Yeah, I know we all love to get to the basics to put the pencil on paper. But sometimes involving new web design tools in the process can help you to flow the creative juice all over the place.
For web designers and design agencies to consider using to build or even relaunch a website.
A design process typically starts with brainstorming for samples, ideas, and color themes. As creative as the process can be, it can also be a dreadfully repetitive one.
This is the first phase of the design process where communication with the client needs to be clear and precise. Most often, teams revert back to the client’s job brief to ensure that the requirements are clearly highlighted and communicated.
Let’s look at some tools for web designers and developers that help facilitate this real-time communication and make organizing information easy.
Trello’s platform makes it simple and manageable to create spreadsheets, emails, and do tasks that involve major teamwork and collaboration.
Projects, tasks, and assignments are all transparent – all team members can see what everyone else is doing, as well as what tasks are pending by accessing the relevant board and cards. This makes for excellent productivity.
Slack is a single workspace that helps teams communicate in an organized way. For instance, communication between different teams in the digital agency and the client. Its multiple bots and app integrations help set up alerts and notifications when tasks are complete.
Slack also has some neat features for developers, such as the ability to share code snippets directly in the app, as well as notifications on change requests from customers and new bugs
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This is the second phase of the designing process is where the initial sketch and outline of the project are created. This helps structure the work and explain the user journey from the beginning to the desired actions.
Here, after the wireframing, mockups help create a visualization of how the end product will look so the client can see how close the end product is to the expected outcome according to the brief.
Let’s have a look at some of the best web design tools that help in creating clear and simple wireframes/mockups.
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This flexible design platform helps demonstrate designs over the web. Designers and developers working independently or in a digital agency should consider adding Figma to their web design tools inventory for easy collaboration and real-time feedback from their clients.
With Figma, there is no need for other third-party tools to enable the exchange of mockups or updates. What’s more, its in-app commenting feature eases design review feedback without the need for making constant design updates.
Wireframe.cc is a freemium web design tool that helps create simple wireframes for websites and mobile applications. Its minimalist design interface clearly demonstrates website elements, while removing distractions and clutter. Once the wireframe is complete, you can easily save the URL to show the client.
An online wireframing and website layout tool, this helps create initial sketches for software and websites. MockFlow’s inventory of buttons, tabs, and graphics explains the flow between screens in an intuitive, easy-to-understand way. There are a variety of templates to choose from so designers and developers don’t have to start from scratch for every project. You can use this for creating a fantastic web development proposal for your clients.
Balsamiq is a rapid wireframing software that helps explain mockups using a simple paper sketching style. This web designing tool simplifies the mockups, following a minimalist design principle that reduces any other distractions for clients and stakeholders.
One of the more popular and accessible design tools, Canva helps you create quick images with the help of predefined, optimized templates. These customizable templates allow you to play with images and colors and easily create visuals, social media graphics, presentations, and posters. Further simplifying the process is the tool’s drag and drop interface and a premium library of graphical content.
A Graphical Image Manipulation Program like GIMP, that’s light on the computer’s RAM, is a popular freemium tool to add to the inventory of web design tools. While it may not be as technically sophisticated as Photoshop, it’s a nifty little tool when it comes to explaining an idea in a presentation or retouching an image before uploading it on a blog post.
Pixel Dropr is a Photoshop plugin among the popular web design tools created by UI Parade. The concept behind the Pixel Dropr is to ease out the web design process by grouping all commonly-used UI elements in one plugin.
By using this plugin, web designers can create a group of buttons, icons, vectors, and other web elements. These web elements can be dropped and dragged into any PSD file directly from Photoshop.
Niice is sort of a search engine for designers. It gathers results from Behance, Designspiration, and Dribble. If you’re looking for creative inspiration, just dig here and you won’t be disappointed. I recommend that you try searching for responsive web designs.
Intuitive Color Picker online color picker tool. When it loads, the whole browser gets filled with color. You can move your mouse left to right to change the hue and up and down to adjust the brightness and change the saturation with scroll. You can choose a color theme and click on the screen to save that color and continue with the second color. You can create a whole collection of colors. Here’s a screenshot that shows how it works.
Among many web design tools, Google Fonts is a popular option that helps you to enable a font type on your website with a simple one-line code. It contains a huge collection of fonts best optimized for the web. Follow these 3 simple steps:
Behance is the leading online webpage designing tool for creative designers that work independently or with an agency. You can showcase your work to the world and find relevant works created by other designers.
It helps designers to update all their work in one place and broadcast it widely. It helps companies and agencies to explore creativity and find the right talent globally.
