately, the low quality of EditorX can not only lead to surprising amounts of time/money, but it can also cause your business to fail.

My biggest concern is the following: Did EditorX get released in this buggy and disastrous state to put some lipstick on the pig to look better for investors? Just to say: "See, we have this brand new product. We call it EditorX. Isn't it awesome? And here, look at these shiny marketing pages. Looking great, right?"

Obviously, many investors bought this marketing makeup.

This is why I decided to go a different route. I started using EditorX for a personal side project because I wanted to understand why my WIX shares were tanking. I'm the perfect user to do this because I'm precisely the target group EditorX is made for.
I'm a designer for digital products and services. I've been doing this for 20+ years for many world-leading enterprises and disrupting start-ups. Also, I'm not a programmer! Therefore I'm precisely the target group EditorX is made for - at least if you believe the marketing on the EditorX website.

But I'm also an award-winning user interface designer who recognises a lousy experience design when confronted with it.

My second concern is that Wix.com Ltd maybe already has given up on EditorX. In 2021, the amount and speed of delivering new and essential features, and the frequency of improvements of features with bad user experience, were devastating. Customer requests for crucial features and functionalities have been sleeping for more than a year. Instead of delivering necessary features like multiple templates for product categories and state-of-the-art capabilities to design blog-post and product pages, the EditorX Team has delivered things like "infinite horizontal scrolling". WTF?

There is so much missing. And always when you ask for something essential that is missing in EditorX, the answer is:

"You can't do this in EditorX. But this is possible with Velo."

Of course. Velo is basically JavaScript, and you can do f*cking everything with JavaScript! But using JavaScript is not why people choose a WYSIWYG Editor like EditorX!

Furthermore, closing all the ridiculous gaps of EditorX with custom JavaScript brings new problems and additional business risks.

  • If I close all these ridiculous gaps by myself (with this little bit of support from the not so friendly Velo Team), it leads to spaghetti-legacy-code that is hard to maintain. Therefore, it leads to uncontrollable risks when scaling the business.
  • Or, when hiring a Velo developer, it creates a dependency on the developer who wrote the code. Is he still available? When does he have resources? Some former Velo/Corvid experts had to look for new jobs, and they are not available anymore.

Also, the possibilities with Velo are somewhat limited to what the Velo Team thinks is relevant. Customer needs are getting ignored or get shut down in a passive-aggressive manner. Oh, I should mention that there is a feature request wishlist for Velo. Let's have a brief look into it.

  • The last three released items from the wishlist got wished 9-10 months ago and had 7 votes. 7 votes combined!
  • The five most desired items are two years old and have 72 to 97 votes each. But the Velo Team doesn't care. Obviously.
  • There is only 1 item in Rolling Out status, and it's one year old.
  • The four last recent items in Pending are between 10 months and two years old.

{{open-letter_lightbox-wishlist="/component/open-letter-posts"}}

This is not only not customer-focused; this is also cherry-picking with no intent to listen to what customers really need. So how does posting to the wishlist makes any sense if essential features are sleeping there for months/years?

Maybe someone needs to remind the Velo Team that Velo's purpose is not its existence. The purpose is to help customers realize their business goals. So customer-centricity should be essential.

Entrepreneurs, especially the target group of Wix and EditorX, choose a no-code Editor to NOT need JavaScript or other programming skills. And here, EditorX does not deliver what it is promising on its website. Not even close.

Here're some claims from the EditorX website.

  1. The new standard in website design.
  2. Experience a seamless design process from concept to production with responsive CSS powered by smooth drag & drop.
  3. Define the exact position and behavior of every element at any viewport with flex and grid layouts, custom interactions and full breakpoint control.
  4. Create dynamic, content-driven sites. Manage every kind of content in collections behind the scenes and display it in responsive repeating layouts.
  5. Extend the functionality and business logic of every creation in any direction. Write Javascript and connect to external APIs to build complex web applications. Use data APIs in your sites' front-end or backend code to manage and organize data.
  6. External Data Collections. Add databases or services as virtual collections and use the data in your application.

And here is the reality when working with EditorX.

