We are in the second half of 2017, and web design has never been more exciting, what with the emergence of some of the coolest web design tools you can’t wait to lay your hands on. Today, we shine light on 10 of the best design tools you should try before the year ends. I bet most of these design tools will be invaluable even in the future, so dig in 🙂
Web design takes into account a number of components, all skillfully intertwined to build responsive websites you’re proud of. These ingredients are (in no particular order): interface design, graphic design, search engine optimization and content – all seamlessly tailored to bring out the best user experience.
If web design is your cup of tea, here are a few design tools that you should try out. Most (if not all) of these tools are built to mirror a developer’s work, but we both know replacing a developer is a far-fetched idea. The authenticity and handiwork of developers is what makes them unique.
The beauty and major selling point of Webflow is it doesn’t require you to have background knowledge in programming. You can customize your website until you drop without having to deal with messy backends. The fact that it molds an already working website visually, makes it a must have tool. Further, the code Webflow generates is compatible with all devices and browsers.
Created for the modern day graphic designer, Sketch ships with a nice suite of features that add speed and flexibility to your design work. One of the best features (and one that saves you a lot of time) is Symbols and Shared Styles, which allows you to reuse elements easily and quickly.
It’s vector based, which means the artwork you create is high-quality, an aspect that stays constant from the beginning to the end. The simple interface, limitless space and automatic file saving makes Sketch a first-priority tool for UI and web designers alike.
When Sketch hit the market, debates erupted on whether the tool was better in comparison to Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Fireworks, all of which dominated the market prior to its release. The answer to this lies in your specific needs.
Of all design tools we cover today, ForeUI is ideal for creating application and website prototypes you dearly need as a designer. It offers you a unique and simple way to change any user interface since all you have to do is change some UI theme. You can later export your prototype to PDF, wireframe images or HTML5 simulation making it a convenient tool for putting ideas across.
Thanks to the HTML5 code you generate using the tool, you can use ForeUI as an integrated development environment (IDE) to create front-ends for various applications as it can interact with multiple back-end services. It is fully compatible with Windows, Mac OSX and Linux operating systems.
Dissimilar to many other frameworks, it only focuses on front-end development. Bootstrap supports all recent web browsers making it feasible for future-proof development. Additionally, it ships with a horde of HTML elements, CSS components, awesome jQuery plugins and Sass and Less CSS preprocessors. This way, you don’t need to start building websites from scratch each time.
Is accessibility in a website really that important? You might argue that, after all, my user interface looks superb. This, however, is not the case. Whenever you need to implement certain accessibility functions, features and behaviors, ally.js comes in handy.
There is so much in store for you as far as Anime.js goes, so don’t hesitate checking out the documentation for the cool things you can achieve with this design tool.
Adobe Experience Design
Built to address the convoluted needs of today’s UX designers, Adobe Experience Design (also known as Adobe XD) allows you to “..draw, reuse, and remix vector and raster artwork to create wireframes, screen layouts, interactive prototypes, and production-ready assets…” all in the same application.
You can also easily switch from design mode to prototype without disrupting your workflow. It eliminates the need for guesswork since you are able to view the design in real-time. It’s an amazing tool to design and mock-up websites and mobile applications.
This is a free and open source image manipulation program with features rivaling those intrinsic to Adobe Photoshop. It offers high-quality color recreation across printed and digital media. It supports a number of programming languages including Perl, Scheme, Python and C among others.
GIMP supports different file formats that you can either import or export. These features make it a suitable candidate to handle the most challenging of image creation and editing tasks. With GIMP, you might never use Adobe again especially with the high price associated with the latter.
In a nutshell, Macaw offers you the ability to convert images into HTML and CSS code. While you build out your design visually, this one-of-a-kind tool generates corresponding HTML and CSS code automatically. It ships with an awesome suite of features that make you feel like a pro developer.
It accepts most image file formats. You can also crop, adjust image compression and create thumbnails with this program. The only setback we noted is the lack of ready templates. This makes it wearisome if you are working on a huge project. If, however, you are working on a small website, Macaw is an excellent performer. The major other advantage is its ease of use.
Bonus: Logo Design Tools
Before we get to the end, we just noticed we haven’t mentioned anything to do with logos. This I say because a logo is a vital aspect of any business that many of us seem to forget all the damn time. Think of WordPress, Coca-Cola, Sony, CNN or any other major name brand – you can spot their logos from a mile away, right?
And the fact that you can easily notice their logos at any time anywhere points to one obvious truth – a logo can easily help you to considerate your brand. It’s subtle yet so quite effective, which is probably why many web designers will display logos in their “As Seen On…” or “Featured On…” sections as a way of boosting customer trust via social proof.
Which design tools do you use to create logos? There are numerous, which is why I couldn’t settle on a single one. I will let you populate this section, because I wrote this blog post just for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to create logos like the pros, the linked post by our friends over at 99designs is your saving grace.
Design tools are here to stay and will make web design easier for designers from all walks of life. That said, which is your favorite design tool?