Developing of a website is not a big deal in 2023 with plenty of free resources, tutorials and tips available online. To develop any web design project you need to make use of right web design tools to help complete the work successfully.
There are a lot of tools available to help you with your work of designing mockups and development, frameworks, testing, and more. Here, I have composed a list of design and development tools that I think are best, most useful, and makes your work easier.
By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of all the tools you need to have if you are starting out as a freelancer in the creative space.
Table of contents
How you can select the best tools for your work
27 must-have web designer’s tool
Hosting & Themes
Having a good hosting service is very essential when it comes to hosting your business or personal website. There are many hosting providers available with different types of services and pricing. However, my preferred hosting provider to host any website is Hostinger. The website you are currently reading the article is also hosted in Hostinger.
After working with multiple themes and templates, finally my search ended in Divi from Elegant Themes. With super easy page builder, global template, layers, user friendly customization option, Divi provides you with complete flexibility to create any design you want inside your wordpress. Divi is a premium tool, but literally worth investing. If you are reading this post, than just know, this page and the entire website of Siterules is designed and developed using Divi.
When it comes to create custom coded websites, my favourite go to editor is none other than Visual Studio Code in short VS Code, from Microsoft. Its totally free to use, lightweight, and super simple to use for beginners as well.
For any web project I do or self practice of code, VS Code is my choice of code editor. Visual Studio Code is a free tool from Microsoft with its easy to install and simple interface, inbuilt plugins support and the best part is even if you are using it for first time, VS Code gives you the flexibility to set your own keybindings of any other editor of your choice. For example: I have used Atom earlier, so whatever shortcuts I had used in Atom, I can use the same inside VS Code, by installing Atom Keybinding as extension. Isn’t it great!. Also, the tool is supported cross platform, which means available for Windows, MAC and Linux.
Adobe Dreamweaver is an advanced code editor which provides you with both options of coding and creating websites using drag and drop widgets. You get full flexibility of changing to code as per your choice. However, Adobe Dreamweaver has a trial version, but if you need to use it regularly, you are required to purchase the license from Adobe.
Below mentioned are a curated list of modern day industry standard design tools and software that are used to design mockups, wireframe creation and prototyping.
FIGMA is a free and vector-based design tool that I personally use in most of my design projects. It has great community support with multiple pre-built templates, and kits that you can follow along. Also, it is equally good when it comes to prototyping and real-time collaboration. Create your next design using FIGMA. Learn more about Figma for free from my Youtube channel.
When it comes to wireframing and high fidelty mockup creation, Adobe XD is one of my favourite design tool. It has a free version and lots of free UI kits. It is also used for protype creation and collaboration. Start creating your wireframes now using Adobe XD.
Another great tool in design community mainly used for making creative prototypes with custom animation. Invision can also be used for developer handoff.
A great alternative to SKETCH for creating design mockups. If you are a windows user but have files from SKETCH, then you can easily access them using Lunacy. It also light-weight and takes very less time to open. Lunacy is presently available in Microsoft store. However from my personal experience, prototype creation is not so user-friendly like FIGMA or Adobe XD
One stop tool for designers using MAC. From design handoff to prototype creation to real time collaboration Sketch has got every feature that a designer needs to complete his design work. The only disadvantge is sketch not cross platform and does not include any freemium version.
Just In Mind
Just In Mind is used for wireframing and prototyping of both web and mobile apps. You can even create mockups with responsive design. Also unlike other design tools mentioned above, JustInMind has got a lot of mobile gesture options which I think is a great way to present your prototype.
Simple tool which can be used by designers for low-fidelty wireframes, usability testing and collaboration. Try Evrybo now
Using a UI framework in your development work can save a lot of your time. Some of the benefits of using UI frameworks are:
- Prebuilt UI components
- Takes care of browser compatibility
- Comes with a responsive design
Also, check out the list of the top 6 CSS frameworks that you can use in your project.
Bootstrap is the most common responsive design framework of choice for front-end developers, web designers, and UI developers or designers. It is very easy to use and has great community support. I have personally used Bootstrap in multiple UI development projects. The current version is Bootstrap 5 with more improvised features like a better grid system, improved documentation, form control, and no use of old technology like jQUERY and much more.
Checkout my video guide on Introduction to Bootstrap and start using Bootstrap on your projects.
Material Design from Google or Materialize.CSS is another great framework to create responsive websites. For people who are interested in developing their websites using Google design then Materialize.css is the simplest framework you should try in your next project.
Checkout my video guide on Introduction to Material Design and start using Google Material Design on your projects.
Foundation is another framework used for creating responsive websites. It is one of the most advanced front-end development frameworks with support for creating responsive emails as well. The current version is Foundation 6.
Check out my video guide on Introduction to Foundation and start using Foundation on your projects.
No Code Tools
WIX is a free website builder platform preferred for people who do not want the hassle of custom coding their websites. It has got multiple pre-built layouts which you can try and customize as per your requirement to have your own website.
Project Management Tools
Trello is a free project management tool from an awesome organization Atlassian. You just need a working email to create your account, and can create your project boards based on your project milestones or phases, add team members, invite your client for approvals and much more.
If you are a freelancer and starting out with limited budget, Google Workspace is a great investment as you will be getting all Google products for your project documentation, client collaboration, etc. Not only that, as most people will have a google account this days, things will be much simpler for you to share with anyone.
Slack is a free communication channel which I use for internal communication within the team and with external vendors or clients for a project. Its very simple to use, and do have a mobile version as well for both android and iOS. One important feature which I like the most of Slack is its option to create channels for specific communication.
Page Speed Insights
Page Speed Insights is a free tool from Google to track the speed of your website in both desktop and mobile version. It gives you a detail insights of your website what all areas you need to improve or make changes to increase your website speed.
Google Search Console is the one and only place where you should be visiting once your website is live. It’s a free service from Google, which helps you to track the performance of your website links, and get your site indexed or crawled by Google. If you want your website to be visible in Google, then this is the platform, where you are supposed to upload the sitemap of your website. Try Google Search Console now
Chrome Dev Tools
Another great tool from Google and my most favourite tool when it comes to debug websites. Although the name seems to be fancy, but its the inspect mode of Google Chrome. To make use of developer tools, you need to visit any website or web app from Google Chrome, and select Insepect option by right-clicking on that page. And the browser will provide you with a bundle of options, which can be used for multiple types testing and debugging. Checkout the official documentation of Chrome Dev Tools
Web Design Specialist
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Well, congrats 🎉✨for completing the article, and by now you must have got a fair understanding of all the different tools and platforms you need to have or must use in your project as a web designer.
Let me know, in the comments below which all tools from the list above are your favorite and any other tool that you use.
See you in the next article.
What you can do next?
- Download the PDF guide on How to become a Web Designer in 2023.
- Learn about the 6D web design process to create your own process for effective project delivery.
- Connect with me for mentorship in Web Design.
- Join me in CRATER streams and learn how you can code a website
- If you are a self-taught designer like me, then visit my Youtube channel, to explore more about UX Design