  1. EditorX is full of unbelievable restrictions and years behind. There is no proper integration of design systems, no way to use REACT and design tokens from Figma, no way to easily integrate no-code tools. This is what you call a new standard? Wake up; it's 2022!
  2. Do you want to experience smooth drag & drop in a browser? Try Figma and Webflow. EditorX is slow, stubborn, and forces you to restart your browser because it stops working. Also, how can you say "with responsive CSS"? There is not even any access to the CSS in EditorX at all.
  3. Nope. Some of your provided blog and shop components/compositions are not fully responsive! You can't define all settings based on breakpoints.
  4. You can't manage every kind of content in collections. Using JSON in collections is not working in EditorX without Velo.
  5. The core of dynamic content in EditorX are website content collections. But these provide no API access. How bad is this? There is API access to FAQ collections, but not to the website content collections? This is ridiculous.
  6. Please show me a properly working example of using Airtable as a database or to sync content collections with Airtable.

I could add so many more bullet points here but will add them in a database at the end of this letter.

Spoiler Alert: Subscribe to the EditorX vs. Webflow step by step Comparison Report report.

The missing capabilities and quality problems of EditorX have already cost me many hours/days to find workarounds or solutions. Many of these workarounds produce legacy code that must be maintained and documented. EditorX is slowing everything down. I already had to postpone the soft launch for two months. The increasing costs caused by bugs, lousy usability, and a horrible user experience are already beyond 10k.

I'm by far not the only customer who is deeply disappointed and frustrated with EditorX and Wix. The internet is full of frustrated customers. The average rating of apps made by Wix tells it all. The ratings average overall apps is somewhere around 3 of 5. This is not only a slap into every developer's face; it is also damaging the brand. And if you would delete all positive ratings/recommendations in the app marketplace that read likes fake ratings, the average rating would gravitate below 3. Furthermore, fake ratings are damaging a brand as well. Reading the comments for an hour makes you understand the poor performance of the Wix stock.

{{open-letter_lightbox-marketplace="/component/open-letter-posts"}}

Here are my questions for the CEO and the VP Product of Wix.com Ltd:

  • Did you know about the state of EditorX?
  • If yes, did you tell the investors the complete truth about the state of EditorX?
  • Is EditorX already an abandoned product?
  • Do you feel it's okay to charge your customers money for a not-really-ready product like EditorX?
  • How do you compensate the customers' costs caused by the usability and stability problems of EditorX? Any ideas on that?
  • Do you know about the somewhat fishy or maybe fake ratings/comments on the app marketplace and user forums? Any plans to delete them?
  • Are there plans to hire more people to improve the usability and stability of EditorX?
  • Are there plans to hire more people to deliver essential features more quickly?
  • Is it part of the EditorX product strategy to not support no-code integrations like Zapier and others?

What I think needs to be done to get traction on this.

  • Hire more developers and UX designers just for EditorX. A dozen each. No juniors. Top-notch user interface and interaction designers. People who can move the needle.
  • Put 50% of them on reducing technical debt and UX-debt by iterating on features with bad usability.
  • Put the other 50% on building the missing essential features.
  • Prioritize the feature backlog based on impact and delivered user value. (The last features you've delivered had an impact of 2-3 of 10. Supporting multiple and customizable product-page or blog-post templates or an Airtable or Zapier integration would have had an impact of 8-9 of 10)
  • Delete all suspicious or fake ratings and comments in the App Marketplace and EditorX Forum. Also, comments and ratings from friends, colleagues or supporters are not helpful. They instead damage the brand.

Of course, the points above are just some quick fixes. The problem seems to be much more significant. Just throwing more resources on it won't fix it. Too many design decisions that have been made for the EditorX are insufficient or simply wrong. And I don't talk about aesthetics or "could have been better" issues. I'm talking about design failures. Too many chosen interaction design patterns do not follow human-centered design principles or support any common design process workflows. As a result, when working with EditorX, you always have these facepalm moments like:

“Who The F*ck had this idea? Is this what developers imagine how designers work?”

The Wix stock won't get back on track without significant improvements on user experience and customer-centricity.

While 00-09 were the last IT decade, 10-19 already has been the decade of service design and disruption. This decade will be about no-code tools and enabling a new sort of entrepreneurs and creators. Small teams who start and scale their businesses without building software from scratch. Easy-to-use tools, integration, and automation open an entirely new universe of possibilities on low budgets. Testing an MVP never has been more accessible.

