New Free and Paid Software for Website Design
Web design is the field that feeds innovative and easy-to-use websites to the whole Internet industry. However, this field can be prohibitively expensive to enter, with design sets and program kits costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars a pop. It makes sense, then, to stay updated on the current developments in the software market for new editions of design software with greater functionality, lower prices and improved interfaces.
Adding depth to images usually requires the use of expensive equipment when done “in the wild,” but the same effects can be achieved with some CSS3 magic. This will replicate the tilt-shift effect using a jQuery plugin called tiltShift.js1. This will enable better presentation of smaller images and attention-grabbing highlighting on the website. Unfortunately, it is supported only by Google Chrome and Safari 6 at this time.
Presentations are a challenging craft, even when done by a professional using the latest version of Microsoft Office Suite. That is where rvl.io2 comes in handy, with its huge number of animations and editing options. The interface works with reveal.js for a smoother creation process and enables exporting files to PDF. As with tiltShift.js, it is completely free.
The next web-design aiding, costs-nothing program is Moqups4. It focuses on creating a working model of user interface concepts, or wireframes, in order to be able to develop the most useful, intuitive and well-accepted interface. Naturally, all of its elements are completely editable and can be very easily personalized.
Continuing with the free approach, Processing 2.05 is quite able to visualize data in eye-catching and easy to read ways. The first installment came out a decade ago, and with time, the interface has gathered a following of web designers. Based on Processing.js as its interface, the data visualization kit comes with a handful of tutorials and beginner guides.
Monitoring the performance of websites constantly is part of successful web design and website management. This process can be fully optimized with StatusCake6, which checks websites regularly (perhaps every 5 minutes) and sends a status report. StatusCake can even keep records of the website’s performance for later analysis, as well as send text messages when things go haywire.
Getting on to the paid/limited functionality software, FluidUI7 gives you the ability to visualize and simulate how an app will look on certain mobile devices. The interface has device-specific libraries for a more realistic view. The drag and drop interface is accompanied by multiple device screens and interactivity. For developers with only one project at a time, the software is completely free.
Undoubtedly, the most important release in the past few months has been Microsoft’s WebMatrix 2, which is completely free for web developers8. It is fully packed with functionality and boasts an interface that is pleasant to work with. It has abundant libraries with project examples and ready-made elements so easier .NET projects will be a breeze. Naturally, there will be a few bugs here and there, but overall, it’s fantastic.