7 Essential Tools Every Website Designer Needs
(and Why)

Web development tools are abundant on the internet. Software developers are constantly creating new tools to meet the ever-growing demands in the web design space. Many of these tools are fun, but a handful are essential.

If you’re a website designer, you need the following 7 software applications in your designer toolbox.

1. Photoshop for graphic design

There are countless graphic design programs on the market, both free and paid. To put it simply, professional designers need Photoshop.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using a free program like Gimp, it’s less than ideal for professionals who need access to advanced features. Not yet convinced? In an article published to PCWorld, an experienced tech journalist makes the case for Photoshop beginning with comparing the selection tools. Right off the bat, Photoshop offers more selection tools than Gimp and those tools are more precise.

Gimp is a decent program and is extremely well made for free software if you don’t need to create graphics beyond the basics. However, Photoshop is the industry standard for a reason. The only way to get Photoshop today is through a subscription, but it’s worth the cost.

2. Figma for interface design

Figma is a powerful interface design tool that helps web designers go from idea to product faster. It does this by allowing everyone in your team to collaborate in real-time via its web-based design tool. This is very effective when you have multiple stakeholders in the project that are involved in shaping the outcome.

Fast growing in popularity, Figma provides an easy-to-use, vector-based interface that makes designing websites beautifully simple. Anything you can do with Sketch or Adobe XD, you can also do with Figma.

What’s more, Figma is available in the browser, or on Windows, Mac or Linux, and there are both free and paid versions depending on what you need to use it for.

3. Color scheme generators

Every designer needs at least one good color scheme selection tool. Nailing the perfect color scheme without a color scheme generator is tricky. Even with a generator, it takes effort to find the right color combinations.

The best tool for the job is the Coolors online color scheme generator. Just press the spacebar to generate new colors, click the lock icon to lock preferred colors in place, and keep pressing the spacebar to generate more colors until you find your perfect combination.

4. Userback to generate design feedback

Improving the UX/UI of a website requires getting actionable feedback. When you’re in the development phase, that feedback comes from your clients which can often be tricky. When left to give feedback on their own, most client feedback isn’t actionable.

Clients will tell you what they love and what they hate, but unstructured feedback is rarely helpful. If you can’t see what your client sees, it’s even harder to understand exactly what they’re pointing out.

Userback makes it easy for clients to provide specific, actionable feedback that you can use to move the project forward. Your clients can provide feedback in video form and with annotated screenshots so you can see exactly what they see.

Collecting, processing, and trying to understand client feedback takes a significant amount of time. Speed up your projects with the on-site feedback system from Userback.

5. Teamwork for managing creative projects

Teamwork is a powerful task management solution for creative teams with everything you need to keep your projects on track from planning right through to delivery.

Whether you’re working alone, with a single programmer, or with an entire team, project management software is a must. You need a central hub where everyone on the team can review their daily tasks to stay on target.

You can also invite clients to use project management software to assign them deliverables like providing content and feedback. Never leave anything up in the air. All tasks should be visible to all team members to keep the project rolling forward at a good pace.

6. Team collaboration software

Related to project management is team collaboration software. Although some applications combine both, many don’t. If your task management system doesn’t facilitate collaboration, you need a separate tool for collaboration.

There are many collaborative tools on the market, but the top ones are Slack and Microsoft Teams. For designers and programmers, Slack facilitates multiple, separate conversations using channels. Separating conversations is critical for keeping track of client requests and the status of project components.

7. Professional invoicing software

If you’re self-employed, which includes freelancers, you need professional invoicing software like Xero to get paid on time and in full. When you’re self-employed, clients tend to put your invoices on the back burner.

As a result of being deprioritized, most freelance website designers don’t get paid on time and their clients rack up bills in the thousands. Professional invoicing software combined with following a set of strict invoicing rules can flip that around and get you paid on time. For example, invoices under $1,660 are paid 11 days faster than invoices with a higher amount due. It’s recommended that you split your invoices up and send multiple invoices a couple weeks apart.

Your invoicing software should also include a link that allows your client to pay their bill immediately. Clients tend to put off making payments when they need to log into their online bill payment account, copy and paste your email address, and manually make their payment.

Add Userback to your designer toolbox

As a designer, you need access to high quality applications that support you in delivering unquestionable value to your clients. Your ability to deliver a quality project depends on how well you incorporate client feedback into each development phase. It’s hard to implement client feedback without a proven system for collecting useful feedback. Userback solves this dilemma. For ideal project outcomes, try Userback risk-free to collect insightful, actionable feedback from your clients.

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