According to Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
As per Digital Appeal, “75% of people form their opinion of a website or brand based on its aesthetics.”
And it’s important, hence it doesn’t come as a surprise that website design tools enjoy their popularity in the market.
Top 5 Tools That Help You to Work Smarter With Your Designer in 2021
Until a few years back, the entire process of web design was complicated and designers had to learn a lot of tools and coding to design a website. Now things have changed and each part of the design process can be made simple with the aid of one tool or the other. The best part is that these tools are easy to pick up and master and the results are nothing short of brilliant.
We’ve made the selection process easier for you by carefully picking the most prominent tools that will help you to work smarter with your designer. In case you are looking to integrate a knowledge base software into your design tool for your customers and employees, you can do that as well.
Let’s explore the tools and what they have to offer.
True to the saying “The best products start with Sketch”, this design platform enables you to create, prototype, collaborate, and bring your ideas to life. This tool is used by more than one million people – from the largest teams to the established freelancers.
Whether you’re designing a pixel-perfect icon or an entirely new concept for a product, you can start with the basics and then work with the design-focused features. You can scale your projects from shared libraries that comprise reusable components. There is a world of plug-ins, such as Cluse, Chart, Pexels, Overflow, and so on, that you can tap into and if you still feel that you’re missing out on something, you can build it yourself.
Enjoy their free trial that allows you to download their Mac app and try it for free for 30 days. For the priced version, you need to pay $9 monthly per Editor seat or opt for annual billing at $99. The benefits of the priced version include: a power Mac app for Editors, a shared workspace to collaborate with your peers or other designers, free access to the web for unlimited users, easy workspace management, and more.
Further, this platform provides you access to a host of resources, including documentation and FAQs, local Sketch community, extensions, and blogs.
Figma provides you with the opportunity to create designs on your own terms. It offers exclusive and unique features, such as a modern pen tool, instant arc designs, advanced font styles, and more. You can now create responsive designs with the auto layout feature as well as automate and augment your work with private and customized plugins.
Figma offers a very similar USP to that of Sketch except that it offers a cross-platform experience. It allows you to switch between multiple accounts and connect and collaborate with fellow designers or creators through comments in the Figma community. It also offers you the opportunity to browse through thousands of wireframes, design systems, illustrations, and more.
Secure your designs from day one with the aid of enterprise-grade security features, privacy protections, and compliance audits. In terms of pricing, Figma offers three plans:
- Free: As the name implies, it comes free of cost and allows you to create three projects and work with up to two editors. It also offers unlimited cloud storage and free viewers.
- Professional: This plan is billed at $12 per editor per month if billed annually. Else you can also opt for the $15 month-to-month payment option. In addition to unlimited projects and version history, this plan also offers custom file/user permissions, invite-only private projects, shareable team libraries, among many other features.
Organization: This edition is billed at $45 per editor per month and only billed annually. From org-wide design systems to private plugins, SSO and advanced security, you name it and you get it with this plan.
The tagline of this software says it all, “Design like you always imagined.”
This premium web design software is made for the way you work. It offers a host of features:
- Layout and Design: Create real-looking layouts by giving it perspective and depth with 3D transforms.
- Prototyping and Animation: Make it feel exactly like the real by adding in user flows, motion, and interactions without any kind of coding.
- Designs Systems: There is no need to wait for a handoff now as you can work together with your peers in real time and keep your teams aligned from any location.
- Collaboration and Handoff: XD allows you to share your components and assets across projects thereby making collaboration with your peers and other designers simple.
- Extensibility: With the availability of 200+ XD plugins at your fingertips, you can automate your tasks and enhance your designs. You can easily link XD to a variety of apps and use built-in integrations to work effortlessly with Jira, Teams, Slack, and more.
The pricing of Adobe XD starts at $9.99 per month. There is also a free version available.
InvisionStudio is one the top-notch platforms inspired by the world’s leading design teams. It is available for both Mac and Windows users and you can “design, prototype, and animate – all in one place”. It provides you with the opportunity to come up with outstanding vector-based designs.
The strength of this application lies in prototyping, especially if your design involves animation. To work with this tool, you need to figure out how your user interface should look like at the start of the transition and the final output, and InvisionStudio will work out the rest for you.
This software is divided into four main parts. The layers list is on the left while the contextual toolbar with its many options appear at the top of the screen. The third and the fourth parts are the Inspector and the Canvas respectively. The visual properties for the chosen objects are found in the Inspector area while you can use the Canvas area to create your designs.
Their plans are designed keeping in mind the needs of every team.
- Free: It is free for up to 10 active users. You can design up to three documents and unlimited freehands. It offers unlimited public spaces.
- Pro: The version is ideal for cross-collaborative teams. You need to pay $7.95 per month and up to 15 active users can use it. It offers unlimited documents and archiving as well as unlimited private and public spaces.
Enterprise: This version is suitable for organizations with larger and more advanced needs. It is available per seat pricing with no user limits. It also offers single sign-on capabilities, enhanced security, priority support and training, etc.
Codekit is a very robust and powerful web framework that you can use to build websites. There are many alternatives to Codekit but this one works out of the box, is simple to set up and works perfectly for those who like to work with a clean interface.
According to the Chief Design Officer of Apple, Jony Ive, “CodeKit 3 is the most deliberate evolution of our founding design. Each button’s 9-step anodization process brings absolute unity to a singular vision. This is truly a product that only Apple could create.”
With this application, you can build your project with just one click and then fine-tune the process to develop one beautiful and intuitive user interface. Some of the most prominent features are:
- Easy migration with checking just one box
- Blazing speed that helps in processing files in parallel to complete the build fast
- Simple configuration that allows you to completely customize your build process
- Completely extendable by running a Shell script and seeing the customized UI output
Codekit is not based on subscriptions. There are multiple prices available for one license per user. You can choose to pay any of the prices for a single user. If your friends or peers have to use your license, you need to add one user for each headcount.
As Neil Gershenfeld, the Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, rightly said, “Give ordinary people the right tools, and they will design and build the most extraordinary things.”
It doesn’t really matter whether you are a novice or an experienced web designer, the tools mentioned in the list above are extremely effective when it comes to creating stunning designs which are not just beautiful to look at but also functional. These applications offer you plenty of features that help you work smarter with your designer to come up with amazing designs for your business needs.
Let us know in the Comments section below if you found any of them useful for your design needs. Feel free to let us know if you’re using any other software and what you particularly like about it.
PJ has a background in management consulting and software development. At DesignBro, he combines both. Personal favorite brand of PJ is Jeep.