25 Useful Tools and Resources for Web Designers and Digital Agencies

Whether you are a professional web designer, or in charge of a web or digital design agency, you are always looking for ways to improve; both in terms of productivity, and in the quality of your products. You are always on the lookout for tips, techniques, or learning and skill enhancing opportunities, and for better tools to work with as well.

There’s no shortage of resources and tools in the web design world. Some, or course, are better than others, and a few are particularly excellent. Resources and tools that fit into this latter category are what you will find here.

You can put almost any tool to good use by following the instructions, but to always be at your best requires understanding the need for continuing education, which is why we start things off by suggesting a couple of learning resources.

Learning Opportunities

Conversations with Design Entrepreneurs

Conversations with Design Entrepreneurs

This is chance to benefit from the experiences of 30 leading design entrepreneurs. This book will be a valuable addition to your bookshelf if you are looking for ways to find the courage and the determination to embark on a new self-made career, or you have set your sights on becoming a founder or co-founder of a startup. This book will show you how to make the necessary decisions to be at your best.

Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery Set

Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery Set

This two-book set is intended for web designers and front-end developers. These books are an ideal platform for the developer who is looking to master HTML and CSS before taking on the intricacies of JavaScript and jQuery. A plentiful array of diagrams, photographs, and infographics provides a visual approach that makes these books extremely effective learning tools, and the perfect choice for a beginning designer or front-end developer.

Freebies

Design Freebies by Visual Hierarchy

Design Freebies by Visual Hierarchy

Freebies are always popular; especially when they consist of quality items. That is definitely the case with the more than 200 free items you can pick from by paying Visual Hierarchy a visit. Free fonts and icons, store mockups, business card templates, etc. – they’re all there, and just waiting for you to put them to good use.

50 Free iOS App Screens for Sketch

50 Free iOS App Screens for Sketch

Have you ever created a special app screen that you felt was of such high quality that you felt the need to share it as an inspiration to others? That’s precisely what this app designer did, and more. As a result, he is offering 50 iOS app screens that are yours for free for your personal use. You can download them, and use them as you see fit, for your prototyping and design replicating activities.

Prototyping Tools

Proto.io

Proto.io

Proto.io is a prototyping tool that has become a favorite with the web and mobile app design community. Without any need for coding, Proto.io enables its users to build extremely realistic and interactive prototypes in minutes, and test them on real devices.

Whether your designs are completed, or they are still in work, you can easily share them with clients, team members, or other project stakeholders, and do so in real time. Disney, ESPN, and other large companies have used Proto.io as a tool to determine the feasibility of putting designs into actual production.

PowerMockup

PowerMockup

PowerMockup is the ideal mockup and wireframe toolkit for you if you are a PowerPoint user. It’s simply a matter of selecting shapes and other design elements from PowerMockup’s library, and transferring them onto a PowerPoint slide. By doing so, you can build a prototype for a web or mobile app in no time at all.

Just select the shapes you want, and let PowerPoint’s animation and slideshow features do the rest. PowerPoint works with 2007 – 2016 for Windows, and you can download a trial version for free.

Design to Code Services

PSDgator

PSDgator

PSDgator can convert PSD, Sketch, and even AI to HTML. They can convert any of your design files to HTML5/CSS3, and they can to much more, including JavaScript or Parallax effects.

If you have an existing website that is in dire need recoding, or a static website you want integrated into WordPress, they can do either or both of those for you too.

The PSDgator team also specializes in eCommerce solutions plugin development and website and app support. Their prices are low, and their return customers receive a discount.

PSD2HTML

PSD2HTML

PSD2HTML® is the perfect coding partner for digital, design and marketing agencies. They provide pixel-perfect HTML5/CSS3 code for most design layout formats. An accurate price will be based on a thorough investigation of your designs and specifications. You can expect quality work at a reasonable price, as this development agency is a pioneer in the business of providing design to HTML services.

Over the past 11 years, PSD2HTML® has completed more than 100,000 projects for agencies, businesses, and freelancers in 164 countries. The PSD2HTML® team uses only the cutting edge front-end techniques and technologies, namely Sass and Less, Grunt, Gulp, Angular JS and etc.

TheSiteSlinger

TheSiteSlinger

Ace-high code and bulletproof sites are among The Site Slinger specialties. This results-driven team can handle everything from basic CSS and jQuery, to advanced Saas, Less, SLIM, Angular JS, Ionic and more, not to mention their talent at converting both PSD and Sketch design files to HTML5/CSS3. All you have to do is get in touch, submit your requirements, and they take care of the rest; keeping you in the loop of course. The Site Slinger markups are semantic, cross-browser compatible and W3C valid.

Multipurpose WordPress Themes

Be Theme

Be Theme

Be Theme is best known for its huge (210+) selection of pre-built websites that have been designed by professionals and incorporate the latest and most popular web design trends. This, the biggest WordPress theme of all, is also well known for its 40 core features, which combine website building power with ease of use.

With Be Theme, you can get any project off to a fast start, and deliver a quality website in nothing flat.

X Theme

X Theme

X Theme is ThemeForest’s fastest selling theme of all time, for at least two very good reasons. One is Cornerstone, X’s innovative front-end page builder. Another, is the Stacks system, a set of designs suited for professionals, creatives, and businesses alike. 

X comes with over 20 premium plugins included for free, automatically-updated extensions that can be instantly downloaded. The ThemeForest team set a goal of building the ultimate theme. They may well have succeeded.

eCommerce WordPress Themes

Shopkeeper

Shopkeeper

Shopkeeper should be your number one pick for an eCommerce theme if you will settle for nothing less than an exceptional UX. This theme was specifically designed to be used with the WooCommerce plugin. Everything you need to build a site, and start selling online, is contained in this fully responsive, pixel perfect, premium theme. Shopkeeper is also a great choice for blogs.

