Articles

50+ Tools To Make You a More Efficient & Organized Designer

July 8, 2009 • By

As more and more web based tools solely created to help designers and developers in their mission to overpower sturfy web design come to life, we are plastered with one decision to make. Which of these tools benefit me the most? Many of these tools will indeed allow you to become a much better designer with the aid of tools that will help you code faster and become a bit more organized. This will allow you to actually save a great deal of time while also practicing good organizational skills all in one.

Below you will find 50+ tools that will make you a better, faster, and more collective designer, if you use them correctly.

Coding and Design

Panic Coda

Panic Coda, a shareware web development app for Macs. It allows you to reduce the amount of clutter when it comes to applications such as an FTP client, CSS editor, a version control system, and more.

Firebug

Firebug is a free, open source in-browser web development application for Firefox. Notible features include: HTML and CSS editing that lets you swiftly debug, analyzing JavaScript, and a creative Document Object Model (DOM) inspection tool that aids you in quickly seeing how the elements of a web page relate to each other.

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Blueprint: A CSS Framework

Blueprint lets you reduce the amount of CSS code you’re normally obligated to write by using common styles that developers regularly use such CSS reset and the embedding of images.

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CSSTidy

Widely used as an opensource CSS parser and optimiser, CSSTidy is available as an executeable file (for Windows, Linux and OSX). This useful app allows you to quickly and effectively “tidy” up your CSS sheets without the necessary hassels.

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Web Developer Firefox Extension

Web Developer is a Firefox extension that every developer should have, it’s sort of a tool box all in its own. It provides you with tools to conduct tests (including testing for broken images or links), testing layouts in multiple screen sizes, viewing cookie information, HTML, CSS sheets, and validating mark-up.

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BB Edit

BBEdit is a full-featured text editor very similar to Textmate. The BBEdit product page even has a section for web developers to see the benefits of BBEdit. For those Mac users who think BBEdit is better than Textmate, it’s usually because BBEdit is a Cocoa application, and TextMate is a Unix application.

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HTML Entity Character Lookup

This lookup app allows you to quickly find an entity or tag based on how it looks. For example, an < or a quick note.

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Blue Print CSS Frameworks

Blueprint is a CSS framework, which aims to cut down on your development time. It gives you a solid foundation to build your project on top of, with an easy-to-use grid, sensible typography, useful plugins, and even a stylesheet for printing.

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ColorZilla

This an advanced Firefox add-on that includes features such as an Eyedropper, ColorPicker, Page Zoomer and much more.

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Typetester

Typetester is an online application for comparison of the fonts for the screen. Its primary role is to make web designer’s life easier.

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CSSedit

CSSedit is developed by the same company that offers Espresso. CSSedit is mainly a text editor focused specifically on CSS (as you can tell by the name). Among several of the text editors available, this app is perfect for those designers who strive to produce sites and templates within an allotted time span.

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Designers Toolbox

This app has an array of print and web document sizes that can easily come in handy to the designer on the go.

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MAMP

MAMP allows you acquire your own local server and have it up and running within 5 minutes. The abbreviation MAMP stands for Mac, Apache, MySQL, and PHP-Perl-Python. Because it’s based on giving you the freedom to choose whichever sever side language you prefer. MAMP is pretty much your “One-Click-Solution for setting up your personal webserver”.

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FileZilla

One of the best free FTP tools around. FileZilla provides unlimited uploads and downloads and supports resumption of transfers when your connection is broken. FileZilla comes in two flavors – full-featured FTP client, and FTP server. Both support FTP over open connections, SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH FTP.

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KompoZer

KompoZer is a WYSIWYG Web-authoring system with built-in site management tools and CSS management system.

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Clean AJAX

Clean is an open source engine for AJAX, that provides a high level interface to work with the AJAX technology. It can be plugged in any page or DHTML framework because it was designed in conformation with the separation of concerns principle, keeping focus on AJAX issues.

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Sajax

Sajax is an open source tool to make programming websites using the Ajax framework — also known as XML HTTP Request or remote scripting — as easy as possible. Sajax makes it easy to call PHP, Perl or Python functions from your webpages via JavaScript without performing a browser refresh.

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JSUnit

JsUnit is a Unit Testing framework for client-side (in-browser) JavaScript. It is essentially a port of JUnit to JavaScript. Also included is a platform for automating the execution of tests on multiple browsers and mutiple machines running different OSs. Its development began in January 2001.

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Stylish

This add-on is often considered for web site tweakers, however it can also be used to add or remove CSS and design elements on the fly, without even having to login to your web site.

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Expresso

Expresso is a vastly growing popular text editor. It allows you to quickly organize, preview, find, and expand code. Preview your progress and easily publish websites with the click of a few buttons. However, it currently requires Leopard to operate.

