Design is more than icing on the cake for a successful website. Great website design is aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, it adds value to your content, brand, and the SEO work that you do. No matter what type of website you have, two of the most important purposes of your design are to create a functional website and enhance user experience.
Great designs don’t always have to come with a hefty bill. There are many digital art programs and applications that do great jobs without the big price tags. Good things are made for sharing, and we have gathered the following awesome tools that can help you build an effective and visually pleasing website.
#1. Adobe Photoshop
From professional photo touchups, to print designs, Photoshop already has a strong reputation with designers of all mediums. Why are so may web and graphic designers become devoted Photoshop users? Because Photoshop is not only one of the most powerful photo and image editing tool, it is also a versatile canvas that allows the user to create an entire website from scratch.
With its ability to seamlessly work with other Adobe Creative Cloud suites like Illustrator and Muse (Adobe’s latest web design program), Photoshop can quickly wireframe web design ideas into visual mock-ups. Designers can then easily pass a Photoshop file to a developer to code it into a functional, responsive website.
Check out Adobe’s 8-step guide on how to create a responsive web design with Photoshop.
#2. Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is also part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. It is the perfect tool for creating vector image files such as icons, logos, web fonts, and buttons. Vector images are imperative to web design because they can be scaled up or down without looking pixelated (Learn more about different image formats for web design (artile#033) ).
Illustrator outputs crisp vector graphics with clean and sharp outlines. The program also allows users to create perfectly aligned graphics by providing advanced web graphic options such as aligning objects to pixel grid. This is extremely helpful for wire-framing because it lets developers accurately code the design into a live website.
You can get professionally taught graphic design lessons and learn everything about Adobe Illustrator through the self-learning platform Lynda (a LinkedIn Company).
Having large image file sizes can significantly slow down your website loading speed. A slow-loading website equals to high bounce rate, which means visitors leave without taking any action on your webpage. High bounce rate is one of the most negative metrics that affects your website’s ability to convert leads or sales. By reducing image file size, you can speed up webpages and drive traffic more efficiently to your website.
ImageRecycle is an image optimizer that compresses images to make them smaller in file size without compromising too much image quality. It works with JPEG, GIF, PNG and PDF files. According to ImageRecycle, it can compress images up to 74%, as well as increase image loading speed up to 3 times faster without noticeable quality loss. (Learn more about different image files and how to best format them for web designs.)
If you are looking for a money-saving alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro, Movavi Video Suite is a great option you can download for free.
Movavi’s intuitive video editing features allow anyone to create professional videos in 5 easy steps without technical skills. You have the option to make a video from more than 180 different video file formats, or you can choose to piece together images to create a slideshow.
Enhance the video by stabilizing shaky shots and adjusting color settings. In addition, you can choose from more than 60 stunning visual effects, and add pre-made music available through the software. You can even add background, record voiceover, and insert captions with a few clicks.
#5. VideoScribe (by Sparkol)
VideoScribe is a handy whiteboard drawing tool that creates videos of hand-drawn art from images. You don’t actually need to draw anything, just simply upload or choose images from the library, and the tool will draw everything out for you. You can even add text, royalty-free images and music to turn any presentation into engaging mini-movies.
See VideoScribe’s demo whiteboard drawing video.
What we like best about VideoScribe is its easy-to-use interface. You don’t need to read a manual to understand how it works. Just drag and drop to place objects, type in text, and add music or record voiceover right inside the software. It also comes with cloud storage, so you can easily access the tool and create videos from any device, anywhere, and at any time.
This is one of the most fun and affordable animation makers we’ve seen. You can make full HD videos from Animaker’s online platform without any art or technical skills.
Making animation is simple to do with the Animaker’s resourceful library. Choose from hundreds of characters, props, scenes, maps, icons and charts. Then, select pre-build text, music, sound effects, or import your own images and audios. Straight forward drag-and-drop function lets you create fully animated videos in minutes. You can also access your videos through cloud storage and work from any device.
Best of all, the basic account is free! If you want custom branded, unlimited videos with full commercial rights, opt for the Business Plan.
You can get started with Infogr.am for free. It is a data visualization tool that intuitively creates beautiful, interactive charts and graphs.
You can make memorable and visually attractive data presentation with Infogr.am’s premade themes and designs. Here are examples of charts and graphs created through Infogr.am.
Start by simply importing data from Excel files, cloud storages, or even straight from Google Analytics. Choose from hundreds of visualizations and colors, or customize it to match your company’s theme. Use Infogr.am’s data editor to include titles or messages to make charts engaging. Visual effects allow viewers to compare the difference in data with animated transitions.
You can embed the interactive charts directly into your webpages without having it hosted on your own website. If you choose to self-host the charts and graphs, you have the option to export them as image files, PDF documents, or HTML files.