In the early days of my
career as an Internet
professional, rarely did
my discussions about
online success venture
into the virtual waters of
But as the industry has placed increasingly
higher values on user
experience and the relationships
between design and conversion,
the visual development of webpages
has taken its rightful place
on center stage in the digital business
At least it has for me.
Once the dominion of but a handful of the most artistic
and technical among all Web workers, design has evolved significantly
over the past few years. And so have the tools, platforms
and frameworks that are used to produce aesthetically
pleasing websites with which our users interact.
Few designers code their websites in something as barren
as a text editor anymore. Instead, highly customized
tools, very robust platforms and powerful frameworks are
filling the necessary roles of solutions used to develop not
just Web properties, but applications; the entire digital presence,
so to speak.
When you have an audience as diverse as that of Website
Magazine, assembling a list of just 50 tools to aid in the design
process can often seem to be a Sisyphean task. There are those
just getting started that opt for ease of use from tools provided
by their hosting provider; a good example being the 1and1
product MyWebsite, which is No. 17 on our list.
Many others will use one of myriad available platforms that
require little in the way of design experience but yield stunning
finished products, including Wix (No. 6), Yola (No. 12)
or Webnode (No. 13). More experienced designers, however,
wouldn’t dream of using anything but Adobe’s market-leading
products – including Dreamweaver, Photoshop and InDesign
(not to mention the video tools that Adobe provides).
And, wouldn’t you know, it gets even more complex. The
roles played by content management systems such as Word-
Press (No. 2) and Joomla (No. 14) have dramatically changed
our perceptions of the overall impact that design has on one’s
success on the Web.
Of course, it does not stop there. Entirely new definitions
of design and development are emerging. The role that applications
(Web and mobile) now play in the digital realm is
vital, and frameworks have emerged that enable designers
to take their existing coding language familiarity to entirely
There are many of the same requirements, and you will still
need those wireframing tools and should not cast aside any
video-editing tools or visual design products that have been
staples in the design world for many years.
The definition of design and the role that it plays for you
personally is greatly dependent on the type of enterprise you
have and want to have in the future. Design is one element of
success over which you have a great deal of control, so let these
tools, platforms and frameworks support your objectives for