5 Best Tools and Resources for Web Designers
As a web designer, you probably have a trusted collection of resources and a digital toolbox that you rely on already. From color pickers to CSS style analysts, we love tools! There are so many to choose from for every aspect of the design process, and considering the fast-paced, innovative nature of the industry, there is always more to come.
But I’m not going to present you with an exhaustive list of all the tools and resources every web designer needs, nor am I going to speculate which ones will be trending in web design in the year to come. As a remote web designer, you need a more specific set of tools and resources because you’re not in the same position as web designers who collaborate with each other and their team members in physical work spaces.
In light of that, I’ve rounded up the 5 best tools and resources that can help you overcome the challenges of communication, collaboration, and keeping up with the industry.
InVision is a prototyping platform that makes it possible for remote designers to collaborate with team members and communicate with clients effortlessly and in real-time. It merges the design and development processes and tasks into a single platform which features a multitude of tools to enable in-browser collaboration, testing, presentation, etc. When you upload a design file, the platform will transform it into an interactive prototype and you choose who will be allowed to access it.
There are on-design comment threads for feedback and a simple reviewing process, a feature for converting feedback comments into to-do lists, and numerous others. You can also hold meetings and presentation on the platform integrate tools such as Slack or Trello with it. You get the gist – it’s like being physically present, only with an insanely organized team.
When you’re working remotely, the lack of feedback can be a major challenge. That’s where Bounce comes in. Everything about Bounce is simple: it’s a tool that truly simplifies feedback, that part of the design process that usually gets surprisingly difficult. The app even gives suggestion on their homepage as to how you can give useful feedback and how you can solicit it from others.
It’s made for sharing ideas and thoughts on a design and getting the conversation going. When you ask someone for feedback, they provide their comments via notes that they post on a screenshot of the design. When they save the notes, they can share the feedback wherever they want to start the dialogue.
Sketchboard is the remote web designer’s virtual whiteboard. It was actually created by a software developer who felt frustrated by the difficulty of brainstorming and collaborating with team members spread out in various locations. Brainstorming in groups and bouncing ideas in person is a very unique process that is difficult to translate to the digital world, but that’s exactly what Sketchboard seeks to overcome – and they’ve done a pretty great job.
You can sketch freely, add comments or text, and use pre-made shapes from the board’s library to create diagrams and maps. Paralleling the in-person experience of the brainstorming process, the tool is designed for collaborating in real-time, so each contributor’s cursor is labeled to take away the confusion.
DesignRush is an all-encompassing platform for the digital industry that’s designed both for clients and experts. It primarily serves as a directory of professional agencies, which are categorized by areas of expertise and searchable by location or filters such as team size, reviews, etc. That makes it especially useful for freelancers and remote workers who’re looking for web design companies to connect with or who simply want to gain insight into the work of the most successful companies in the industry, get inspired, and keep up with their practices.
The platform also offers resources for web designers who want to keep up with the latest news, trends, and interviews with industry experts. It’s great to have all the things in one place to overcome the challenge of isolation and independent learning as a remote worker in a constantly changing field.
Lastly, you need a community to stay grounded in your industry – and Dribble is all about community. Well, not just that; it’s also largely about job postings for all types of design work, which is undoubtedly a great perk.
It’s a social network for designers, and the Dribble team is 100 percent remote, so they know exactly what you need in order to connect, stay in touch, and keep up. You can see for yourself and just dive into it.
With this list, we’ve covered prototyping, feedback, brainstorming, keeping up with industry leaders, and networking. These are some of the main challenges for web designers working remotely, so hopefully these tools and platforms can be of use to you as well.
Did you give any of these a try already?
One of these might be just what you’ve needed – or perhaps it’s all of them!
Bio: Nina is a technical researcher & writer at DesignRush, a B2B marketplace connecting brands with agencies. She loves to share her experiences and meaningful content that educates and inspires people. Her main interests are web design and marketing. In her free time, when she's away from the computer, she likes to do yoga and ride a bike. You can find her on twitter