Top Web Design Tools in 2022
It’s become easier than ever for anyone to design a basic website, but a majority of organizations still look to a professional web designer to craft their online presence. For budding designers, mastering the tools and techniques of building a website from the ground up is a great way to stand out and ensure you’re up to any task assigned. Read on to learn more about the best and most popular tools to keep any website looking great and running smoothly.
What are Web Design Tools?
Before we dive into the functionality of different tools, make sure you’re familiar with the different career paths and responsibilities available to a web designer or developer. We’ve broken down for you the primary difference between UX and UI design and the core requirements and skills to know.
With that in mind, choosing the right web design tool is a matter of understanding the desired outcome of your project. Some tools are strictly for those with a background in back-end development and allow the user to build a site line by line with code. For the less technically-inclined, some tools allow you to construct pages by dragging and dropping different elements.Still other applications are primarily utilized by graphic designers to add visual flourishes and artistic elements. Below, we’ve noted the primary functionality of each tool, and while all these serve a general design purpose, it’s worth looking into specialized software tools for ecommerce, HTML sites, advanced graphic design and more as you continue your career.
The uniting factor between all the tools we’ve listed below is their popularity and widespread use across the web design and development industry. Many of them are taught in a variety of UX/UI bootcamps and utilized as industry standards across the profession. This list will provide an overview of the different prices, functionality and use cases of ten of the most commonly used. Be sure to have the desired outcome in mind when deciding between any given tool or software.
|WordPress||Software is FREE but must purchase through a web hosting plan||Content Management System & no-code website builder||-Easy to Install and Use|
-Pre-built Templates available
-Large variety of third-party plugins
|-Some site Themes are slow to load|
-Open source platform makes it vulnerable to security threats
|Figma||FREE Starter Plan and $12/Month and $45/Month plans for additional features/users||Cloud-Based Collaborative Interface Design Tool||-Real-Time Collaboration and Easy File Sharing|
-Large library of user uploaded templates and third party plugins
-”All-in-One” tool (design, prototype and code)
|-Only works over the internet|
-Requires 4GB of RAM and an Intel HD 3000 (or similar) Graphic Card
-Advanced design tools only accessible with paid plan
|Sketch||$99/Year Standard Plan for single editor||Mac-based vector graphics editor for Digital Design||-Can create reusable UI assets|
-Easily export clickable prototypes
-Large template and plugin library
|-Only native to Mac OS|
-No ability to create 3D models
-Not easy to create collaboratively
|Adobe Dreamweaver||$20.99/Month individually, or available in multiple Adobe Creative Cloud Packages||Web Development Software with Visual Editing and HTML Editing Support||- Easy for Coding Beginners to use|
-Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud Products
-Supports static or responsive web page design
|-Not browser based, somewhat difficult to see live designs|
-Automatic coding options not specific for custom designs
-Interface can be confusing
|Invision Studio||FREE base plan or $7.95/Month Pro plan||Web-Based Prototyping Design Tool||-Fast prototyping and ability to comment in app|
-Freehand collaborative digital whiteboard
-Simple and intuitive interface
|-Fewer “all-in-one” capabilities than competing products|
-Some syncing issues
-Web-based tool uses large amount of in-browser resources
Top 5 Web Design and UX/UI Tools and Products
WordPress is an open-source software someone at any level of expertise can use to design a website, blog or app. The company claims 41 percent of sites are built with their tool, including major brands like Sony, Adobe and Vogue. A variety of free and premium web templates exist that can have a site looking professional in minutes, or you can drag and drop different elements into a custom framework. Additionally, WordPress offers functionality with over 55,000 third-party plugins that can add customization features the core site is lacking. Sites built with wordpress integrate well with mobile viewing and social media, and pages come “SEO ready” for Google indexing. WordPress functions as a content management system, so it is a great solution if your site is predominantly text-heavy pages, or you’re looking to get online quickly and don’t have a coding background.
Figma is a cloud-based interface design tool that allows team members to work together on a file in real-time. The collaborative nature of the software makes it stand out amongst similar products and similar to the Google Suite of products, an auto-save feature ensures you can never lose your work as you go. Auto layouts and an asset library give developers a base to work off of, and the “all-in-one” nature of the tool provides a solution for the entire product design workflow from prototyping to launch. Major brands like Twitter, Zoom and Slack use Figma, and similar to WordPress, you can find a large variety of plugins for additional functionality. For quick and easy file sharing, and cloud-based remote collaboration, Figma might be the tool for you.
Sketch is another “digital design toolkit” primarily used for vector-based UI designs. Developers like the tool for its ability to create reusable UI assets and elements and export designs into a clickable prototype. Since its release in 2010, the developer community has created hundreds of thousands of downloadable templates, community-sourced solutions and third-party plugins that work with the tool. Like its’ competitor Figma, Sketch has recently introduced real-time collaboration and a “smart layout” feature that automatically resizes elements in a design. Sketch is primarily available as a native Mac app, and the web version has limited functionality to PC users.
If you need to get an HTML website up and running, but you don’t have an extensive knowledge of coding, Adobe Dreamweaver is probably the right product for you. This simplified coding engine works through a mix of visual editing and HTML editing and allows you to build a site from scratch or a pre-existing template. Developers like the built-in git support and code hints when constructing HTML assets like emails, eCommerce sites and blogs. The beginner-friendly tool supports static stand-alone sites and landing pages, as well as responsive designs optimized for both mobile and desktop. For more advanced developers, Dreamweaver offers additional features like multi-monitor support, integration with Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) and CSS grids and a built-in FTP client. As a member of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of products, Dreamweaver tightly integrates with other company products like Photoshop and is available for purchase as a bundle deal.
Invision is a UI tool that takes web developers through the entire design process from brainstorming to finished product. The innovative Freehand tools creates a digital whiteboard that allows team members to remotely collaborate in real-time and quickly mock up design ideas. The rapid prototyping feature means builds for multiple devices are ready in minutes without any code and the software supports collecting feedback comments directly in the prototype. For creatively-minded designers, the product supports unique visual elements, smart-swipe transitions and animation features, that will set any site apart from the pack. If you’re working with a team, Invision’s Design System Management platform makes it easy to document and connect workflows of back-end coders and graphic artists all working towards the finished product. Some of Invision’s more noteworthy users include Spotify, Amazon and Netflix.
Learning UX/UI and Web Design
This article is just a starting point for the hundreds of products and softwares available to UX/UI designers and developers. Overall, each of the above tools brings strengths and weaknesses to the table. Your individual use case might be influenced not only by the problem you wish to solve but also by factors like personal visualization preferences, client requests, the need for real-time views and pricing. If you’re interested in learning more about web design tools or the design and development field, be sure to browse our UX/UI bootcamps listings!