There are many web design tools out there, but some are leagues ahead of the rest. These 9 are some of the prime examples.
From creating images like a veteran graphic designer to optimizing your site's theme to match it, these apps will save you a ton of time. Work smart, not hard, as the saying goes.
The following list is far from exhaustive and is no particular order.
1. PixelModo helps you become a graphic designer
PixelModo is an online app that will help you create stunning graphics with ease. Whilst it has never been easier to build a website, finding the right graphics you are looking for can still be a challenge.
Especially if you are trying to avoid copyright issues.
That's where PixelModo comes into play. It is an easy-to-use design tool that will help you create amazing and unique graphics from scratch.
It comes with a databank of several million high-quality images that can also be readily customized to your very own requirements.
Its user interface is also very intuitive and well designed. You will certainly feel like a professional graphic designer in no time.
2. Squoosh might be the go-to photo compressor
Squoosh, built by Google, is an awesome free app that will let you compress any image without compromising on its quality. Whilst primarily aimed at web designers, this app is perfect for anyone who needs to compress their memory-hungry image files.
Its simple drag and drop interface makes the process a genuine pleasure. After that just play around the slider to set the amount of compression you want.
This process lets you quickly find the perfect balance between file size and picture quality in no time.
Like a lot of other Google apps, it works both online and off.
Overall it’s a win-win: web designers save time, and Google gets a faster web that still looks good.
3. Sketch is another app that will make you work smarter
Sketch is one of the more well-known graphic design tools out there. And what a graphic design tool it is.
Built by Bohemian Coding, this highly versatile UI design tool will make you drop Photoshop in a heartbeat.
Rory Berry, creative director at Superrb, highly recommends it. “Having been a user of Photoshop for over 10 years, it was hard to change and learn something new,” he says.
“But literally after the first day of using Sketch, there was no looking back. I’m a total convert.”
But, like all great apps, its supporting community are worth their weight in gold. They constantly produce hundreds of plugins to optimize your workflow and, more importantly, organize and find it logically.
it has come a long way from its earlier iterations and is, today, one of the most highly recommended design tools out there.
4. Linksplit does exactly what it says on the tin
Linksplit is another quality app that will help you work smarter not harder. If you are in the process of A/B testing a website, you might want to take a look at this app to do some of the heavy-lifting'.
It will allow you to split traffic between two website variations with ease. It's free to use for the first 10,000 clicks, and you don't even need to sign up to get started with your testing.
To use it, simply head over to the site, enter your URLs, and it will generate short test URLs for you to share with your target audiences. You can also set up some rules for each URL.
For instance, if you want to direct US clients to one URL and the rest of the world to another, this is easy to achieve.
Check it out.
5. CodePen projects is great for testing snippets
CodePen Projects is the latest development from the team that brought the world CodePen. Since its founding, it has grown to become the web's largest and liveliest communities for testing and showcasing HTML, CSS, and JS code snippets.
The original CodePen works as both an online code editor and open-source learning environment. Developers and learners alike can test their code snippets ("pens") and also ask for and receive constructive (usually) criticism from your peers.
CodePen Projects launched a few years ago and is a full Integrated Development Environment (IDE) upgrade from their highly popular CodePen. It enables you to build entire websites right within your browser.
You can drag and drop web files, organize them, and preview your final website all with ease. It also includes templates to speed up some parts of your web development process.
There is also a nice set of debugging tools to help you, at least in theory, iron out problems.
6. Adobe XD is quite a powerful tool
Adobe XD is a powerful vector design and wireframing tool. Built by Adobe, it is very stable and keeps getting better with age.
XD includes a nice suite of drawing tools, other tools that enable you to define non-static interactions, mobile and desktop previews, and sharing tools for giving feedback on designs.
The software also 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.
Adobe XD also integrates with the rest of Creative Cloud. Many current users also attest to its utility and intuitive UI.
You can go from zero to expert in no time. Coming from Adobe, it also offers many of Adobe's libraries meaning you can quickly import any asset from Photoshop or Illustrator.
This makes multi-person team collaboration a smooth and painless process (at least in theory - humans can be strange things).
7. Flare is great for animations
Flare, from 2Dimensions, is an awesome browser-based app to help you design and animate vector art. Whilst it is primarily aimed at web designers and game designers, but anyone with a passing interest on the subject will find it a useful tool indeed.
The app lets you work in real time with assets that run in your final product, eliminating the need to redo that work in code, which is always nice.
Not only will this make the animation process as easy as pie, but it will also save you an absolute ton of time. Time is money after all.
You get all the power of this app for zero down as part of the Open Design movement too, which is a nice bonus.
8. Perfectly blend your website's color scheme with your favorite images with Vaunt
Vaunt is a powerful app to help make you optimize your websites color scheme like a boss. If you have found, or created, the perfect image for your brand, you can now match your site's color scheme to match it easily.
For this purpose, Vault is an amazingly powerful and easy to use tool. It is, however, exclusive to Mac's only.
This app uses a clustering algorithm to analyze the image in question and lets you know the dominant colors within it. Using this information you can then get to making your website perfectly blend with it.
Using its drag and drop interface, your image can be added to the app easily and the dominant colors appear in front of your very eyes. Then just click on any of the colors to add them to your clipboard - bargain!
9. Avocode is a Front-end developer's new best friend
Avocode might just be the best thing to happen to Front-end developers since the invention of instant noodles. It makes the job of a developer that much easier to code websites or apps they've designed in Photoshop or Sketch.
This application has been built by the same guys who brought us CSS hat and PNG hat - which is nice. Unlike its predecessors, instead of just exporting assets, Avocode works as a plug-in for Photoshop.
It quickly and automatically analyses your PSD of Sketch files and imports them with ease into the app's well-designed UI. After the process is complete, you are suddenly presented with full control over how you export things, including SVG export as standard.
You can also click elements in the design, and copy and paste the code into a text editor of your choice.
The ability to turn PSD and Sketch files into fully interactive designs is this app's true USP. All this can be yours for just $14 a month - lucky you!