Staying on top in any field requires keeping one’s finger on the pulse. In the world of web design, more and more that means being able to design websites that make the best use of all the features that WordPress offers, and being able to do it quickly. In fact, recent research indicates that close to 50% of the most viewed blogs are utilizing WordPress. Following are 4 resources that can help you design sites that are modern, sleek, and effectual.
1. Adobe Kuler
One product that can really enhance the design process is Adobe Kuler. Essentially, it’s a color tool, but it’s the extras included in it that really make it an incredible resource for designers. Its simple UI allows users to quickly put together themes based around specific colors.
Yet, Kuler takes it even further. One of the best features is its color extraction tool that allows you to upload a photograph and then produce a color theme based on the results. It’s a boon whether you’re trying to produce a site based around photographs that your client has specified for inclusion or if you’re just looking for inspiration. You can also browse color themes added by other users for extra inspiration. All in all, Kuler takes a process that used to be exceedingly tiresome and makes the experience fun.
An essential aspect of web design is actually something a bit intangible. Inspiration. When you are feeling uninspired, your work will suffer, so it’s essential to find resources that will keep your creative well full of new ideas. One such resource is Designspiration, a site dedicated to “viewing design related inspiration.”
In order to join the site, you have to upload a portfolio and be approved by the sites moderators, which helps keep the site’s content up to a professional par. Once you become a member, the site lets you share images, websites, fonts, etc. that inspire you and also scroll through inspirational pieces that were uploaded by others. You can even search through the collections by colors or tags if you’re looking for something specific. It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
3. Photo Lightbox
One new tool offered by Shutterstock is the Photo Lightbox. Essentially, the feature allows you to act as a curator, culling through the extensive assortment of Shutterstock’s photo category, and collecting the ones that you like.
The Lightbox allows you to group those together in inspiration categories, which is helpful to get a visual idea about how different elements might blend together on a project. The best part is that Photo Lightboxes are easily shared, which means you don’t have to just explain something to a collaborator or a client, you can actually give them a visual depiction of your concept. It’s a great tool for gathering inspiration and keeping it organized into detailed groups.
4. WordPress Guide
Simply Business has put together this interactive WordPress guide for small businesses that walks the reader through the website design process. It outlines each step and offers how-to and resources for any step that the reader might need outlined more fully or explained. Not only can it be a great way for more seasoned designers to make certain they’re being thorough in the design process and hitting each milestone, it’s also a great resource for clients. When clients have a better understanding of the process, they are a lot more realistic in their expectations for deliverables.