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Best Web Design Tools

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There are plenty of great web design tools available right now. No matter what you’re trying to do, chances are, there’s a tool designed to help you out. With new web design tools being released all the time, and competition rising, the bar is continually rising when it comes to what our tools can do, too.

While all this is great news for web professionals, it does mean it’s increasingly difficult to pick the tools that will suit you and your workflow. In this article, we’ve rounded up what we think are the best web design tools available right now, to help you out. These tools will all help you become more streamlined, inventive and creative in your work. You’ll find everything from UI and prototyping tools to dedicated creative software and everything in-between.

And if that’s not enough, don’t miss our round ups of the best web hosting services and the best website builders for 2019. Creative Web Design Company

Some of the tools listed below will be very familiar, others may be new to you. But each has the potential to save you time, energy and budget in your web design work.

01. Sketch

Sketch has replaced Photoshop as the UI design tool of choice for many web designers [image: Bohemian Coding]

We’ll start with an obvious one. Yes, we know everyone’s heard of Sketch – Bohemian Coding’s vector UI design tool – but anecdotally it seems there are still a lot of web designers relying on Photoshop for UI design (and that’s despite the release of Adobe XD, Adobe’s prototyping and wireframing tool – one of the newer additions to Creative Cloud).

Rory Berry, creative director at Superrb, made the switch to Sketch in 2017, and highly recommends it. “Compared to Photoshop, sorting all your documents and making revisions on Sketch is much easier,” he begins. “Sketch has small documents whereas Photoshop has large ones. Due to it being a vector-based app, the file sizes are dramatically smaller compared to Photoshop.”

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And that’s not all. “The built-in grid system in Sketch is great and makes interface design much easier. I think the overall UI and minimal feel makes it much cleaner to design in and user friendly. Photoshop seems very complicated in comparison.”

The Sketch community offers hundreds of plugins to make a designers work flow easier and smoother. If you tried Sketch a long time ago and didn’t like it, you may want to try out the latest iteration of Sketch, version 52, which includes a totally redesigned interface, new features for designing with data, and a new Dark Mode for macOS Mojave.

One potential downside is that Sketch is only available on Mac. If you want to share Sketch files with those not using OS X, you’ll need to explore additional software or conversions, or work from flat JPGs.

Don’t miss our top tips for using Sketch.

02. UXPin

UXPin lets you prototype with interactive states and logic [image: UXPin]

UXPin lets you prototype with interactive states and logic [image: UXPin]

The next web design tool in our list is UXPin. This dedicated prototyping app is available for Mac, Windows, or in the browser. With most other design tools you can only mimic interactions by linking different elements on your artboard, UXPin gets closer to the code and enables you to work with interactive states, logic, and code components.

There are integrated element libraries for iOS, Material Design and Bootstrap, plus hundreds of free icon sets, to help you on your way. UXPin has also recently introduced accessibility features to ensure your designs stay in line with WCAG standards, which we applaud.

API Request is the latest addition to UXPin’s Interactions capabilities. The feature enables you to prototype app that ‘talk’ to your products from directly within your design tool – with no need for code. It works by enabling you to send HTTP requests to an external API.

You can create your first prototype in UXPin for free, and if it suits you switch to a paid monthly subscription (team memberships are available). UXPin recently improved its integration with Sketch, so it could be one to introduce into your workflow if you’re a Sketch fan that finds its prototyping capabilities limiting.

03. Adobe XD

Adobe XD has a light interface that allows you to prototype with ease [image: Adobe]

Adobe’s vector design and wireframing tool Adobe XD keeps getting better, with additions such as support for voice prototyping ensuring the tool can keep up with the latest trends in UX. XD includes drawing tools, tools that enable you to define non-static interactions, mobile and desktop previews, and sharing tools for giving feedback on designs. It allows you to select a device-specific artboard size for starting a project, and you can even import a popular UI kit, for example Google’s Material Design.

Crucially, Adobe XD integrates with the rest of Creative Cloud, which means you’ll be able to import and work with assets from Photoshop or Illustrator easily. If you already use other Adobe apps, the UI will feel nice and familiar and shouldn’t present too much of a learning curve.

