By Liakat Hossain
The web has changed drastically, and so have the means of designing websites. Practices that used to be “normal” or acceptable are gradually dying out. The web and everything connected to it is getting faster by the day. Web designers around the world are always looking for ways to design faster, easy-to-use websites, in an attempt to catch up.
Thankfully, there are new tools being developed and released almost every week to make the work of website designers easier. The following 10 new web design tools have been selected for your consideration in your next project, in no specific order.
The first thing most website designers do is organize their design plan. They create a wireframe – how they will organize their design work – for what they will be building; usually on paper. They map out the various steps they’ll use to tackle the design. Once that is in place, they prototype a sketch of what their project should look like.
Figma allows the website designer to create digital wireframes, create prototypes and share their work or collaborate with other members of their team all in one place. Figma is full of tools to make your work as a designer cleaner and easier.
2. Sketch App
It is often said that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Most website designers create a specimen of their work called a “mock-up.” For a long time, Adobe Photoshop was the go-to app for mock-ups. Sketch is the best alternative to Photoshop, and arguably a better option for designing website mock-ups and prototypes.
The good thing about Sketch is that it is focused specifically on website design mock-ups, with tools and plugins available to suit that purpose. Plus, its “one-time” payment makes it far cheaper to use than the subscription model of Adobe.
Webflow is the best alternative to Adobe Dreamweaver. It is a visual web design tool which is a bit less complex, while allowing a lot of control over the design, code and projects built.
Beyond being a visual website builder, Webflow runs on its own CMS engine and comes with hosting so you don’t have to worry about where to host your website files. If you design websites for many clients, Webflow’s Client Access lets you show your websites exclusively to your clients.
Website designers deal with fonts a lot. FontBase is a free tool designed to help you manage your fonts from both your local machine and from Google Fonts. You can pull together different font libraries and see how they look and feel and use those appropriate for your design, all for free.
Animations are becoming far more common, partly because of the rise in the use of interactive devices such as smartphones and tablets. Principle is arguably the best UX/UI animator on the market for the Mac OS. This tool goes beyond prototypes and builds object and page animations right into the project itself, with ease and less required experience.
The best way to plug into an existing platform or service on the web is to use the platform’s API. However, API’s are quite difficult to understand and manage, especially if you need to plug into several services. Cheatsheets helps you save and organize your API’s in one place so you don’t need to switch over from one platform to another to use and reuse their APIs.
Just like animations, charts are another growing phenomenon in the web design industry. Users want more than just a static table or list. They want to see a visual representation of what those numbers mean. ECharts is the software for that. With ECharts, you don’t only integrate charts in your design but also create interactive and responsive charts with ease.
9. Sticky Sidebar
Sometimes, you want to place notices and add sidebars which are so long (or short) that they would spill out of the viewport when the visitor is scrolling up or down. With Sticky Sidebar, you no longer have to do any of that. You simply create simple, responsive sidebars that do not move — even when the user scrolls. That can be helpful!
Delivering messages over websites to visitors has become so popular of late that browsers are finding ways to get rid of as many third-party pop-ups as possible — treating them as intrusive ads.
However, you can create easy to use, responsive “modals” or pop-ups that do not depend on any third-party platform to deliver notices and alerts in a friendlier manner.
Obviously, there are more tools for website design this year than we could cover in a list of ten. However, we took time to select these few new and somewhat special and interesting tools that you may want to try; and we hope you enjoy trying them as well.