Web design and development landscape has changed quite a lot in the last ten years. This is mostly due to the fact that many new development tools were created and many of them free. Gone are the days when you had to pay your developer a pretty penny to get a nice website up and running. Today, many web designers and even novice users are gradually turning to free apps that enable them to create amazing websites. Take a look at these useful cloud apps and find out how they can help you with designing your own high-quality site for free.
Every line of work needs a place where people of the same profession can meet to exchange ideas, look for some advice and share their experiences. For web designers, that place is definitely Forrst. Rarely any web designer works in a complete isolation, so from time to time you will need some help or a suggestion from a peer. Forrst is a cloud app that is, in a way, a social network for web designers where they can put codes or snippets or a constructive comment and find an inspiration. Even though it isn’t easy to get access to this app, it will be worth the trouble.
This is another great app for cooperation and constructive communication that will help you get the best out of your site. Think of it as an enormous electronic market of codes and markup snippets. It is even more attractive as it is available in almost every language on the web and can be easily searched for fragments of code that you need, as all the snippets are tagged. It is also possible to leave comments on the existing snippets. In short, Snipplr is a destination where you can find quick and simple solutions for your site.
GridFox is still one of the most popular plugins among web designers, and its popularity is justified. The reason why so many designers are constantly coming back to Firefox browser is that it is loaded with useful plugins that can simplify your work, and one of them is this gem. How does it work? Well, you just click a button and GridFox will lay a semi-transparent grid over any page, together with a guide, so you can play with the components of your layout, changing their dimensions and place, as well as come up with completely original designs.
Every high-quality project needs a good planned out structure first. Designing a website is not an exception. That is where Jumpchart comes to the aid. In essence, it enables you to make a clear layout of your site in general. This is not about the looks and organization of each and every page of your site, but about the overall structure planning. You can sign up on Jumpchart free of charge and organize the content in a hierarchical and meaningful way. This useful tool makes it easier for you to continue on building up the site as you create individual pages.
This is an extremely useful tool for anybody who needs to wireframe their idea of a new website and then maybe to share it with other designers. Mockflow is an excellent choice in that case. It is extremely adaptable, as it can be accessed from almost any platform, it functions while offline and includes cool supporting collaboration tools such as Team Chat. It also has other perks, such as CSS grids, so you can organize the layout, and a huge library of website wireframes, icons and stickers for mockups.
The influence of colors should not be neglected in a line of work such as web designing. Adobe Kuler is something new in the area of graphic design. It is a tool that allows you to combine various color schemes in any way you like. Its configuration options will create wonders with colors, just go along and play with it. Any palette that you make can also be shared to Adobe apps. It is a leading tool in creating graphic tricks, so include it in your list of must-have cloud apps.
Whatever you do or create, you should always test it first before you use it further in your work.CSS Desk is a real time development tool that allows you to check on your markup function prior to its implementation. You can play with the background of the preview pane or hide the HTML and CSS codes, so that you get maximal viewing size. One of the advantages of CSS is that there is no need to use Flash or huge image files in order to have excellent graphics or layouts. Another thing is that anything you design in CSS is compatible with other browsers.
The last, but not the least useful cloud app here, Dropbox is a ubiquitous tool on the web, as it is used for numerous types of web development by different kinds of designers. It is a great app for sharing files and it continues to expand storage space even for users who don’t pay for the service, their storage space going even up to 18 GB if they recommend Dropbox to their friends. Even if you ignore its main purpose, as well as its sync capability, Dropbox can still be of great help when it comes to peer cooperation and exchanging projects. And the paying customers have something to look forward to – their space storage has recently been doubled.
The great thing about these cloud apps is that they are being improved and upgraded even now while you are reading this. Their use is expanding every day among web designers, so it’s important to keep up with the trends. Not only are they popular and useful, but most of them are free, and even if you have to pay for the service, they usually come at a reasonable price. And the possibilities they provide are definitely superb.
Author bio: Sam Cyrus is CEO and co-founder of Agseosydney, a Web Marketing Consulting Agency. Sam is also a creative writer and his interests include entrepreneurship, business, online marketing, SEO and social media.