15 Oct 10 best Web design tools in October
No matter what your specialism, there’s bound to be a tool that’s of interest on this month’s list. Designing iOS icons? There’s a superb gallery of to help you get a handle on what’s already out there. Frustrated with your clunky version control ‘system’? Folio is a slick new app that can help with that.
There’s also a new inspiration site that with a difference, an exciting new file format for responsive design that’s beating PNG and JPEG in terms of compression, and a bunch of other goodies. Dive in! So here is the 10 best web design tools in October
- GreenKeeper: Greenkeeper soothes your anxieties about npm dependencies breaking your build by automating dependency updates and letting you know about any build fails. When your dependencies get updates it sends you a pull request with the newjson. Greenkeeper is free if your stuff is open source, and there’s a monthly charge if it’s not. Made by the people behindHoodie.
- StyleSheets: Check out this great collection of CSS resources put together by Jamie Wilson. It’s community-generated, so anyone can submit something and then others can add a star to show that they liked it. Anything CSS-related is welcome; tips, tutorials, tools, cool repos or whatever else you find useful.
- Iconsfeed: Browsing the work of others is a useful stage in the process of designing icons for iOS, and Iconsfeed helps out by providing a huge, searchable gallery. Every icon is from a real app that’s published in the App Store so you won’t get led up the garden path by unworkable ideas. Icons are arranged into categories such as Productivity, Games, and Education and so on, and you can view them by colour using the clickable pallette.
- BoxBox: The philosophy behind BoxBox is that UI/UX designers have different needs to visual designers, and BoxBox sets out to satisfy them. For example, it’s useful for UI/UX designers to be able to convey the intent behind their designs, so BoxBox has features for that.The hope is that this will ease communications between designers and developers. Other priorities are features for reusable components, responsive design, and the ability to enforce consistent styles across boxes. BoxBox isn’t finished yet, but you can sign up to get early access.
- Quill: Quill is intended as an addition to, or even replacement for, the napkin, notebook or whiteboard; the tools used to share design ideas when we’re away from our desks. It’s a mobile app designed for collaborative wire framing and sketching that makes it easy to share and communicate with your team. There are chat boards for exchanging ideas, presence indicators so you can see whose looking right now, and it integrates nicely with tools such as Slack, DropBox and Google Drive.
- Blur Like Jony: This Photoshop plug-in recreates the blur effect seen in the current version of iOS. Comes with three modes: dark, light and extra light.
- Folio: Khoi Vinh’s recent design tools surveyrevealed that a huge number of designers don’t have an elegant way to do version control. Folio hopefully goes some way towards solving that. It’s a simple, Git-based version control system for OS X that makes it easy to keep track of things via a sleek browser.
- Flip: FLIF, or Free Lossless Image Format, is quite exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, according to the FLIF website, it produces smaller files than other formats. FLIFs are 35 per cent than typical PNGs, and 37 per cent smaller than files made with lossless JPEG 2000 compression. Another major boon is that it works with any image type; end users don’t need to know that PNGs are better for images with a lot of lines, and JPEGs better for photographs. FLIF works just as well no matter what the content of the image, so we’re told. It’s also good for responsive design because multiple variations of an image can be loaded from the same source file. In addition to all this, FLIF is free; there are no patents and it’s released under the GNU General Public License.
- End the Echo: Plenty of people are getting a bit bored with the sameness of many websites at the moment, and this site is seeking to do something about it. The idea is this: if we’re all looking at the same sites for inspiration, no one’s going to create anything new. End the Echo dishes up a variety of images that hopefully will be inspirational to people trying to think up ideas for websites, such as buttons and interfaces that aren’t screens, images with interesting colour and composition, cars, wind turbines and more. Each has a description explaining how the curator relates the image to a principle of web design, which hopefully will trigger an interesting train of thought.
- Cursorio: Some of us keep transparent PNGs of cursors; others do a Google search each time one is needed. Bookmark Cursorio and such inconveniences are a thing of the past – it provides four different cursors that you can drag and drop into your Photoshop layout.