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Andrei Robu, design director at Robu Studio in Barcelona, is among its fans. “For quick mockups it’s great,” he says. “It’s a very light interface, with lots of photos loaded in, and great for moodboards. The prototyping is very useful to show clients how stuff works, especially because you can push the content online right away.” Creative Web Design Company

Ellis Rogers, graphic designer at Receptional Ltd also recommends it. “When the design/prototype or wireframe is complete, Adobe XD allows you to very quickly select elements and create page transitions for a working prototype, which can be shared via a link,” he explains. “The link also allows you to gather feedback per page, keeping it all organised. The link can be updated within Adobe XD so the client can always see the latest version without having to worry about incorrect versions. It’s an absolute joy to work with.”

04. Figma

This site allows you to design, prototype and gather feedback with other designers in real time Creative Web Design Company

Figma is an interface design tool that enables multiple designers to collaborate in real-time. It’s available in the browser, or on Windows, Mac or Linux, and there are both free and paid versions depending on what you use it for. Creative Web Design Company Chennai

Here are some of its outstanding features: @God Particles

“It has a similar USP as Sketch with the exception of being cross platform,” explains front end designer Benjamin Read. “When I used it to create a couple of icons for an article on our website I found the workflow incredibly smooth. It took me no time to learn and had the added benefit of being collaborative: you can share graphics with others within the app.“

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“I’ve been trying to switch to Linux for my work and sometimes we use Windows, so Figma makes sense to me from a practical standpoint,” he adds. “In comparison I’ve found many tools for other platforms fall short.” Creative Web Design Company

Freelance content writer and artworker David Eastwood, also has good things to say about Figma. “It’s also been a really useful tool when we’ve needed to quickly mock MVTs; sometimes small additions to an existing layout. We love that you can quickly create designs for desktop, tablet and mobile.”

05. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer on iPad

Affinity Designer is as powerful on iPad as it in on desktop

“Serif’s Affinity Designer has been dubbed the ‘Photoshop killer’ by some, and it’s easy to see why,” says product designer Dan Edwards. “My first impressions are that the app is incredibly well-designed and feels like it’s been made to be a dedicated web and graphic design tool.

“There were a few features I really enjoyed, including adjustable, nondestructive layers. This essentially means you can adjust images or vectors without damaging them.

“The 1,000,000 per cent zoom was just bliss; it’s especially useful when working with vector art, as you can really get in close. The undo and history features are also really handy: Affinity allows you to go back over 8,000 steps!”

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“When it comes to designing, the UI feels familiar. When moving from Photoshop, everyone seems to want to start over, which can pose a real challenge. What Affinity has done is to keep the layout familiar, while tightening everything up and hiding distractions. I was easily able to jump straight in and get designing.”

Affinity Designer is now also available for the iPad. And note that this is not the scaled-down mobile app version you might expect: it’s the same full version you get on the desktop.

Don’t miss our guides to using the Pixel persona, the Export persona and the Pen tool in Affinity Designer. Also note that Affinity make a Photoshop alternative, Affinity Photo and an InDesign alternative, Affinity Publisher; all of which play together nicely.

06. Flare

Aimed at both web designers and game designers, it lets you work directly, in real time, with assets that run in your final product, eliminating the need to redo that work in code. So it should simplify your process enormously and save you a bucketload of time.

Best of all, it’s free to download as part of the Open Design movement. You can see how Ahmed Tarek used it to create an app animation in this tutorial.

07. Vaunt

Vault is a nifty tool for extracting the dominant colours from an image

Want to match your website’s colour scheme to a particular image? Then you may well find Vaunt handy. It’s a free Mac app that uses a clustering algorithm to analyse your images and lets you know which colours are dominant in a picture, so you can use that information in your design.

You drag and drop your image into the app and the dominant colours appear in a panel. You can then click on any of the colours to add them to your clipboard.

