As the demand for web design rises, businesses and even individuals are looking to boost their web development experience. If that sounds like you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 software suites and online tools, both free and paid, that will help you gain an edge in the market.
We’ve done the legwork and compiled a list of recommendations based on shared first-hand experiences. These tools cover the fields of creating websites, prototyping designs, and setting up graphics.
Website development in the past was restricted to only those with sufficient programming experience. Nowadays, there are plenty of web tools that can streamline the process so that even small businesses and individual bloggers can build a beautiful site.
Are responsiveness and mobile compatibility at the top of your priority list? Bootstrap specializes in building those types of sites. You get several features to help you do so, such as headers, interactive buttons, and even forms.
Adobe’s primary platform for creating websites is nothing short of excellent thanks to its intuitive visual interface combined with the ability to edit code directly. The learning curve takes some time to get used to, but it’s worth going for the free trial before switching to the premium subscription.
Ease of use is the focus for Squarespace. Users will enjoy the drag-and-drop interface, the large selection of customizations, and the provided themes to get started. Businesses will appreciate the SSL encryption and the eCommerce tools.
Squarespace operates on a paid subscription model. You can choose between a personal and a business plan depending on your needs.
We have to mention WordPress, one of the most popular web hosting platforms available. It’s flexible enough to serve both personal bloggers and large companies with eCommerce needs.
The interface is easy to use, and you can expand your site’s functionality with add-ons. The free version includes all the features, though you can pay extra to host your own domain name.
Prototyping in web design is the equivalent of drawing out the blueprints of a house before picking up a hammer. These tools will make this step much easier.
Interested in creating a mockup? Sketch is easy to learn thanks to a minimalistic interface, and the optional plug-ins allow users to integrate the tool in with their workflows. There’s a one-month trial before you need to invest in a paid plan.
2. Adobe XD
Adobe has made its own prototyping platform, a vector-based application that works well for creating animations. It’s compatible with Sketch files too as an added bonus.
While initially difficult to start using, you will find the functionality unparalleled. Go for a free trial before opting for a subscription.
Mockplus is a one-stop shop for all your prototyping needs. There are plenty of premade components to drag and drop into your project. It’s not a cheap service, but you can customize it to your needs to save money.
Don’t forget the visuals, which can make or break your website. Let’s end on this series of graphical design tools sure to make your site pop.
1. Adobe Photoshop
Everyone knows about this one. Globalgraphics Web Design, a popular Toronto website design company, recommends Photoshop not only photo editing but also video editing and interface design. Professionals use it a lot, though beginners will have to get past a steep initial learning curve.
Photoshop starts off with a 7-day trial, which you can upgrade to a full version later. There’s also a Creative Suite offering that comes with other Adobe tools.
GIMP is an open-source image editor with capabilities close to Photoshop. The interface may seem daunting at first, but most web designers will appreciate what it has to offer. Did we mention that it’s free?
This online tool is perfect for building a consistent brand image with automation. Just upload your brand’s colors and images, and RelayThat automatically generates designs based on your input.
There are two plans to choose from: a Pro version and an Enterprise version. The former is more than enough for most people in our opinion.