15 Tools and Resources That Will Help You Grow as a Designer
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It’s hard to stay in your web design comfort zone when trends and technologies are in a continual state of change. Many of your design and development tools might continue to serve you well for some time. The same may be true for the resources you rely on.
There will come a time however when a favored tool or a resource is no longer up to the task. Investing in new tools or resources is generally the easiest way to keep up with the changing times. This is especially when a tool or resource is easily affordable, and in some cases, free.
This might be a good time to take stock of what you have in your designer's toolkit. See whether some changes might be in order. This list of 15 of 2018's top tools and resources should get you off to a good start.
Requirements are always subject to change. These changes can be a headache to designers and developers as they usually involve repetitive cycles of work. Many of today's software tools are equipped to handle requirements changes only to the extent that they can repeat prior tasks.
Mason has a different approach.
Mason is a combination design/development, and maintenance/collaboration tool that can put an end to repetitive deployment cycles by relieving designers or developers the task of instituting changes or fixes they shouldn't have to be bothered with.
Mason has a wealth of software design features, including pre-packaged building blocks that address common requirements. What Mason does that is different is to allow downstream users (software maintenance individuals or teams, and even clients) to make changes in these building blocks in response to changing requirements or needs for fixes or product updates.
Mason's login and user registration protocols ensure that you always have total control over product changes, even though as a team leader or designer you're no longer required to make them yourself.
The ability to create mobile-friendly websites and apps is no longer a nice option to work with. In today's world it's mandatory. Some themes still treat device-friendliness as if it were a good design option to have. Mobirise on the other hand, was created with mobile devices in mind.
Not only does Mobirise contain everything you need to build device-friendly websites and apps, but it does so without any cost to you and without any restrictions whatsoever. Mobirise is free to use for both your personal and commercial pursuits. It's simply a matter of downloading it now and getting started.
Mobirise is an offline app, so you'll have total control over product design and hosting. It's also an excellent choice for smaller projects such as small websites, portfolios, landing pages, and promo sites.
If you don't believe Elementor is the #1 WordPress page builder on the market, you might take a close look at the numbers. 900,000 or so users downloaded this free, open source and feature rich page-building platform in a little less than 2 years.
Performance and ease of use account, in part, for Elementor's popularity, but its users also love its superior workflow features, visual form builder, custom CSS, and the menu builder.
Things are only going to get better for this product's users — and for you as well if you choose to download it. The Elementor 2.0 release, with a wealth of powerful new tools is already underway and will continue in increments throughout the rest of the year.
New features include enhanced WooCommerce shop product pages, single post page builders, new eCommerce page-building options and more. Users still can enjoy their favorite features of 1.0 version, too.
Goodiewebsite has helped hundreds of clients with website development. This is a platform, which specializes in websites on the order of 1-10 pages in size, design to code conversion (PSD, Sketch, Figma, XD, etc.), and simple WordPress sites.
Goodiewebsite services are cost effective and the tasks assigned to them are always performed professionally and reliably.
Whether you’re a team of two, or a team of 20,000 scattered around the globe, and whether it is tech on non-tech oriented, if you're looking for a high-performance team management tool, monday.com will suit your needs to perfection.
This team management tool allows you to accomplish tasks without spreadsheets or white boards and avoids any need for scheduling an unending series of meetings. monday.com promotes project transparency and empowers team members.
A2 Hosting adjusts to your specific hosting requirements instead of the other way around. You can expect to receive precisely the hosting experience you want and need at an affordable price other services simply cannot match. Site staging, automated backups, blazing fast servers, 24/7 Guru support – it's all there!
7. The Hanger
Whether the plan is to create an online presence for an existing clothing retailer or open a strictly eCommerce business, you might as well do it with a touch of pizzaz to draw the customers in.
The Hanger is a modern-classic WordPress theme that's just the cup of tea for building a high-quality online store in no time at all and customizing it to fit your brand or your client's.
With this responsive, multipurpose animation platform you can create unique slider combinations, stunning slideshows, image galleries, and even landing pages and complete websites. LayerSlider features a visual drag-and-drop builder, plenty of professionally-designed handcrafted templates, and a host of design elements and options.
No coding is required, LayerSlider's documentation is excellent and the quality of their customer support is as well.
With Uncode, it only takes a few hours to create an awesome portfolio to showcase your work. This creative, multipurpose theme is loaded with features so there's no need to start from scratch, nor is there any need for coding.
New features such as Slides Scroll, Shape Dividers, and the powerful Gallery Manager are certain to be put to good use. Uncode's library of website models is an excellent source of ideas and inspiration.
Because of its various listings options, advanced search and geolocation capabilities and other features realtors and realty agencies need and use every day, Houzez has added new features to greatly extend its capabilities.
These include a search composer and a custom fields builder that greatly enhance an agency's ability to administrate the real estate marketplace and coordinate agent activities while staying strictly within its business model. Houzez' customer support is also on the highest level possible.
Whether you're occasionally in need of a new font or need many over the course of a day, FFonts.net is a valuable resource to have access to. FFonts.net is a directory of 75,000 nicely categorized free fonts.
When you find one you need, or one or more that spark your interest, you can write a string of text to see how the font or fonts appear when in actual use.
12. Fluid UI
A quality prototyping tool like Fluid UI will do several things for you, including speeding up your project's design work flow, and enhancing team or project stakeholder communication and collaboration.
Fluid UI enables you to create colorful, informative, and interactive prototypes and mockups for review and comment. A comprehensive selection of desktop, Android, and iOS design elements are included in the package.
Pixpa enables photographers, artists, and designers to easily create pixel-perfect portfolio websites that not only allow them to showcase their work but to sell their creations through the built-in eCommerce shop. Creatives can also publish blogs and share, proof and deliver their work to clients with their Pixpa website.
Everything is managed on a single platform powered by Pixpa's best in class hosting and 24×7 support. Get started for free with the 15-day trial.
wpDataTables has made converting reams of complex data to colorful, informative charts and tables an easy task for countless web designers. This premier WordPress plugin accepts data in most common formats from a multiplicity of sources. The charts and tables it produces are responsive, interactive, and easily editable.
More than a few web designers have switched over to using WordPress simply for the opportunity to use this powerful plugin.
Isn't it fun to come across a font you'd love to use, but you don't know its name and have no idea where to look for it? Forums are always a possible source, but WhatFontis.com offers a much simpler and quicker solution.
It's merely a matter of submitting a font image and letting this tool's automatic AI system search the 450,000 font database. You'll typically get the font's name in less than a minute – saving you hours of frustration.
Make good use of the latest tools and resources! Then, worrying about how to cope with new trends and technologies will be a thing of the past. Take a deep dive into your designer's toolbox, see what still works for you and what no longer does, and take action.
One or more of the items in this list should make it easier to keep abreast of the times, and brighten the days of yourself, your team, and your clients.