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How to Become a Web Designer

What Tools Does a Web Designer Use?

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Though some don’t think of it as a highly technical role, Web Designers in fact must use an array of tools to handle things like website creation, design and prototyping, and graphic design.

What Are Essential Web Design Tools?

WordPress

A top tool of choice for much of the design industry for a long time now, WordPress is a powerful tool for building websites -- it’s been estimated that anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of the Internet worldwide is powered by WordPress. It has around a 75 percent market share among CMS.

Boasting more than 1,000 built-in themes and plugins, WordPress gives users a buffet of options to install, edit, customize, enhance, and build out their websites.

Squarespace

Another website builder that is an alternative to WordPress is Squarespace, which users like because it offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface for website creation. Squarespace also boasts a diverse array of different themes and color customization options, plus standard things like SSL encryption and the ability to build an online store.

It is a paid service, ranging from $12 to $40 per month for a subscription.

InVision Studio

Originally, InVision offered a cloud-based prototype service that integrated with other tools on this list like Sketch and Photoshop. Now, however, InVision Studio is a full-featured interface design and prototyping tool.

To put it simply, InVision Studio is like an advanced version of Sketch, complete with collaboration tools, motion animations, and options to create and share prototypes. To share prototypes using InVision Studio’s cloud service, you can select a free plan or, if you want more collaborators and projects, one of its paid offerings.

Figma

A relatively new tool compared to some on this list, Figma has nevertheless already built a large fanbase among Designers as a feature-loaded tool that many love to use for interface design and prototyping.

Figma features an easy-to-use, vector-based interface that makes designing websites a breeze. The same things that can be accomplished with Sketch or Adobe XD, can also be done with Figma.

Figma really stands out for its collaborative, cloud-based approach. With Figma, multiple team members can edit a design file simultaneously while stakeholders can leave comments.

Photoshop

There’s a reason Photoshop has been an industry leader for as long as most of us can remember: it’s a powerhouse, all-in-one graphic design tool.

Since starting out as a platform only for photo editing, Photoshop now can be used for interface design, video editing, graphic design, and more (and it’s still, of course, a great photo editor).

While many Web Designers tend to favor Photoshop due to its flexibility, others prefer more specialized tools on this list.

ProofHub

When Web Designers have to get down to the business of proofing – in other words, checking their design work before finalizing it – many turn to ProofHub.

It isn’t a tool for creating websites, though it can help the Designer a lot with hassle-free communication and editing, but it instead helps to speed up the completion of your web design project by eliminating the need for extra meetings or emails throughout the project.

Also, it is easier to communicate about necessary changes to things like layout, text positioning, or color.

Sketch

An extremely popular interface design tool, Sketch allows Web Designers to smoothly and intuitively create gorgeous, high-fidelity mockkups.

Web Designers find Sketch significantly easier to use than other design tools, allowing them to begin creating dazzling designs quickly. It also has its own world of plugins and integrations add power and make it easy to slip Sketch into your workflow.

However, Sketch’s prototyping and collaboration features are not as advanced as other tools out there.

Adobe Dreamweaver

Another industry standard tool from Adobe is Dreamweaver, which makes coding, editing, and maintaining websites easy with its intuitive visual interface.

Dreamweaver includes many of the features of a traditional, text-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) like syntax-highlighting, automatic code-completion, and the ability to collapse and expand sections of code, but unlike those traditional IDEs, any changes you make in your code will be automatically displayed in real-time in Dreamweaver’s interface.

Dreamweaver is a great compromise between something as simplistic as a drag-and-drop editor and a code-only IDE.

Adobe XD

For UI design, Adobe XD is another very popular choice. It boasts an excellent vector design and wireframing tool, with additions such as support for voice prototyping. XD includes drawing tools, tools that allow you to define non-static interactions, desktop and mobile previews, and sharing tools for swapping feedback.

It’s important to note Adobe XD integrates with the rest of Creative Cloud, which means you'll be able to import and work with assets from Photoshop or Illustrator easily. If your team is already committed to the Adobe suite, the UI will feel familiar and comfortable.

Bluefish

If you’re a total beginner, we recommend this quick design tool because it has a text-only interface that helps you make cleaner codes. Although it mainly focuses on HTML, Bluefish also supports JavaScript, PHP, Java, SQL, XML, and CSS.

It’s also worth noting that some of its features – including syntax highlighting, a toolbar, and a menu – are customizable.

Google Web Designer

Primarily used to create interactive content and ads in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, Google Web Designer has an intuitive graphical user interface that incorporates 3D animations, shapes, and text.

This tool also has a library housing extra components – including videos and images – and other things that can be used for advertising.

Bootstrap

An old favorite, Bootstrap revolutionized development and is now the world’s most popular framework for building responsive, mobile-first sites.

Bootstrap is a free library of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS that makes coding a website from scratch much easier and less time-consuming. Bootstrap’s many appealing features include a grid system, a large library of components – including headers, navigation, alerts, and forms – and responsive breakpoints.

The component library includes headers, navigation, buttons, forms, alerts, and more. The Bootstrap team has comprehensively documented each feature, complete with examples and suggestions for customization.

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