Updated: Jul 22, 2020
An overload of softwares and programs is the last thing you need when you're working on a new web design project for your client. Simple and smooth workflow is key to maximizing your time. We've hand picked some of this year's best and easiest to use web-based softwares and web tools for web designers. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the variety of tools out there, but once you find the best one for each task that's right for you, then you'll be on your way to an easy web design flow process. From project management tools to free design resources, we've compiled some of the best softwares and tools, free to use.
One of the easiest drag & drop web-based softwares to get your beautiful website live in no time. From over 100s of templates to choose from, Squarespace is great for those that want to build a visually and outstanding design, without losing any functionality. I'd say if you're a photographer, creative professional, fashion designer, or a small business featuring a handful of unique products, then this is the site that will show you off the best. Squarespace has a free trial, but unless you upgrade to a paid plan, you won't be able to publish your site, not even on a temporary URL.
Visit squarespace.com for more info.
Wix is a fast-growing business that has been adding more features for both the newb and the advanced coder. With better drag and drop features, Wix has recently released Editor X which allows you to design & build websites easily and efficiently with all the freedom to code and create a professional and responsive design. Editor X is for the experienced web designer. If you're just starting off, Wix is also a great place to begin your web design journey with easy drag & drop tools, free templates, simple-to-use apps and plugins like contact forms, tables, scheduling apps, and much more. If it's your first time creating a website, Wix will walk through each step of the way with you, making it easy to use and understand. But if you're looking to have a professional website look and feel amazing, you're better off hiring a professional website designer to set you up. Wix is free to use, with Premium Plans and upgrades available. If you decide to hold off on upgrading, you'll have a temporary link that you can see live, but you'll be stuck showing off the Wix banner at the top. To remove this, just upgrade to any Premium Plan.
Visit wix.com for a discount for your first year of Premium.
Webflow is quickly becoming the best "no code" website design platform for creating responsive designs for designers with some coding experience. See how your design is represented alongside the code used to build it. Quickly switch between your coding panel and your design panel to customize all sorts of design elements throughout your web design process. Even though they advertise themselves as part of the "no code" movement, it makes more sense if you know html5, css3, and JS and how it's used best on any website. Having a good knowledge and foundation of these languages will let you make the best use of Webflow.
Wordpress is still one of the top platforms to use in building your website.
Whether you're creating a small informational site or a full e-commerce website, Wordpress is still hands down the most versatile platform for building a professional and trust-worthy website.
The key is, knowing which website builder will boost your workflow quickly and efficiently.
My favorite drag & drop website builder and theme builder for Wordpress is hands-down Elementor. It's easy and simple to use. It allows for a lot of creative freedom and also has a lot of great resources to inspire you to build desktop and mobile websites efficiently.
You may have heard of Sketch as the standard for prototyping websites and apps. Although it still stands as the leading company for prototyping your UI and app designs, I have to mention the ease-of-use of Figma for quickly building wireframes and even going as far as designing websites. You can create a free account and use Figma's layering system to create wireframes quickly. You have the option to use the web-based software or download the Figma desktop app, for free. I love the option to be able to prototype easily and create components quickly. With one button, experience your prototype on your phone - live, as you edit on your desktop. By just sharing a link, you can collaborate with your team or even show it to your client easily and hassle-free.
Invision is still one of my favorite ways to create a mood board for a new web design project, allowing me to quickly share design concepts with my clients. This lets them view and download all of the files in one place, while giving them the opportunity to provide instant feedback from the device of their choosing (desk computer, email software or mobile phone). Clients can easily upload text files, videos, images, logos, and any other content necessary for building their website. Invision is free, as long as you only have 3 boards at a time. You can upgrade for unlimited boards if you're working with more than 3 projects at a time.
7. Adobe XD
There's a lot of word on the street that the Adobe XD software will kill and take over other web-based platforms like Figma and Invision. There are still some things that are not featured here, and vice versa. There isn't one platform that does everything perfectly - at least not yet. Although these platforms do come close to it, it boils down to your personal workflow and design process and what you feel most comfortable with. Some people prefer wire-framing with pen and paper, and then jumping in to Adobe XD for prototyping apps and other web applications. Personally, I've used all platforms in different ways, but have chosen to use a web-based software that is not so program-heavy on my computer, which is why I've placed Figma and Invision above Adobe XD on this list. Nonetheless, Adobe XD is still a great tool for prototyping your designs easily and effectively. It's free for one user and one team member. To collaborate with a team, you'll have to subscribe to the monthly subscription.
Hunting for royalty-free images for your client on the web has never been easier. Unsplash has a load of photos you can use commercially - absolutely free. You don't need to credit the photographer (although always greatly appreciated) and you can use it easily on your websites and for your clients. You don't even have to create an account, just visit unsplash.com, filter by category and download directly to your desktop. All of their images are high quality, professional, and best of all, free to use.
Trello is one of the best collaborative and web-based Project Management Boards out there. Free to use, easy for clients to stay on top of the project and visually see what phase each project is in. I use Trello Boards for more complicated projects, such as e-commerce websites and large content management websites that have multiple features and require several plugins.
Clients love to see how progress is going. Tip: I add a section on the board which outlines payment due dates and requests approvals before moving forward to additional phases throughout the project. If you want to know how to always get paid, check out my other article called: "No More Chasing Clients for Your Money".
Another great project board management tool is Slack. Great for developers and all kinds of industries, with easy collaborative features and large teams. Slack is one of the best, next to Trello, for creative web-based project management softwares on the web. Visit www.slack.com for more info.
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