Designing an appealing website, web portal or online shopping cart is a demanding task that requires the best of skills, knowledge of the latest trends and right tools for web designers.
In this article, we explore some really useful design tools that speed up the design process, make it more convenient and give you more control over the entire process; this results in a better outcome with respect to your website design.
Here are 12 tools you must use while designing a website:
1. Sketch 3
Sketch 3 is a popular web design tool used by beginners and experts. It has an easy-to-use interface and rich functionalities that empower you to create vectors, basic shapes and operate within multiple layers.
With its latest release, you can design quickly and efficiently using symbols, text styles, exports and an improved UI.
You need to optimize, resize and compress images if you want to improve the performance of your website. This is a time-consuming process. However, ImageOptim, a free image optimizer tool, automates the process to save your time. It works well on GIF, JPEG and PNG files.
You can use this tool to remove unwanted color profiles, comments and choose the best image compression method.
Publish images on the Web and make Mac, iPhone and iPad apps smaller (if configured with Xcode) with this tool.
3. Icon Slate
You can use Icon Slate, a unique app, to export and import icons in multiple formats. The application supports .TIFF; .ICO; .ICONSET; .ICNS; .IOS; .ICONTAINER files. It’s drag and drop feature makes it easy for you to quickly use several images and compose an icon.
You can speed up icon development with different copy paste modes like – copy retina to regular sizes, copy to empty or filled sized and many more.
Since wire-framing plays an important role right from the beginning of any web design project, you as a designer should make it a point to choose the perfect tool for this purpose. Axure is one such tool. It is an easy-to-use, versatile prototyping, specification and wire framing tool with collaborative features.
You can create click through mockups with relative ease; even functional prototypes interlaced with dynamic content, animations and conditional logic can be designed with very little effort. This tool helps your send a detailed mockup for client evaluation and feedback.
Typesetter is an online application that you can use to compare fonts for the screen.
6. Pixel Dropr
Pixel Dropr is a photoshop plugin that allows you to create a big collection of buttons, icons, images, graphics, UI kits and other web design elements. Drag and drop them all into any PS document as you work and cut short your web design time.
ColorZilla provides a powerful Photoshop like interface that you can effectively use to get a color reading program from any point, adjust it and paste it in another program.
Features like cross browser CSS output, complex multi-stop gradients, opacity support with import for image and existing CSS and flexible preview give you sharper control over the coloring aspect of your web design project.
The 960 Grid System is ideally suited for rapid prototyping because it relies on commonly used dimensions based on the width of 960 pixels.
Centered on two variants- 12 and 16 columns, this tool allows you to work on a 12- column grid and 16- column grid respectively.
It can be integrated into the production environment and its features like printable sketch sheets, design layouts and CSS file can be used effectively to improve design frameworks.
Pixlr is a widely used online photo editor and its upgraded version allows you to get the same experience on Mac or Windows computers.
Transform you photos into works of art because this tool gives you greater control over the photo editing process. Add effects like crosshatch, halftone and dapple with a single click. Choose from a vast range of effects, stickers, overlays and borders, and experiment with various combinations of “effects” to create stunning visuals out of your photos.
You must know how your web page or website design looks in different browsers and operating systems. Use Browsershots, a free online web application and conveniently check your website’s cross browser compatibility all at one place.
When you submit your website’s URL, your website will open in different browsers on a number of distributed computers. The different screenshots sent to you will give you a good idea about how your web design looks in different browsers.
Colormunki takes you to a world of colors. You can use its in-built tools to create color palettes besides managing and sharing them. You can also view your color accurately with the integrated monitor calibration device. Take advantage of the comprehensive color range for your photo and design workflow.
With a range of designer-friendly tools at your disposal, some of them free of cost, you will surely love to exploit their use to create stunning designs that will impress your clients.