08. Squoosh

Google’s new tool makes it easier to compress images to the appropriate level

Launched last November, Squoosh is a free app from Google that’s aimed at helping web designers compress their images without sacrificing quality. You drag and drop your image into the app and use a slider to play with the amount of compression, so you can quickly find a good balance between picture quality and file size.

The app works both online and offline, and overall it’s a win-win: web designers save time, and Google gets a faster web that still looks good.

09. Linksplit

Linksplit makes it quick and simple to set up A/B testing

The most effective way to make your website better is through A/B testing: splitting traffic between two or more different versions and seeing which performs better. And this tool makes it a lot easier to set up. It’s free for the first 10,000 clicks, and you don’t even have to sign up to get started.

Head to the site, enter your destination URLs and you’re given a single, short test URL to share with your audience. If you like, too, you can set up rules. For example, if you want people in the UK who are using Chrome on iOS to end up in a different place to people in the US, that’s pretty easy to set up.

10. Anime

Spice up your apps with this animation engine

Although web page animations have at times got a bad rap, developers are always looking for ways to make things easier. CSS animations and transitions have been a huge step forward, but more complex interactions often require a library. Anime is a new animation engine you’ll want to take a look at if you need to add complex animated components to your apps.

Here’s an example to demonstrate the super-simple API:

var myAnimation = anime({
 targets: ['.box1', '.box2'],
 translateX: '5rem',
 rotate: 180,
 duration: 3000,
 loop: true

This code defines the objects you want to animate, along with specifics of the animations. The API allows you to target elements using CSS selectors, DOM elements or even JavaScript objects.

The author, Julian Garnier, has provided a CodePen collection that demonstrates what the library can do, as well as thorough documentation on GitHub.

11. Avocode

It’s built by the same team that brought us CSS Hat and PNG Hat, so it’s not surprising they’ve taken the exporting process one step further here. Although previous apps have allowed you to export assets, what makes Avocode really special is that you can use its Photoshop plugin to sync your PSD into Avocode with just one click.

Avocode quickly and automatically analyses your PSD or Sketch file and brings everything into a beautifully designed UI. You then have full control over how you export assets, including SVG exporting as standard. Creative Web Design Company Chennai

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You can also click elements in the design, and copy and paste the code into a text editor of your choice. “It gives users everything they need for coding – a preview of the design, and access to all layers and export assets,” says Avocode co-founder Vu Hoang Anh. “The best thing is that developers won’t need Photoshop or Sketch at all. The current workflow really sucks and that’s why we created Avocode.”

We’re not sure any app can ever replicate a developer. But we know of many hard pressed designers who happily use this to turn PSDs and Sketch files into interactive designs, which can then form the foundations for the website build. It costs from $14 per month.

12. Zeplin

Zeplin translates Photoshop or Sketch files into a free Mac, Windows or web-based app

Do you find handing over design assets to developers can be a bit of a hassle? James Stiff certainly does. “They don’t always share the same software,” he points out, “so those painstakingly layered and annotated Photoshop mockups end up as flattened files and things inevitably get lost in translation.”

Zeplin mitigates this painful experience by translating Photoshop or Sketch files into a free Mac, Windows or web-based app. “The best part is that Zeplin provides quick reference for the colours, dimensions and fonts from your designs,” says Stiff. “It even generates CSS and style guides. I’ve found Zeplin to be a massive time saver and my developer friends seem to really like it too.”

Also read our post on Tools that bridge the designer-developer gap.

13. Pattern Lab

Pattern Lab screengrab

It’s based on the concept of Atomic Design, which says that you should break your design down into its smallest parts – atoms – and combine them to form bigger, reusable components – molecules and organisms – that can then be turned into usable templates.

Although at its core it’s a static site generator that stitches together UI components, there’s much more to Pattern Lab than that. It’s language- and tool-agnostic; it enables you to nest UI patterns inside each other and design with dynamic data; it features device-agnostic viewport resizing tools to help you ensure your design system is fully responsive; and it’s fully extensible so you can be sure it’ll expand to meet your needs.

