Web design is a rather assiduous thing. It requires inspiration, persistence, and a lot of skill. Current market conditions dictate that businesses need to have some type of online presence. While some small companies decide to use only social media pages, if you want to be successful on the web and have a robust online following, launching a company website is an absolute necessity. It is your business card that tells your potential customers everything you want them to know and encourage them to work with you.
Of course, the best way to get a proper website is by letting professionals deal with its development, design, and launch. There are many web design agencies out there today, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if the agency you are thinking about hiring can provide you with the services you need. And while you can create multiple checklists, inquire about the company’s experience and ask for contacts of its previous clients to get some objective feedback, the best way to understand what a web design agency does and how it is is by knowing what tools they use.
This article features five of the most popular web design and development tools often used by web design agencies. It is in no way a comprehensive list, but it will give you an idea of what web design companies require to create great websites.
Professional Web Design Tool #1. Adobe Dreamweaver CC
Adobe Dreamweaver has been around for quite a while and is considered by specialists as one of the most effective and feature-rich tools for web design. It is particularly important for its availability to users that can’t code. Dreamweaver provides an HTML/visual editing feature set, which makes it simple and understandable even for beginners. This tool allows web design companies to train new employees, who are eyeing a web designer’s position. Dreamweaver allows for the creation of unique websites with unique sets of features, designs, mechanics, etc.
The tool also supports responsive design. This tool is essential because you want your company website to display correctly on all platforms – both desktop and mobile. And this is what responsive design means – whatever device the visitor uses to see your website, they can view it properly with adequately sized images, fonts, links, etc.
Since Dreamweaver is more about creating unique websites and avoiding customized templates, it may cost you more - it requires more effort, time, tinkering with details, and making sure everything blends in and works together. So, if you can dedicate a nice chunk of your budget on your website’s design and be unique in the market, outpacing your competitors, you may want to pay particular attention to the web design agency that uses this tool.
Professional Web Design Tool #2. Bluefish
Not all reputable web design agencies necessarily use expensive tools. Some manage to create great things, using some of the most straightforward means. Bluefish, with its 53MB installer, is rightfully considered one of the simplest web design tools available today. One thing for sure, when you run across a company that designs sites using Bluefish, this means it has some severe hardcore programmers working in the team. The tool features a simple text-only interface that works with several user-adjustable menus, syntax highlighting and clear-cut toolbars that make it easier to get around for new users.
Moreover, Bluefish’s search feature allows web designers to find text across multiple projects they’re working on. Web design agencies usually work on more than just one project, and their teams write incredible amounts of code everyday. So, when they need to find some particular part of the system, they don’t need to look through each project separately, but instead, run the search feature when using Bluefish. This tool helps to optimize the problem-solving process and can affect the speed of your website’s completion.
Also, if you hired a company designing in Bluefish and your site has already been launched, maybe you’ve discovered some unexpected flaws. The good news is, the agency’s employee can come to your office, load Bluefish on your computer, and make all the needed corrections right there. The thing is that this tool allows working with remote files, so there’s no need to wait for the designer to find the flaw on their end and then work on it.
If you want to work with a web design agency that can dig deeper and make sure that your site has a picture-perfect code, hiring someone using Bluefish is the right decision.
Professional Web Design Tool #3. Atom Text Editor
Speaking of more straightforward web design tools, Atom Text Editor is rightfully considered a somewhat useful and convenient option. Companies that use this tool appreciate its simplicity and optimized developer tools. Agencies using Atom can add features from GitHub, which is the Holy Grail for modern programmers.
Speed is crucial in the web design process. Atom allows optimizing the design process with some of its principal features, such as the ability to drag and drop new files into the project, visual interface, and a fair amount of coding that doesn’t require hardcore programming skills and experience. Agencies that use this tool tend to create custom websites with a high level of user experience. However, depending on your needs, you can ask the agency to use third-party templates, add-ons and design based on them (this could also reduce the final cost of your site).
Professional Web Design Tool #4. Webflow
Webflow is a cloud-based web design tool. Teams that use Webflow for projects can work pretty anywhere in the world. This tool is a massive advantage for both the team and your company, especially if the agency is often on the move, visiting various conferences, and globe trotting.
Webflow is also widely regarded as one of the gate-way web design tools for beginners. If you have enough time, you can learn to use it and start creating websites on your own even if you know nothing about coding. It features a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows users to add images, texts, and all the other necessary elements right onto a web page. The tool has several free templates, which significantly enhances the design process.
One particular advantage of Webflow is that even though it doesn’t involve hardcore coding, the resulting code is always clean. So, once again, all the fixes and changes are going to be quick and painless.
However, if you need an e-commerce site, an agency primarily working with Webflow might not be the best option for you. This tool lacks crucial plugins and marketing tools for e-commerce sites. That is, you would be better looking for another agency in this case.
Professional Web Design Tool #5. WordPress
Last but not least is WordPress. Even if you haven’t been dealing with website creation, design, and launch previously, you’ve definitely heard about WordPress. So many sites on the web run on WordPress. However, it’s not a web design or web development tool. It is a content management system (CMS).
Agencies that use WordPress for website creation will charge less than those using other, more ‘hardcore’ design tools. The thing is that this CMS allows for quick website creation options based on templates. Some web hosting services even feature one-click installs in their control panels!
So, if you want to get a new website up and running ASAP, you should seriously consider hiring a company that works in WordPress. However, as customizable as they can be, sites built on this platform are still not unique. And, if you surf the Internet long enough, you will start noticing similarities shared by a myriad of sites built using WordPress templates. You save money, but you come out short on uniqueness.
The bottom line is that your company can’t do without a website these days. If you want to boost your sales, you have to go online. If you’re going to grow your audience, you have to go online. Social media pages are just not enough and require a different marketing approach to make them generate at least some decent ROI over time. A good website that channels your brand’s identity and provides its visitors with impeccable user experience is the only way around. Now that you know some basic things about web design, you have a starting point from which to begin your search for the perfect web design agency.
Nevertheless, the list of tools provided above is not full. Many companies combine web design tools with graphic design tools to create even better designs. Therefore, when looking for a web design company, make sure you hire one that doesn’t include only code or drag-and-drop items onto your future homepage. Choose the one that understands your needs, message, concept, audience, and goals; the one that knows how to create amazing things even if all the team has are sticks and mud.