XStore

XStore

It only takes a brief look at XStore’s demo shop template to realize that it’s the right choice for you if you want an eCommerce store that rocks. The overall design employs effective, but not excessive, use of special effects such as hovers.

One area in which XStore really shines is its portfolio options. Its blog layouts are worthy of mention too. If you have an online store in mind, this will be a great investment.

Website Builders and Platforms

Webydo

Webydo

With full creative control and no technical barriers, Webydo enables professional designers and web agencies to grow their operation. White label branding, SEO capabilities, web hosting, client billing and a built-in CMS are just some of the business-oriented features that may be found in Webydo’s central Dashboard.

More than a tool that enables you to create pixel-perfect, responsive websites for your clients, Webydo represents a platform that will scale with you from day one. With Webydo at your fingertips, you are able to boost productivity and quickly create beautiful websites for any client.

XPRS

XPRS

XPRS quickly transitioned from being a new IM Creator product, to becoming its main product. Unlike most website builders, XPRS does not use the drag and drop page-building approach. It uses Polydoms. Building a website with Polydoms is like building something with Lego blocks.

This approach not only enables you to build a website that will rank higher with the search engines, but makes doing so thoroughly enjoyable; just like playing with Lego.

Even if you’re a long-time drag and drop page-building devotee, you’ll have no trouble making the change to this new and different approach. Get unlimited licenses for your clients thanks to XPRS’ white label plan which costs only $350/year!

WordPress Plugins

wpDataTables

wpDataTables

wpDataTables is a WordPress plugin you can use to create interactive/responsive charts and tables quickly and easily, no matter how much data you find yourself having to work with.

You can even highlight data categories or ranges to provide viewers with a quick overview of important results.

With this time-saver in hand, you can stop worrying about having to find a way to convert thousands or rows of data into a readable, usable format managers and clients look for; and you can do so at a moment’s notice.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is so widely used in website design, that its inclusion in WordPress themes is often taken for granted. This free, frequently-updated plugin can in fact, claim more than 1 million installs.

WooCommerce works with any theme, but you need to check to see if themes that include it in their product package keep an up-to-date version, or you can download the latest version yourself. Some eCommerce themes, like the popular Shopkeeper, have were designed around this plugin.

Stock Images

PhotoSpin Royalty Free Stock Images and Subscriptions

PhotoSpin Royalty Free Stock Images and Subscriptions

PhotoSpin has literally millions of high quality images in stock. They come in all sizes – up to 17 inches long and are priced affordably. You can purchase a photo or image separately, or by subscription, depending on your needs. These are high-resolution photos, and to save you time, they have been expertly organized and categorized.

If having a huge resource like this readily available appeals to you, pay PhotoSpin a visit and give them a try. Use BAW20 to save 20% on annual subscriptions.

Stockfresh

Stockfresh

Stockfresh is another stock image resource with millions of choices to pick from. This stock image resource has been around for quite some time, and it has earned a solid reputation. You can sign up for free to browse the various categories that make up the Stockfresh inventory.

Several subscription plans are available, so all you need to do is select the one that will best fit your needs. You’ll find the prices are affordable, and the quality exceptional.

Collaboration & Task Management

InVision

InVision

InVision revolutionizes the way teams design digital products by allowing designers to build prototypes that look, feel and act like a real application, all without a single line of code. With InVision, team members collaborate on prototypes earlier for more contextual feedback, leading to smarter, user approved products. Sign up for your free Enterprise trial today.

Azendoo

Azendoo

This task management tool offers a sure-fire way for you to deliver your projects on time. Simply integrate it with your design tools, and you can stop worrying about trying to keep everything under control. You can spend your valuable time focusing on what you like to do best – design. Azendoo makes team collaboration and project status tracking practically second nature.

Its ability to provide feedback in real time makes it a genuine time saver, as is its capabilities for sharing documentation.

UX and UI

Loop11

Loop11

You appreciate the value of being able to test your products with those it’s designed for, the users. Whether it is a prototype, a wireframe, or a completed website, you need the insights into a product’s performance that only user feedback can supply. User testing need not involve time consuming, in-person testing, or having to choose between big data and user playback. This is where Loop11 comes in.

This powerful tool gives you both the analytics and session playback you can act on.

Google Content Experiments

Google Content Experiments

Google Content Experiments is a robust testing platform that provides the ideal solution to your A/B testing needs. Best of all, it’s free. GCE is an integral part of Google Analytics, and it does a superb job of interpreting the effects of virtually any change in performance in a website or app when it has been modified.

This analytical tool will be an excellent companion when you are attempting to optimize the performance of your digital product or prototype.

Other Useful Tools

Sketch Runner

Sketch Runner

Sketch user? Try Sketch Runner. It will help you navigate through Sketch more rapidly. Instead of relying on a series of dropdown menus to get to where you want to go, Sketch Runner makes it possible to go to any page by using commands directly from your keyboard.

This gives you the ability to navigate huge Sketch files, or locate or define symbols in seconds. You can watch the demo, or simply download it and give it a try, or both.

Pagekit

Pagekit

Are you in the market for a new CMS, or do you simply want to make some comparisons to see what might work best for your content creating activities? Pagekit’s clean, intuitive interface offers a breath of fresh air.

This tool allows you focus on the things that matter, like managing your content. Pagekit is an Open Source CMS built on a modular and extendable architecture. It has amazing flexibility, and it is extremely easy to use.

Conclusion

Perhaps you think your toolkit is already full; but even if that is the case, there’s always room for improvement. On the other hand, you might have come across something in this list that you badly needed, or until now, never realized you badly needed!

In any event, whatever you might select from this list is bound to make life a little easier for you, and give your productivity a boost.

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