You would think this is great for Wix - bad news; the Wix stock price does not reflect this.

In an era where non-techies can build complex digital businesses without writing a single line of code, a new generation of entrepreneurs is rising. All of them, and I can't stress this enough; literally, 100% of them are used to a decent level of user experience provided by their smartphones and their everyday software tools and apps.

The new generation is no longer using the console, terminal, and code. As a result, enterprises that ignore the importance of user/customer experience are paying a substantial price and risking everything.

The user experience of software tools will decide about failure and success more than ever before.

Unfortunately, I don't see this reflected in the structure of Wix's management, though. Why is there no Chief Experience Design Officer at Wix? There is a CTO and CMO on C-Level. Why does design stop at VP level?

(Update: The webpage that shows the management structure got taken offline since I wrote this. Maybe because all C-Level Manager besides Chief People Officer are male!? But here is a web-time-mashine backup of this page.)

Screenshot Wix Management Team on web.archive.org from 02.02.2022

On the technical side, Wix or EditorX has nothing revolutionary to offer. There is no rocket science involved. Also, the sales and marketing team will continue to lure people into the funnel and convert them to new customers. There is no rocket science involved either.

But the user experience of Wix Editors and Apps will decide if customers stay or leave. The user experience is not less critical than IT and Marketing. It's 2022. 

Can Wix survive and thrive against a growing number of competitors without the most critical expertise of this era on the C-level? I highly doubt this. The design needs a seat at the table.

Here is what I would do to tackle the bigger problem.

  • Implement experience design on C-level. Experience Design needs a seat on the table.
  • Implement a proper design process around user-centricity principles and testing.
  • Implement one single OKR to measure the success of experience design (number of delivered improvements/features based on valid user testing)
  • Strip all bonus payments that are tied to roadmaps. Those just force the delivery of lousy user experience and bad usability. Tie the bonus of product management and design to the OKR above.
  • And most important: Flip the power. Most common in cases of products with bad user experience is that the experience designers have to ask the developers what's possible with their systems. This is so last decades. If you want to leave the train of mediocracy, you have to turn this upside down. Developers have to ask the designers, what do you want us to make possible! Again, it's 2022!

Am I able to do such an assessment? Absolutely. I have been a designer of digital products and services of all sizes and complexity levels for more than two decades. I have worked worldwide for many of the biggest brands and enterprises, disruption start-ups, and for several governments. Also, I'm not a newbie when working with no-code solutions for start-ups and big enterprises.

LinkedIn

Instead of writing this open letter, I could have easily switched my project to Webflow and built everything in a fraction of time. And actually, I'm thinking of making an exact copy of my project to show the comparison in quality and building speed. But I will stick here for longer because I want to know how things develop compared to the Wix stock price.

Spoiler Alert: Subscribe to the EditorX vs. Webflow step by step Comparison Report report.

This letter is also a question to the investors. 

You guys have specialists for the numbers, specialists for the market, specialists for legal, specialists for the technical parts, specialists for x, y, and z. But is there no specialist to identify the shortcomings of the tools/apps user experience when using them in a real-world scenario? I mean, user experience is one of the most crucial aspects of the success or failure of a digital product. I'm asking because if there were specialists who had a look at this, they did a horrible job! And this is probably the most devastating and saddest part. So many shortcomings of EditorX are obvious. And to define what needs to be done to change this is primarily a low-brainer.

One last important thing.

I'm sure that every single designer, product manager, and developer at Wix is giving their best every day. I'm also aware that they know about many of the shortcomings of EditorX and that they would love to solve them. And for sure, they have plenty of ideas, a packed backlog, and several plans - but not enough time. Only love to you guys. My rant is towards the management of Wix.com Ltd!

Read here part 2 of the open letter to the CEO and investors of Wix.com Ltd.

<hr>

Behind the link below I will continuously add my disastrous experiences with EditorX. You can sort the database by shortcomings of EditorX on the level of embarrassment from "Seriously?" to "Someone needs to be ashamed."

It's a work-in-progress database and not finished yet. At the moment it's just a rough and short list to remind me what to describe next.

Desaster Backlog

Georg S. Kuklick
Founder