Creating a website is a big job. Creating a website to a client's specifications without sacrificing performance and style is even tougher. Often, it requires hours of work and quite a few back and forth conversations about what exactly needs to go where, and how it needs to be put together. Fortunately, there are a ton of web tools out there for designers to use that can make designing particular kinds of websites much easier. The growing need for responsive websites has led to the development and sharing of many tools between designers themselves, that can ease the burden of a lot of design problems. This article is an introduction to some useful tools that designers should look into to help make their websites more responsive. This list is by no means complete – it's an introduction to some of the better-known tools out there.
InterfaceSketch is a deceptively basic tool. It appeals to designers who prefer to do preliminary mockups with a pencil and paper, rather than on a computer. InterfaceSketch allows you to print out any number of PDF website templates and then doodle on them to your heart's content. It's a really good way to start getting a visual basis for what you want a website to look like.
Responsive Wireframes takes the idea of InterfaceSketch a little bit further, and a little bit more digital. It is a tool that allows you to plot out a website using what they call wireframes, which are blocks of content that are normally static. However, Responsive Wireframes are, as the name suggests, responsive and allow multiple usage for multiple screen sizes and dynamic content.
CSS stands for Cascading Sheet Styles. It's a formatting and language type used to describe the look and formatting of a document. In particular, it's used to change the style of websites and user interfaces written in HTML and XHTML formats. Pure CSS is a sleek set of CSS modules designed specifically to be used with mobile development.
Macaw advertises itself as a web design tool rather than a web development tool and uses the tagline, “Stop writing code; start drawing it.” Macaw works as an all-in-one web design platform that features a whole slew of easy-to-use features that give designers more free reign to work without necessarily understanding a lot of coding or formatting that's usually required to design a website.
Mobile devices are hotter now than they've ever been before. Smartphone usage is through the roof and most web developers are still racing to catch up. Fortunately, there are tools out there like Adaptive Images, which catch a user's screen size and automatically delivers appropriately re-scaled images to the user without any hassle on the part of the designer. It's a great tool with a very timely usage in today's increasingly mobile development landscape. Please share any other interesting tools for creating a responsive website in the comments below.