As Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, and this is certainly true of web design. The best websites out there these days are uncluttered, easy to use and intuitive. The process of designing them, however, is often not so simple.
In some cases even the content of a website is developed by a web designer, and this draws SEO into the equation. When you consider too that all websites are now expected to be designed responsively, so they can be viewed on tablets and smartphones—you can see that designing a website is no simple task.
Fortunately, there are a broad range of tools available to web designers that make all of the above a little more achievable. This article provides an overview of the most popular tools currently used by web designers, including augmented reality and virtual reality programs. We’ll round out the discussion with a quick look at the key expertise areas that you’ll also need to learn if you’re interested in a career in web design.
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Must-Have Web Designer Tools
Among the variety of web design tools currently available, the following are some of the most popular:
- InVision Studio: This is hailed as one of the best designing tools by web designers across the globe. This is because it offers a complete package for designing a responsive and collaborative website, in addition to being user-friendly and beautiful. You can also include customizable animations in your design. The best part is that it’s a free tool, available for both Mac and Windows.
- Marvel: With Marvel, a web designer can develop neat web pages, and simulate their designs through a prototype. Marvel designs can be added to project workflows as well. Another unusual feature offered by Marvel is its integrated user-testing feature that allows web designers to see their designs from a user’s viewpoint. It’s completely online, so there’s no need to download anything.
- PhotoShop: Adobe PhotoShop is a famous commercial graphics editor commonly available for Mac and Windows operating systems. It’s really helpful when it comes to editing pictures and creating web graphics. If you master Photoshop, you can easily create authentic and impressive designs, fast.
- AdobeComp: This has proved to be an ideal web design tool for iPad users. It has options to recognize intuitive shapes and smooth out rough lines in a draft sketch. Files can be exported to Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. It’s also powered by Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
- Proto.io: Already in use by many trusted brands, Proto.io helps transform rough sketches (even hand-drawn) into wireframe models, which can be developed into fully-fledged, lifelike prototypes. A user can also add detailed customer vector animations. The Sketch and PhotoShop plugins are an added advantage.
- MockFlow: Mockflow is an ensemble of applications that help in wireframing, as well as planning and designing websites. Its Wireframe Pro feature helps a user describe an initial idea and then iterate until the desired outcome is reached. There are several other pre-built components and layouts that can be adjusted as per user requirements.
- Affinity Designer: Serif’s Affinity Designer is touted to be as good as Adobe Photoshop, if not better. It provides adjustable, non-destructive layers that allow a user to edit images and vectors without damaging them. It has options to zoom up to a million times. It also allows a user to undo almost 8000 steps. Affinity Designer is also available for iPad users.
- Fireworks: Adobe Fireworks is a vector graphics editor available for Windows and Mac. This one was specially designed for web designers, offering plenty of tools to create a full web layout along with quick and easy prototyping. Don’t get too attached to it though—Adobe has moved toward phasing out the Fireworks software in favor of its newer tools like Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Edge.
- WordPress: WordPress is the most recognized web design tool out there, with a wealth of in-built themes and plugins that give the user options to choose from and edit, install, and optimize websites in ways that suit their needs and preferences.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Tools
In addition to the above tools, there are a few AR and VR tools that are changing the face of web design:
- ARKit – Apple’s ARKit is a web and mobile design framework that allows iPhone and iPad users to have Augmented Reality experiences. It enables a blending of real-world and digital world objects, offers user immersive features, and allows multiple users to interact in real time.
- Firefox Reality – Developed by Mozilla, Firefox Reality is a specialized browser for VR apps like Viveport, Oculus, and Google Daydream. It can move seamlessly between the 2D web and the immersive web, and includes features like voice recognition and voice search, enabled through your device headset.
- Hologram – Hologram is an all-in-one tool for WebVR creation. It’s a free desktop app that requires no previous coding knowledge, and integration with Google Blocks allows a user to play with several 3D objects.
This is just a small selection of some of the common tools used in a variety of web design applications. There are many more software and add-on apps available in the market, many of which are free or offer free trials.
Start Your Career in Web Design
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in web design, you can pick up more inspiration on our UX design blog. We’ve got tons of tips, career advice and first-hand stories from web designers.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start your new career today, enroll in our Web Design Bootcamp. This online program has been put together by experts and will teach you how to create amazing websites from scratch. There’s mentoring and support for every step of the way, and our career-focused curriculum aims to get you earning a great salary as soon as possible.
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