Place It is a drag and drop website layout tool that helps to place your product screenshots in a realistic environment. You can use this app to tell your product story in seconds with real-life examples. You will love it, give it a try!
Designmodo offers tools to create websites and email newsletters. There are two website builders: Slides and Startup. The latter is based on the Bootstrap framework. Users can create custom websites using these two builders and launch them via a host. Postcards is an email newsletter builder. It’s a no-code tool that you can use to create engaging newsletters. You can choose from different templates and save them for use later.
Mockplus is web-based wireframing and prototyping tool for applications and websites. With its drag and drop editor, you can create sketches and wireframes for your websites with no sweat. Its vector tool, multiple interactions and responsive layout features enable designers to create lifelike designs in minutes. With Mockplus, you can also export designs from Sketch, Figma, Axure, Adobe XD and Adobe Photoshop, handoff designs with accurate specs, assets, code snippets. Its real-time collaboration function helps remove misunderstandings between web designers and developers.
Once the wireframing and mockups are approved, work starts on the real code behind the application and the script. Documentation at this time can get tricky to maintain along with the alterations to the code. Hence, it’s important to maintain both these tasks in parallel.
The work is not yet complete until a prototype is created and tested. This is where the application is tested and improved until it meets the satisfactory expectation as per the brief.
The following tools help developers work in a streamlined and organized way.
Bubble helps create functional and data-driven web applications. Its point-and-click editor helps developers build, design, and customize web applications depending on their requirements.
A lot of designers and developers use Interplay to communicate and collaborate with the team. This webpage designing tool integrates with code and helps create documentation that’s easy for members of the team to follow.
Eclipse is a Java Integrated Development Environment that helps you easily combine languages such as C/, C++, and PHP IDE. Developers can make use of the Eclipse Marketplace to integrate extensions and customizations without worrying about repeatedly diving into the code and testing it.
InVision is the world’s leading design prototyping and collaboration platform. This webpage designing tool transforms designs into interactive prototypes with proper transitions, animations, and working buttons without any HTML process involved.
It helps designers to sell their ideas by using real-time design presentations and collaborations. It allows clients to click through the design and experience the live demo before starting the development process.
Creative Tim creates fully coded UI Kits and dashboard templates built on top of Bootstrap, Vue.js, React, Angular, Tailwind, Node.js, Laravel, and many other technologies. You can use their templates to build web and mobile apps faster and easier.
Creating a web design from scratch by yourself is time-consuming, and hiring web designers to do it can be very expensive. With Creative Tim’s web templates, you don’t have to worry about interface design. Plus, you save time and money and can focus on other aspects of your web project or business.
Foundation is a nifty web layout tool to develop a responsive front-end framework. It allows developers and designers to create responsive and faster websites for better user experience. Now it’s crazy fast for web designers to code and build apps, products, and services in no time.
Webflow is a website-building tool for web designers. You can use the drag-and-drop feature to create a custom-made website without using any code. It’s a handy tool for those creative web designers who don’t like to code to create an entire website.
The next and final phase of this design process is making changes to the live website. This can be time-consuming as it may require major collaboration and quality assurance. Hence, this is where documentation helps maintain a log to know the version and alternation of the live website.
Cloudways gives freelancers, professional developers, designers, and digital agencies the leeway to collaborate with team members, test changes, and publish their projects and work. I’ll be elaborating on some of the ways it does so.
When it comes to testing out changes on a website, Cloudways offers an isolated staging area. This means that changes on the website can be beta tested to prevent the live website from breaking and costing the business. When the new changes are functioning as expected, these changes can then be pushed onto the live website.
Cloudways offers its customers the choice of using five industry-leading infrastructure providers (AWS. GCE. DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr) depending on their performance requirement and budget. It also gives its customers the flexibility of using popular web applications (such as WordPress, Magento, Laravel, and all the PHP based applications) based on business requirements.
For designers and developers, Cloudways erases the headaches involved in hosting and managing servers so you can focus entirely on creating and developing applications and websites for your clients.
The Teams Feature helps Cloudways account owners give access to specific external parties to an application or their Cloudways Platform. The account owner can manage multiple teams using just one email address for breezy collaboration. For designers and developers especially, this simplifies the process of teams working together on a single platform.
On the platform, you can give three kinds of access;
This listicle has some of the popular web design tools that are used by design professionals and experts. I’ve compiled this list of design and development tools based on reviews from G2 – an incredible source for business software and services reviews.
I’ve covered tools that come in handy during each phase of the design process, from collaboration, wireframing and mockups, coding and debugging, to pushing changes to the live website.
If I have missed any of your favorite tools, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Your comments and suggestions are highly appreciated. You can also get help from the Cloudways webinar on productivity tools for agencies.