This is a guest post from Janil Jean, a blogger, social media addict and graphic design enthusiast at ZillionDesigns.com
Tremendous growth has been seen in the area of web development for enhanced user experience in the past few years so much so that a new generation of web applications and tools have emerged just to cater to those involved in the business of UI/UX development. It’s not surprising therefore to find a plethora of productivity tools released every other day that claim to help developers create richer, more beautiful and complex websites to cater to their clientele. With so many out there, the question that most developers struggle with is, which one?
Well this article will attempt to at least ease your dilemma.
Any discussion related to the web is incomplete if Google is not mentioned. Google’s Web Designer application is a beautiful tool if development can ever be called that. The tool offers a one-stop platform for creating beautiful design, engaging content animation and any interactive feature that you want to add to your design to enhance user experience. With pre-programmed web components such as iFrame, maps, image, tap area and more, you don’t have to worry about the codes and focus entirely on design.
Development is a complex process which requires collaboration from developers, designers, clients and project managers to work as a team. UXPin can help minimize it by providing developers the ability to control versions of wireframes, prototypes, documents, and iterations. At the same time, UXPin also offers a collaborative functional work platform where the user can drag and drop and add intuitive interface to save time when you need to test and rollout new design. Collaboration has never been easier.
We all know responsive web design is preferred nowadays due to its scalability across multiple devices. One of the most tedious tasks in responsive web development is creating grids. Responsive Grid System however makes this task easier because with it, you can create grid templates, scale them, and fill them with content without the fear of offsets or going out of the margins. How it works is by splitting the page into columns and sections, specify queries type and stack and reduce margins accordingly. The tool also helps in minimizing floating problems which is often problematic when designing in multiple columns for various browser versions like Firefox 3.5+, Safar 4 +, Chrome, Opera 9+ and IE 6+.
Refresh, refresh, refresh… till you drop. No more! LiveReload solves this problem and saves hours of your time. It’s an application for developers which allows you to edit CSS, make image changes, apply them live without having to reload your page again and again. How it works is by preprocessing your image or CSS files as you upload or edit them, and refreshes automatically.
One of the best features about this tool is that it’s available in iOS, Windows and Linux, and the code is open source. You don’t have to fear compatibility either, because the tool comes with plugins and compilers that will detect, help edit, test and code in CoffeeScript, Sass, and LESS with room for more.
CSS style sheets? Compass it! With Compass you can co-author CSS frameworks, and generate cleaner markup using Sass without having to go crazy on presentational classes, sprites, typographic rhythms, and extensions. Moreover, Compass also offers reusable patterns which minimize development time in regenerating codes when working on extensions or creating frameworks. And it works on Ruby!
OK so HAML (HTML abstraction markup language) is not exactly a time saving productivity tool but it’s a beautiful one which is why I have to mention it here. The core principles behind HAML is that developing codes shouldn’t be gory. HAML allows you to create organized and well-structured markups for your templates. These markups are beautiful to render, feel good to modify and easy to search for when you want to edit. Not only this reflects positively on the developer but it makes life easier for those who wants to work on the code later on.
As the online world moves towards visual media, it’s expected that web design follows the same trend. But while web designers love to include large and beautiful graphics, developers hate them for the simple reason that they are “heavy”. ImageOptim has a solution – by compressing them for you without having to use third party software. This will not only help in saving disk space, but decrease your site loading time. ImageOptim allows you to drag and drop images, use the ImageOptim Doc, or launch via a shell script, and voila! you’ve got optimized images for use.
And once when all is said and done, test it. Not only is it vital for developers to test codes several time for any bugs but test it across multiple browsers and versions as well. It’s tedious and somebody’s got to do it, and we feel nobody does it better than BrowserStack. This tool allows testing of your web design in browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera, including versions which run on iOS, Android and Opera mobile devices. It’s compatible for testing in almost all versions of these browsers so you needn’t fear you may miss out on a couple. And the cherry on top is that you can test your website via their superfast cloud based platform via remote browsers as well. With bundled pre-installed developer tools for cross testing and debugging on the spot, there’s a reason why web developers love BrowserStack.
Apart from the above some more notable ones which are worthy of mentions are Firebug, Gulp, JetBrains, Grunt, Yeoman, Ink and many more. Among the above which ones have you tried; which one’s your favorite; and which would you recommend?
Author bio: Janil Jean is a Manager Business Coordination at ZillionDesigns.com, a logo design and web development company. She’s a blogger, social media addict and graphic design enthusiast. She loves to travel and write about brands, graphic design, and startups. Connect with her via Google Plus or Twitter