Valuable tools for every web designer and developer
If you’re a web designer or developer in 2020, you’re one of the fortunate ones. The fact is that there are more tools, tutorials, and tips for web design now than there ever have been before! As the trends and fads of web design continue to change over time, more resources appear almost daily.
For every cutting-edge designer, there is a plethora of tools to help you stay on-trend and do your job ever more thoroughly.
Today, we’ve compiled some of the top recommended tools that bring high value to your design, using a comprehensive approach that covers a wide variety of needs.
Top tools for UX and UI design
The design of your UX is hugely important. It can make all the difference between your viewer spending time on your website, and back-spacing right out of there before they find what they’re looking for.
Your UI and UX should work together in order to promote the best overall experience — and the lowest bounce rate for your site. Here are ten of the most highly recommended UX and UI design tools.
- Sketch is a top-ten tool on many websites. It is designed to provide a streamlined design process. And since it has a multitude of third-party plugins, it plays well with other tools, too.
- Proto.io is a UI design software that bills itself as delivering “prototypes that feel real.” As you work on constructing your ideal UI experience, this is a great tool to turn to.
- Marvel works well for both beginner and accomplished UI designers, offering a range of built-in tools. Intuitively designed, it gives you the necessary functions to develop wireframes and prototypes of all kinds, as well as enabling user testing for a high-quality, well-received design.
- If you are working with multiple other designers to create your project — and teamwork is a great tool, too! — then Figma might be your tool of choice for design. As you use this tool to create your prototypes and wireframes, it shows who else is adding to or editing the project.
- InVision is a very popular choice for wireframing and other prototype building, and features a host of highly usable tools at an affordable price, even if you are working on several different projects each month.
- Are you not much of a coder? Or are you still learning to code adeptly? Then Axure might be the ideal solution for your UI and UX needs, since it doesn’t require coding.
- If Axure isn’t your cup of tea but you do have issues with coding skills, Webflow is another suggestion that offers the same capability of design without needing a single line of code. You can even do a few projects each month for free, before you need to sign up for a paid account.
- Framer is another highly popular choice for UI and UX design, running on a variety of platforms, and supporting both Sketch and Photoshop designs.
- FlowMapp is dedicated to UX design, rather than combining UI and UX as the others on this list do. But as these two aspects are so closely connected, a good UX design will clearly heavily impact the UI. This design app focuses on designing ideal user flow and visual sitemaps.
- Treejack is the king of “information architecture,” allowing you to construct your information release in a flow that maximizes the impact and usability.
Top tools for designing web visuals
Regardless of what or who you’re building your site for, visuals are a hugely important part of design. After all, the aesthetics of a site are often what keep us invested in the site, as well as furthering branding and ambassadorship. So these ten visual design tools are sure to come in handy as you put together your ideal site design.
- Adobe Photoshop is a classic, well-known tool for designing visuals of all kinds. With an easy to use interface and a seemingly endless range of features and built-in tools — not to mention a host of specialized tutorials — this tool comes highly recommended for designers of all skill levels.
- Logodesign.net is a great example of a simple to use web-based software that is competitively priced and which offers personalized designs for logos and other branding visuals.
- For those of us that are great at the overall design but struggle with some details, like color palettes that effectively do what they should, the app Color911 is a boon. This is a great way to find your inspiration for color palettes that really pop.
- If that app isn’t quite what you’re looking for, Paletton is another color-choice software that helps you to find what you’re looking for in terms of the psychology of color and what you’re communicating to your viewers.
- If infographics and information-delivery visuals are your interest, Piktochart is a fantastic tool to turn to. It’s easy to use, which means that it is a great go-to for designers of all visual skill levels.
- Designed for Apple users, ProCreate gets a lot of attention for being one of the most powerful applications for the creation of digital art. One of our favorite features is that it can record the entire design process, enabling you to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t.
- Another popular option from Adobe, Adobe Illustrator is often cited as one of the most popular and powerful visual design tools.
- Gravit Designer is another popular visual design tool, but it does require a little bit of a steeper learning curve, so it isn’t necessarily recommended for absolute beginners in the visual arts.
- If you’re looking for a tool that enables you to create both static visuals and videos, Design Wizard is definitely worth a look.
Top web building tools
Of course, once you use the tools we’ve listed thus far, you’ll need to actually put everything together and create the website. If you’re still working at your coding skills, or if you’re just interested in streamlining your process to keep it as simple and energy-efficient as possible, these five web building tools are great co-workers.
- WordPress is a perennial favorite, offering one of the largest ranges of tools and plugins, fantastic functionality, great hosting, and both free and paid options.
- HostGator is an up-and-coming web builder with more than two hundred templates for your web pages, and the paid plan includes your custom domain name.
Our favorite free tools
We love to be able to create web design that is effective, aesthetically pleasing, and which offers a great user experience — and we love even more to be able to do this using free tools!
Here are the top recommended tools which are either completely free, or which offer a free level which still provides great functionality.
- Origami Studio was originally created by the team behind Facebook, to help teams collaborate on building and designing their web projects. It works fantastically as a prototyping tool, and functions well with imported files from other design tools like Sketch and Photoshop.
- Gimp is definitely one of our favorites and most frequently used free tools for designing visuals.
- Inkscape is right up there with Gimp in terms of ease of use and adaptability to your project.
- Mockingbird is a recommended site to help even new designers create wireframes and prototypes for their pages.
Web design and development in 2022
When we started out, we mentioned that there are more tools and tutorials available today than ever before for web designers and developers — which means that this article has only scratched the surface!
But with so many tools available, the important part is finding which tools work best for you and your design process. The tools linked here are some of the cherry-picked options with high functionality and great ease of use — and we heartily recommend them all. But if they don’t cover your needs, there are plenty of other tools out there to choose from. All it takes is a little research and a willingness to try new things — and if you are a web designer or developer, the willingness to try something new is definitely a skill that you already possess!
When not working on website projects, Cynthia Adam loves to write about web design, web development and how to market them. Her writing aims to ease the process of web design and web development for other website owners.