4 must-have tools to help web designers stay ahead of the competition

Categories Articles

Web designers rely on so many tools to make their content unique, in an attempt to be one step ahead of the competition. The right tool can save you time and effort, while still proving your talent.

Here are four tools that will save your web design company valuable time, put you ahead of the competition and see the highest quality results.

1. Firebug

This web development tool provides many important features. Firebug lets you edit, debug and monitor with just one tool. According to the Firebug website, the tool allows you to:

  • Inspect the HTML elements in the designed page in real-time

  • Debug with the JavaScript debugger on any browser

  • Move around the HTML elements and the website’s style if you add CSS

Once the page is live, marketing teams can use the analysis to measure the page’s activity.

2. ColoRotate

This project from IDEA.org allows for imagination with colors. Instead of being limited to 2D and obscure sliders, ColoRotate lets you work in 3D and in real time.

The science of our perception of colors is significant in this tool. Designers can blend colors, preview colorblindness, adjust the distances between the 3D colors and more. Best of all – the intuitive interface will take note of each color combination and number for you.

3. Zend Studio

This tool claims to be the leading PHP IDE. Zend Studio 10 lets designers do more than ever, like:

  • Create mobile apps that are connected to the cloud.

  • Use the Zend Developer Cloud to collaborate with your team

  • Create Zend Framework 2 projects and modules

This tool cuts down on work time and maximizes productivity. Designers can develop code faster and quickly solve application issues.

4. ExpanDrive

ExpanDrive describes itself as acting just like a USB. You can open, edit and save any documents from other computers. And even better – you can transparently connect to all your applications.

Access any remote file server with security. As long as you have connection, you’ll have access to your drive. And do it all without any installation or configuration on the server.

The latest version, ExpanDrive 3, offers major upgrades and improvements. New drive types are available, like Dropbox and Dreamhost Dream Objects. Also, there’s new UI, including metro-style on Windows and command-line interface.

Two honorable mentions

  • Fiber-optic Internet: This Internet of the future is not available everywhere, but it’s worth looking to see if you’re in the eligible area. Certain residents can get up to 500 Mbps with Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber allows for up to 1 Gbps (that’s 1,000 Mbps!). You’ll spend less time downloading stock photos and more time designing.

  • Adobe Dreamweaver: I recommend every Adobe tool you have the money for (Photoshop, Brackets, Fireworks, etc.). But if you could only invest in one, it should be Dreamweaver. If you have a lot of tasks on your hands, use this tool to build sites quickly. And now, you and your team can store assignments in the Creative Cloud, for simple collaboration.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.