The right web design tools can streamline your workflow, helping you work smarter – rather than harder – and more efficiently. After all, you want to invest your energy in solving problems, delighting users and creating beautiful designs. You don’t want to waste it on dull, repetitive and soul-sapping tasks.
Thankfully, new web design tools are being released all the time to help you simplify processes, and reduce time and effort – most notably in UI design.
Well, fear no more. I have created this guide to show you that YOU CAN create your own website, YOU CAN edit content, add images, amend files via FTP. With the help of some free and paid web design software and tools, you can do anything when it comes to web development and design.
We’ll start with the most obvious. 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. Launched in 2009, this tool has quickly found its spot among the best web design software out there. It’s somewhat similar to Photoshop, but not quite. I mean, where Photoshop can be used to work on any sort of a design project, Sketch is purely web-design-centred, and it shows. The Sketch community offers hundreds of plugins to make designers workflow easier and smoother, he adds. “There’s basically a plugin for everything if you can find it. Photoshop/ Lightroom is still our go-to for photo editing, but Sketch is an all-around winner for web design.
2. Adobe Dreamweaver.
Dreamweaver is a tool with history. It was first introduced by a company called Macromedia, which was then acquired by Adobe, and hence brought under the big Adobe umbrella.
Dreamweaver has long been regarded as the best web design software out there, and especially at a time when it was basically the only sensible tool on the block.
Overall, Dreamweaver is a phenomenal tool for beginners, intermediates and pros to effectively design, edit and build websites from. You can get Dreamweaver as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud package starting at just $19.99 per month or you can buy the license for just Dreamweaver.
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.
Content writer and artwork David Eastwood, who works for Co-op Electrical, also has good things to say about Figma. “We were recommended Figma by our web development agency and use it for landing page wireframes,” he explains. “This has included proposed changes to the homepage and specific sales landing page, especially around Black Friday. 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.”
4. Affinity Designer.
“Serif’s Affinity Designer has been dubbed the ‘Photoshop killer’ by some, and it’s easy to see why,” says Dan Edwards, creative director at No Divide. “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.”
5. ADOBE MUSE.
If you love using Adobe Photoshop and consider yourself more of a front-end/graphics designer rather than a web designer/developer, then you will love Adobe Muse. Also, if you find that your strengths are creating websites with stunning looks, but hit a brick wall when it comes to building the website, then Adobe Muse is the software that can help. You can literally design and build a website at the same time. NO need for coding skills here.
Adobe Muse is a website builder that is very different to the normal drag and drop web builder that you get with platforms like Wix and Weebly. It’s more targeted towards graphics and frontend designers who lack the programming capabilities to bring their designs to life but have the skills to create designs in Adobe Photoshop and Fireworks.
6. Adobe Photoshop.
I know that I might have just spent a couple of minutes telling you how Photoshop is not the be-all-end-all of web design, but hey, I want to keep this list complete, so I just have to mention Photoshop at no.1, purely due to its unquestionable position as the market leader among best web design software.
This is a must in any web designer’s toolbox. Photoshop is an extremely versatile piece of kit and can be used for any aspect of design, and not just photography and web design. In a sentence, Photoshop is a photo-editing, graphic design and digital image creation software.
The software uses a layer-based editing functionality which gives the user the ability to create images, apply filters to different layers and aspects of the image, add masks and filters, shadows and so much more. You can adjust absolutely any aspect of an image, illustration or graphics. For example, you could adjust saturation of colors, colors, blurs, contrast, tone, sharpness….the list is endless.
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.
Now that I’ve spent quite a while talking about Photoshop, explaining what GIMP is should be very easy:
In short, it’s the best free alternative to Photoshop on the market.
While it might not have all the features that Photoshop offers, the most important and the most often used stuff is there. It should be more than enough to handle the majority of your web design projects.
You can get GIMP for Windows, Mac, and a handful of other platforms too.
The easiest way to build a website, with a wizard and a WYSIWYG editor
Wix offers you two ways to build your website. Both involve creating it online, and both are as quick and painless as possible.
The simplest option is to use the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) website builder which will guide you through a series of questions before automatically creating a site for you. There is scope for customization, but the focus here is really on fast results for anyone who is terrified of designing websites.
A more hands-on approach is available if you decide to use the standard Wix Editor. There are literally hundreds of stylish templates to choose from — and, yes, they are genuinely impressive – which you can tweak and tailor to your needs using a beautiful WYSIWYG editor.
Despite being a cloud-based website builder, Wix gives you a great degree of control over the look of your site and placement of page elements. You can also liven it up using the App Market to add features such as a newsletter and live chat. This power and flexibility make Wix the best free website builder around for creating your own site.
WordPress is ideal for static sites, portfolios, online stores and blogs.
Causing a slight degree of confusion, there are actually two different versions of WordPress. The more complex version can be downloaded from wordpress.org, and you will need to upload it to your own web space and install it using the automated online installer. You can then customize the templates and use add-ons to make the site your own. This is the route many bloggers go down, but there is a simpler option for people who don’t want the hassle of fiddling about with scripts and getting dirty with hardcore editing.
The hosted version of WordPress lets you create your own site on wordpress.com. You can create everything from a blog or photo site to a fully fledged online store, and there are a number of templates to choose from.
Whether you’re creating a static site or a blog-style site with regularly updated content, the online editor is a joy to use and allows just about anyone to create an impressive, professional-looking site. With the only downside is the limited range of plugins and templates compared with the desktop website builder.
Benefits of Modern Web Design Software.
- a. Easy to use – just drag & drop, no coding required.
- b. Professionally designed templates for you to use.
- c. All technical maintenance work is taken care of for you.
- d. 24/7 dedicated support teams.
- f. Affordable pricing.