The Web designing world is constantly evolving giving designers lots of tools to play with. A recent survey says that 38% of people would stop using a website if its content/layout is unattractive.
As technology keeps advancing, standards are on the rise and designers are challenged each passing day to develop something that’s both distinct and versatile. From Affinity Designer to Pattern Lab, here are 10 essential tools that will aid the website designers to develop state of the art web pages.
You may be tempted to stick onto one tool and may feel comfortable with it, but I would advise you to, as a new tool may soon land in the market and may wipe out all the existing ones due to its advanced features.
Marvel is a simple browser-based based prototyping tool that converts mockups, sketches, and designs into web prototypes, apple watch, Android, and iPhone. It is a design, prototyping and collaboration platform
Canvas is easy to use designing tool that makes it a cakewalk to built simple icons. Along with enabling third-party uploading via Sketch, Google Drive, and Dropbox, it enables direct uploading of certain image file types including GIF, PSD, JPG.
All you need to do is click and drag to develop interactive hotspots on the designs which react when touched or clicked. The realistic gestures and transitions between the screens enable you to make your prototypes more lively.
You can also collaborate with colleagues, clients or stakeholders to get quick feedback. Marvel provides a seamless structure allowing clients to leave comments without having to sign up.
InVision Design System Manager (DSM) an amalgamation of the best capabilities of the Brand.ai product with the power of the InVision platform is expected to launch in December this year.
The new entrant is expected to enable every product team to develop and maintain an uninterrupted user interface across every digital interface. With DSM, the design tools such as Sketch, web view, and InVision Studio, can be accessed and updated. The invasion platform manages and shares the library and the company’s design language.
- Ensure security of confidential information – Enterprise-ready features like Private Cloud and SSO secure most crucial data.
- Ensures external collaboration – Any stakeholder can preview, code, document, or use design with the help of the customizable and automatically generated web portal.
- Enables simple designing – It’s only a click away to modify assets to deeply incorporate symbols and access libraries directly from Invision or Sketch.
- Ensure Sync – Teams can stay in sync thanks to a single entity that manages all UX components and brands.
- Authorizations can be modified – It allows complete control over who can edit or view each library within the system.
- Automatic Syncing enabled – Save time and the effort required to monitor spec updates and enable developers to use the DSM API to integrate directly into live code.
- Flexible and fully automated – Designers have the flexibility to switch to the latest version or switch back to the old version at any point with all the changes automatically syncing to the entire team.
Avocode enables front-end developers to code websites or apps from Photoshop or Sketch designs.
Avocode’s distinct photoshop plugin enables you to sync the PSD into avocode with a single click giving you full control on deciding how you export your assets including SVG exporting as a standard.
The elements of the design can be selected and copy-pasted into a text as your choice, access to all the layers, a preview of the design and export assets allowing developers to work without Sketch or Photoshop.
Developed by Torchbox and popular among the CMSes using the Django framework, Wagtail interface is a free and open source Content Management System (CMS) written in Python. Available in 10 languages with a cross-platform operating system, wagtail is maintained by a team of open-source contributors backed by companies around the world.
The image/document management is intuitively designed and does not break your flow to add media. The workflow provides multi-site and multi-language support and the permissions are simple and configurable, even for complex requirements. Wagtail focuses on developer friendliness as well as ease of use of its administration interface.
5. AFFINITY DESIGNER
Dubbed as the ‘Photoshop killer by some people, Affinity Designer is fabulously designed to be a typical web and graphic design tool. Its adjustable, nondestructive layers allow you to modify vectors or images without damage.
The 1,000,000 percent zoom is a blessing unlike the insufficient zoom provided by Photoshop’s 32,000 percent, which becomes quite useful especially when working with vector art. Enabling you to go back over 8,000 steps, Affinity provides outstanding undo and history features.
Since its launch in 2009, Sketch has been growing massively and have introduced improved symbols, exporting and simplified vector modes. Sketch has efficiently incorporated CSS logic into the app making it easier to convert designs into CSS using the sketch.
Automatic Slicing is another handy feature that speeds up the design/development crossover. Using one-click export, Sketch can develop assets Without the need of manually adding slices and export to 0.5x, 1x, 2x and 3x in various formats such as JPG, TIFF and PNG.
7. PATTERN LAB
Based on Atomic Design, Dave OIsen and Brad Frost created a distinct pattern-driven design tool that can mix and match components. Grounded on the concept of Atomic Design, which insists to simplify your design into smallest components, atoms and bind them to create reusable and bigger constituents which can be converted into usable templates.
It’s a tool and language doubter which enables the users to nest UI patterns inside each other and design with dynamic data. Pattern Lab is highly extensible expanding to meet your needs.
Dedicated to designers, Macaw is characterized by its simple design and enables you to create aesthetically appealing responsive designs that work perfectly across all devices without touching any code.
The app allows to bring up options to adjust the layout which gets represented real time and enables you to see how the modifications impact the design. In the case of setting breakpoints, it was quite helpful as the designer can tweak it when the layout breaks and create a responsive layout sans touching any code.
It’s essential to know React and Google’s Material Design as Material-UI is the end product that emerged out of React and Google’s Material Design. With a finely polished library featuring animations and pixel-perfect CSS styles, Material-UI delivers a rich set of React components implementing Material Design principles. It offers two different themes for users to opt from – light and dark.
Material-UI is available as a package through npm allowing you to include Material-UI in your project by just running npm install Material-UI from your project’s directory, and then use the Material-UI components that you require.
Vivaldi, is a fast and customizable web browser built by the guys who developed Opera, is dubbed as “A Browser For Our Friends”. It delivers awesome features like tab stacking and tiling, command line control, a panel for taking notes and web panels to organize and easily access all your favorite sites in a single place which makes it one of the most customizable browsers in the market.
Pixlr editor app a free web-based app popular with graphic designers is a relief for those who can’t opt the photoshop. Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, and Pixlr-o-Matic for the web require the Adobe Flash plug-in. Pixlr is versatile working on any browser, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. In case if you’re still using IE6, its advisable to upgrade to a new browser. Graphic designers can take advantage of Pixlr-o-matic which is available as an Adobe Air app (which is a free app) which doesn’t allow you to run flash apps on your browsers but enables you to run Flash apps on your computer.
Yeoman is efficient in initiating fresh web application projects and keeps all the necessary tools handy for generating the scaffold, testing, and deploying the web application to allow you to focus on just your coding. When it comes to developing a web application, Yeoman is an all in all in one tool that offers three front-end development tools:
- Yo – It delivers several Generators to generate the scaffold for developing fresh web applications. With around 400 Generators, which you can look up and install through NPM (Node Package Manager). You can either build your very own custom Generator if you like or stick to the available generators that cater to various types of web applications such as Bootstrap, AngularJS, Boilerplate, HTML5 etc.
- Bower – Bower is a front-end Package Manager that manages project libraries like Normalize.css, Query and other common libraries you use on your website.
Yeoman comes with the configuration of these three front-end development tools preset and provides the package manager, the scaffold, and sets all the Grunt tasks for compiling CSS-Preprocessors, running built-in server, linting scripts and optimizing your images, etc.
As per a recent survey that was done this year, 48% of people mentioned that a website’s design is the most important factor in deciding the credibility of a business.
So when designing web pages, designers need to be aware of the best tools in the field to stay on top of the game. Studies show that nearly two-thirds of people would rather read beautifully designed content instead of something expressed plainly and 47% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
Web designers need to pay sufficient attention to new strategies and be consistently updated on new tools to ensure that their web pages are impactful and aesthetically appealing.