Web development and design tools

 
Our developers and graphic designers are always poking around the internet looking for tools that can make our jobs easier, or seeking inspiration for projects and ideas. As a result, I wanted to tell you about a few tools for designers and developers that are worth looking into.

This is not a “you should use these tools because we use them, and they are awesome” article because I haven’t used them—I’ve just discovered them. However, I believe they may very well make our jobs easier. All that said, here goes nothing:


CSS Hat

CSS Hat takes a graphic designer’s Photoshop layers and converts them into CSS instantly for use in a website layout. This tool could make a site much quicker to build out for a front-end developer because it doesn’t need to be coded from scratch. It also lets you create buttons and other elements without using images. In a “Web 2.0” world using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, you can do quite a bit now without having to use images.


PNG Hat

PNG Hat is another tool that will make the front-end of your site build out faster. This tool exports Photoshop layers to PNGs. From there, you can create your website with ease. This could save you a good amount of money as a company, too. If your designers send over a folder of PNG files, the developers are spending less time cutting, slicing, and cropping in Photoshop and more time making it look good on screen.


Macaw

Macaw is a very advanced WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) front-end web design tool. It’s a brand new program and is currently on pre-order. I was curious how well the software could put together a site, so I ran Macaw’s site through the W3C validator, which verifies the code on a website. Only two errors appeared, both of which were very minor. That’s quite impressive. Few sites out there pass W3C validation, but it is getting more and more important—not only so your site displays beautifully in browsers, but also because search engines are starting to look at validated markup when ranking websites.


These are all great tools for building websites. However, keep in mind that the way your users interact with your website is just as important, if not more so. Sure, you can throw something into Photoshop and use these tools to cut it up and make it look decent, but you’re much better off having a team of professionals designing and building your website for you. Your developers should be people who understand industry standards, what “looks good” to your clients, and how your website should flow so users can get the most out of it.

We’re happy to help you get started. Leave a comment below with your thoughts or questions, or shoot us an email.