14. Vivaldi

Vivaldi is the most customisable browser you can find

Sometimes the best web design tool can be something as simple as a new browser. Vivaldi is a fast, customisable web browser for power-users built by some of the people who started Opera. Dubbed ‘a browser for our friends’, Vivaldi is built using web technologies. JavaScript and React were used to make the user interface, along with Node.js and lots of NPM modules.

Vivaldi is the most customisable browser out there, and it offers other cool features such as command line control, a panel for taking notes, tab stacking and tiling, and web panels that enable you to put all your favourite sites in one place for easy access.

15. Firefox Reality

Firefox Reality is a new browser especially for VR devices

If you’re working in webVR, you’ll want to check out Firefox Reality, a new browser for virtual reality devices such as Viveport, Oculus and Google Daydream.

Launched by Mozilla last September, it’s available now from these device’s app stores, and is designed to move seamlessly between the 2D web and the immersive web. Among these features is the ability to search the web using your voice, via your device headset. The browser is being built in the open, and you can follow along via its Github page. Also check out the VR app Hologram, further down on our list.

16. Canva

Canva is a popular tool for quickly creating social media images and infographics

Want to mock up something like an infographic quickly and easy? Then Lawrence Harmer, founder of Solve Web Media, recommends Canva. It’s a free, browser-based tool that’s used by both designers and non-designers, to make graphics for both print and the web.

“Canva is pretty good for making nice images,” says Harmer. “Images are the window into the soul of your website and social media, so a tool like this can be key to success.”

17. Web design proposal tool

Generate web design proposals easily with this free tool

Beewits has a nice line in tools to make the business side of web design easier, namely its the Web Design Quotation Generator and Hourly Rate Calculator. Now for 2018, it’s brought out another superb free app: the self-explanatory Web Design Proposal Tool.

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“It’s essentially a simple ‘Proposify’ tool, which enables you to quickly and easily churn out proposals,” explains Beewits’ David Attard. “It’s a glorified form that allows you to enter and change set text, and then creates a Word document ready for sending directly to the client.” Alternatively, you can enter your own text without using a template.

If you sign in to the free service, you can save your current version, such that next time round, you’ve got a bunch of fields already filled in with your details. It’s simple, but it gets the job done.

18. Site Stacks

Check out any website’s tech stack quickly and easily

Here’s another browser-based tool that’s simple and brilliant. Type in the URL of any website to this Chrome extension and it lets you look at its tech stack. It’s fast, smooth and reliable, provides coverage for over 40,000 products and prides itself on both the accuracy and exhaustiveness of its data.

“We built this extension to be a simpler way to access this data,” says its makers, “while also protecting your privacy and running all operations on our own servers so that your browsing isn’t slowed down.”

19. CodePen Projects

A new tool lets you build websites directly inside CodePen

Founded in 2012 by Alex Vazquez, Tim Sabat and Chris Coyier, CodePen has grown to become of the web’s largest and liveliest communities for testing and showcasing HTML, CSS and JavaScript code snippets. For its first five years, it functioned as both an online code editor and an open-source learning environment, where developers could create code snippets (“pens”), test them and get feedback.

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Then in 2017, CodePen took another big leap forward by launching its own IDE (Integrated Development Environment), CodePen Projects, which enables you to build websites within your browser.

You can drag and drop your website files, organise them into tabs, and preview your site as you build it. There are templates to help you create sites more quickly if you choose, as well as built-in debugging tools. Creative Web Design Company

Note that, although it works in a similar way to the Pen Editor, CodePen Projects doesn’t replace the latter but sits alongside it. You can learn more about CodePen Projects in this blog post.

20. Bootstrap

Old favourite Bootstrap has some powerful new updates

Bootstrap is certainly not a new tool. But it has revolutionised development and there’s no doubt the ubiquitous framework will continue to shape how we build stuff on the web. Each update also brings a complete overhaul of the tool. Creative Web Design Company

The latest version, 4.2.1, launched in December. It included a slew of new features, including  a new spinner loading component, a new toast component for displaying notifications, a new iOS style switch, touch support in the carousel component, and more. Check out the full feature set on the Bootstrap site and find the best free Bootstrap themes in our guide.

Article Source : CreativeBlog

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