4 web design tools to speed up your workflow in 2018
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. Dubai Website Development Company
,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.
Here, we look at 30 brilliant web design tools for 2018 that will help you become more productive in the coming year. Some are brand spanking new; others have been around for a while. But all have the potential to save you time, energy and budget in your web design projects.
Sketch is rapidly replacing Photoshop as the UI design tool of choice
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 (and that's despite the release of Adobe XD, Adobe's shiny new prototyping and wireframing tool – one of the newest additions to Creative Cloud – which comes in second on this list).
Rory Berry, creative director at Superrb, rightly feels that using Photoshop for web design is a mistake. He made the switch to Sketch in 2017, and highly recommends it. “Having been a user of Photoshop for over 10 years, it was hard to change and learn something new,” he says. “But literally after the first day of using Sketch, there was no looking back. I’m a total convert.”
He offers a number of reasons why. “Compared to Photoshop, sorting all your documents that you have and making revisions on Sketch is much easier,” he begins. “Sketch has small documents whereas Photoshop has large ones. Due to it being a vector-based app, the file sizes are dramatically smaller compared to Photoshop.”
And that’s not all. “The built-in grid system in Sketch is great and makes interface design much easier. I think the overall UI and minimal feel makes it much cleaner to design in and user friendly. Photoshop seems very complicated in comparison.”
The Sketch community offers hundreds of plugins to make a designers work flow 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 all round winner for web design.”
02. Adobe XD
Sketch rival Adobe XD has a light interface that allows you to concept and prototype with ease
Adobe now has its own vector design and wireframing tool, Adobe XD. We reviewed the Beta version this May, and it was formally released this October.
XD includes drawing tools, tools that enable you to define non-static interactions, mobile and desktop previews, and sharing tools for giving feedback on designs. It allows you to select a device-specific artboard size for starting a project, and you can even import a popular UI kit, for example Google’s Material Design.
Andrei Robu, design director at Robu Studio in Barcelona, Web Development Company in Dubai
is among its fans. “XD doesn't replace Sketch yet, but for quick mock ups it's great,” he says. “It’s a very light interface, with lots of photos loaded in, and great for moodboards. The prototyping is very useful to show clients how stuff works, especially because you can push the content online right away I also love that I can copy and paste stuff from other Adobe apps.”
Crucially, Adobe XD integrates with the rest of Creative Cloud. Ellis Rogers, graphic designer at Receptional Ltd https://www.receptional.com, also recommends it. “Sketch is brilliant for designing for a web developer, because you are working in values in a software built exactly for designing websites and apps,” he says. “But the biggest limitation for me was it only being available on Mac, making it difficult to share Sketch files for web developers/designers not using OS X. Sharing Sketch files for development meant additional software/conversions, or working from flat JPGs – something that caused too many boundaries.
Being a user of Photoshop and Illustrator, the UI for Adobe XD felt familiar, he adds so there wasn’t a real learning curve for using it. “So now after a few weeks of trialling, it’s the only tool I now use for all web design, app design, prototyping or wireframes.”
Rogers also praises the ability XD offers to use Adobe libraries to quickly import any asset from Photoshop or Illustrator, as this makes collaboration projects run more quickly.
“Working with UI/UX designers and illustrators makes this process simple,” he says. “When the design/prototype or wireframe is complete, Adobe XD allows you to very quickly select elements and create page transitions for a working prototype, which can be shared via a link. The link also allows you to gather feedback per page, keeping it all organised. The link can be updated within Adobe XD so the client can always see the latest version without having to worry about incorrect versions; an absolute joy to work with.”
Figma allows you to design, prototype and gather feedback with other designers in real time
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.
Here are some of its outstanding features:
“Figma has a similar USP as Sketch with the exception of being cross platform,” explains frontend designer Benjamin Read. “I recently used it to create a couple of icons for an article we’re publishing on our website and found the workflow incredibly smooth. It took me no time to learn and had the added benefit of being collaborative: you can share graphics with others within the app.“
“I’ve been trying to switch to Linux for my work and sometimes we use Windows, so Figma makes sense to me from a practical standpoint,” he adds. “In comparison I’ve found many tools for other platforms fall short.”
Content writer and artworker David Eastwood, who works for Co-o 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.”