For today’s article we have a contribution from one of Azmind’s readers, where we’ll see some interesting software and applications which you can use if you are a freelancer or have your own design agency.
Some of them are pretty popular, but I hope that in this collection you’ll find something you haven’t heard of, that you can use right away to improve your business operations.
Considering the sea of endless products, navigating the internet for the best web design software options can be a drag. Only several years ago, small business design options were comparatively limited. It was also frustrating since anything involving any degree of complication needed to be done by a specialized web designer or coder.
In recent times, technological innovation has served to democratize designing capabilities and make them more available to the layman.
There are also usually inexpensive options, as opposed to being restricted to the sometimes expensive industry standards. Below, we will explore the new face of business software, and see what works best for you.
Modernized Website Creation
For smaller and mid-size businesses, there are many options for aspects of web design that once needed to be exported to a professional site designer.
For example, free website builders like Wix allow you to quickly and easily set up a site that also looks good. This gives you the ability to design your website in line with your vision of your company with no middlemen in between.
WordPress is another popular option for self-starters. Currently, WordPress is used on approximately 31% of all existing websites. Compared with Wix, there is a slightly bigger learning curve, but there are also plenty of tutorials to be found with a quick Google search or two.
Operational Analytics Platform
Implementing this software allows you to see analytics of all business operations in real-time. This translates into improved operations, customer satisfaction (which leads to increased profitability), and security.
When you have all machine data localized in one place, you can easily spot problem areas in workflow.
At one point or another, you’re likely going to find yourself in a scenario that requires editing an image or photo. Image-editing technology has also benefited from the explosion of inexpensive or free technology that empowers those with a vision.
While Photoshop need not be the software you end up using, it still deserves an honorable mention due to its status as the market leader in its class. Photoshop rose to fame due to its versatility and incredibly detailed customization optionality.
While its customizable nature allows for limitless choices, it also requires more design skill and knowledge than some of the other simpler tools. However, Photoshop is not nearly as easy on the wallet as some other options.
If you are looking for a less expensive Photoshop alternative, many have turned to Gimp. This software may have less features than Photoshop, but chances are that it can still get the job done, and best of all: it’s free. All but the absolute most specific design projects can be handled with Gimp.
For those at an earlier stage in their web development, wireframing is a great way to brainstorm potential layouts. Wireframing involves visualizing the skeletal framework of a website. For some people, this can be a great way to flesh out the user experience when using your site.
Balsamiq is one of the most highly-regarded examples of wireframing software. At the moment, it offers a fully functional trial for 30 days, after which point you will need to purchase a license to continue using it.
The company charges you based on the amount of “spaces” or projects that you are creating, ranging from 2 projects at $9 per month, to 200 projects for $199 a month.
It’s hard to imagine creating a web site and then not needing to tweak any coding in the aftermath. This is where software like Sublime Text comes in. With syntax highlighting and auto-completion of common commands and phrases, it has everything a code editing emergency calls for.
It can be downloaded and used in a limited capacity for free, but for the true experience, you need to purchase a license for a one-time cost of $70.
Google Chrome took on the monumental task of competing with browser giants like Firefox and Safari. Thanks to the ingenuity at Google, they actually succeeded, however, there’s a lot about Chrome that goes unnoticed or otherwise taken for granted by the average user.
One such example is Chrome DevTools, which can be brought up in the browser with a few simple keystrokes:
- On Mac: Cmd + Opt + i
- On Windows: Ctrl + Shift + i
Pressing these keys will bring up the page’s element structure, the JS console, sources, a network simulator and more. In addition, you can simulate how the page will behave on a mobile platform, which can expedite your mobile design process.
Project Management Software
Success is impossible if you do not plan effectively or define the parameters. This is where project management software comes in. Since precision matters when defining the terms of future success, project management software allows you to lay out your plans for the future, evaluate past performances, and get everyone in the workforce on the same page.
There are now desktop, mobile, or web-based options for project management. As the technology continues to improve, more options continue to be made, allowing for further tailoring to your specific business model.
Scheduling, cost control, budgeting, and resource allocation should all be taken into account when planning for the business of your future.
That’s all for today! We hope that you’ll check out some of these programs and apps and find them useful for your design business.
If you have any question, suggestion or you want to let us know your experience with any of them, feel free to leave a comment below.