Top Tools and Resources to Have in Your Toolbox in 2017
We’re all guilty of procrastination from time to time. Did you put off a website project for longer than usual? Then it’s a high time you get started on it, but you are still on the verge of putting it off again.
The reason? It’s not that you’re lazy. It’s simply a matter of not being comfortable with the tools you have. Taking on the project in question is going to take plenty of time and effort. You’re still harboring some doubts as to whether you can complete it.
Perhaps, what you need, is an access to a special tool that will do some of the heavy lifting for you. Or maybe you need a resource featuring design elements you’re currently lacking.
Here’s a collection of our favorites that can help make that neglected project easy to complete. Take a look!
What that makes Proto.io special is it satisfies all your prototyping needs. This multi-feature tool can be used during a project’s initial stages to build wireframes or mockups to test design ideas and concepts. It will serve you well during the latter stages of your project, when you need an interactive, high-fidelity prototype, complete with transitions and gestures, to get feedback from actual users.
Proto.io is a web application that enables you to design a website or app, build prototypes at any stage of your project, preview and share design information, and conduct tests – all from a single platform.
The three main components of this multi-purpose app consist of a Dashboard, an Editor, and the Player. The Dashboard helps you maintain version control. This is extremely important when design changes are submitted, tested, and sometimes undergo further modification.
The Editor does the prototyping heavy lifting for you, so you won’t get bogged down in details. The Player aids in viewing and sharing status and in conducting testing.
You can try Proto.io for 15 days for free.
SITE123 would not appear to be much different from other premium website building tools. It offers ready-made styles and layouts. It does not require coding skills or any special design skills to use. And, it comes with a WYSIWYG editor, so whatever changes or additions you make are immediately displayed on the screen.
Where SITE123 differs from most, and how it can make building a website faster and easier than you may have been accustomed to, are the modules (video, text, blog, gallery, etc.) you can arrange and customize in the dashboard. It’s simply a matter of substituting your own content, and you can have your website up and running in no time.
SITE123 also has a multilingual capability, plus one more feature that should help make your day. It’s a built-in app market that enables you to integrate external applications to boost your website’s usability.
Xfive is an Australian-based web development agency that serves web designers and builders whether they work for design agencies or major corporations, work as large teams, or are freelancers or individual contributors.
Xfive (formerly XHTMLized) will provide its development services to help you with large, projects, complex projects, small one-of-a-kind projects, or multiple projects. Probably best known for converting Photoshop, Sketch, or other design formats into HTML, this versatile team can also assist you with website design, and WordPress theme or plugin design and/or development.
With main offices in Australia, the USA, and Poland, Xfive also has a worldwide network of experienced developers to assist you. A favorite mode of operation of this talented group is to serve as a partner, or as an extension of your team. Xfive cares about your projects and needs.
Let the wpDataTables data management app lift the burden from your shoulders should you inherit a ton of data, and be faced with having to create readable, informative, interactive, and responsive tables or charts from that data. And by the way, those tables and charts need to be constantly edited to stay current. No need to wring your hands, simply add this plugin to your toolkit.
With Webflow, you don’t require one tool for design and development, and another for prototyping. You can build ultra-high-fidelity HTML/CSS prototypes that look every bit like the real thing – or, build the real thing. Since development is done within the application, there’s no need to handwrite code.
You’re also spared the trouble of needing a developer to embed complex animations and interactions in your website. You can do everything yourself on Webflow; and you can get started for free.
Pro is not just another website-building tool. This industry-first WordPress application gets you started with 3 building tools: a header builder, a content builder, and a footer builder. These tools will take you a long way; but then the fun begins. Pro provides 30 additional tools; a combination of Themeco-developed plugins and 3rd party plugins.
You also are given the opportunity to join Themco’s community of creative designers, developers, marketers, hosting services, and more – and it’s free.
When you manage to locate a font you’ve been looking for, and it’s free; you feel pretty good. That doesn’t happen all that often however. Free font selections are often quite limited in scope. That’s not the case with FFonts, which offers several thousand free fonts.
Finding one you can use isn’t a problem either, since the fonts have been placed in 30+ well-defined and meaningful categories. FFonts is a nice resource to have handy.
Here’s another nice resource to have at your fingertips. It can be hard enough to locate a source for a font whose name you know. But what if you’ve found the “perfect” font for a project, and you don’t know what it’s called?
WhatFontis can help. Submit a font sample, and you’ll either be informed of the font’s name, or be provided with several very close matches – which is often good enough.
Pressmate is a WordPress support service that assists small businesses and agencies by providing backups, security services, and real-time updates for WordPress websites – and more. Pressmate’s automated cloud backups offer 100% reliability for websites and any associated data files.
WordPress core and plugins status are constantly checked for updates, and websites are backed up before any changes are made in response to those updates. Pressmate also cleans up websites that have been hacked, or infected by malware.
In the event your client owns or represents a startup business, Ultra is perfect for the task. Ultra users select and customize rows of content, as opposed to working with full-page layouts.
Since startup operations can be quite dynamic, and their websites often require frequent changes and modifications, the ability to edit a row at a time enables the web designer to respond quickly, and keep pace with any need for frequent changes.
Finding just the right non-client-supplied images for your projects should never again be a cause for concern if you add Stockfresh to your website-design repertoire of tools and resources.
This up-and-coming stock photo agency currently has an inventory of millions of photos and vectors, all high-quality items, and all offered at affordable prices. Better yet – there are more design goodies to come.
Aurora HDR is a leader in HDR photography. With this photo editor for Mac, you can make stunning professional photos even more stunning, or add subtle or dramatic special effects to photographs to give a website a truly different and unique look.
Aurora HDR is a complex, sophisticated photo editor, but a selection of default presets makes it easy for beginners to use. A PC-compatible version is scheduled for release this fall.
As its name suggests, SnapPages provides a quick and easy way to build a website. It has the tools and features that enable you to build a page “in a snap”. It features a drag and drop editor that’s second to none, plus you’ll have a professionally-designed set of website templates to work with.
Your website will be fully hosted on the cloud, so you can access it anytime. SnapPages is also an excellent choice for bloggers.
Goodie offers development services to individual web designers, design teams, and businesses who do not carry full-time developers on their payrolls. Upon submitting your project, you’ll work directly with a web developer, who will code your design quickly and for a previously agreed upon fixed price.
Goodie’s development platform is ideal for small and single-page website and e-mail template designers.
Email marketers and email template designers take note. Big Bang Themes Drag and Drop Email Template Builder provides an easy way to create email templates.
You can create your own template from scratch, or use one of the ready-made templates that come with the package. Anytime you edit a template, you can save your changes and new layouts for later use.
In this list, there is no lack of tools and resources to fill in any gaps you have in your design toolbox. The presented options are perfect to replace items, which may have become obsolete.
Most of the items listed here should make your work easier, and make you more productive. More than a few of them offer capabilities that will enable you to accept the most challenging tasks.
We hope you’ve found one or more items to be useful. Let us know if you think we left anything out.
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