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Wufoo

Wufoo is an application that helps you build amazing online forms.

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Aviary

Edit images, create mind-blowing effects, design logos, find colors, collaborate, and more.

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CakePHP

CakePHP is a rapid development framework for PHP that provides an extensible architecture for developing, maintaining, and deploying applications.

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CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for PHP coders who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications

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Task Management Apps

Base Camp

Basecamp works with a variety of iPhone apps, third-party billing/invoicing tools, mock-up review software, time tracking tools, widgets, and more. Today it’s one of the leading web-based project collaboration tool.

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Versions

Because we don’t all have photographic memory and genius time management skills Versions was created. This software allows web designers, developers, and more to manage their client’s projects without dealing with all the said hassle’s. Don’t worry, if you’ve never worked with Subversion this app should be a breeze even to the most of novice users.

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QuickSilver

QuickSilver can categorized as an extendable interface that enables you to quickly launch apps, manage contacts, shortcuts, music, images, and several other programs.

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Backpack

Backpack is an easy intranet for your business. Store, share, discuss, and archive everything that’s essential for your team. Safe and secure.

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Rescue Time

You can identify employees who are aren’t working very hard. You can identify employees who are under tasked, but are afraid to speak up about it. You can identify employees who are unmotivated. You can see how environment variables in the work place effect aggregate productivity. For example, when a team doubles in size, how does that change how people spend their time? How has productivity changed since you changed the layout of the office? What would happen if you instituted a “no email on Fridays” policy?

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Tick

Tick is a simple and friendly time tracking application to help you stay on budget.

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Punchy Time

PunchyTime is a simple time tracking tool for creatives (ad agencies, web-dev shops, etc). It makes it really easy for your team to enter time “as they work” instead of letting it all pile up till the end of the month (which is how billable hours get lost). The interface is quick, simple, and even a little fun. Get in, get out, get back to work.

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Time Out

The human body isn’t built to sit in one position for endless hours, gripping a mouse or typing on the keyboard. Dejal Time Out is here to help. It will gently remind you to take a break on a regular basis. Time Out has two kinds of breaks: a “Normal” break, typically for 10 minutes after 50 minutes of work, so you can move about and relax, plus a “Micro” break: a very brief pause of typically 10 seconds every 10 minutes, so you can remember not to tense up too much for long periods.

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Clocking It

Prove to your clients that you’ve spent ‘that much time’ on their projects. Time tracking can be simple or detailed. Enjoy flexible reporting, multiple ways to communication and an interactive gantt chart and scheduling.

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Google Docs

We’ve met folks who still haven’t tried the Google Doc applications, and we don’t know why. Use their documents, spreadsheets, presentation and PDF utilities and organize them by user or topic. You can share everything or nothing with your team. Also integrates a chat feature.

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Flow

Flow works as a visual workflow manager that allows you to have full control over the current project you may be working on. Visit the Flow site to get a much better feel of this workflow management software.

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EverNote

EverNote easily lets you capture information within any given environment utilizing whichever device or platform you prefer, then it makes this information available and searchable any time you want, from virtually anywhere.

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ProjectPier

Very similar to the popular Basecamp, this free, open source and self-hosted PHP application is perfect for managing tasks, projects and teams.

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SlimTimer

From the SLIMTIMER you can create tasks and even share them with your coworkers and those you report to. Open the SLIMTIMER and click on a task to start the clock and click again when you’re finished. If you’ve completed the task click the checkbox to mark it off. Close the browser when you’re done.

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TuDu List

Tudu Lists is a very simple application, which you can start using in seconds – but with some advantages over your home-made Excel todo list.

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Finance, Billing, & Accounting

FreshBooks

Send, track and collect payments quickly. Great for teams, freelancers and service providers. So easy to use, FreshBooks saves you time and gets you paid faster. You’ll actually love invoicing.

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Billing Manager

Intuit Billing Manager is the fast, easy, FREE way to manage your invoicing online. Use the Billing Manager web site to create customized, professional invoices, send them by email and track payment history and status — all on one place. Spend less time on your paperwork and more time on your customers.

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Blinksale

Blinksale is perfect for anyone who needs to invoice clients for services or products sold. Blinksale is an excellent choice for attorneys, accountants, designers, IT professionals, software developers, journalists, contractors, engineers, architects, videographers, and more. Basically, if you need to send invoices, Blinksale can work for you

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WORKetc

WORKetc provides serious business owners with all the software they need to build seriously successful businesses. We combine CRM, Projects, Billing, Timesheets and more with a powerful automation engine to help take your small business to the next level.

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Billings

Billings great for the freelance web designer who has a stable and growing list of clients. It’s a productive invoicing tool that integrates the Mac interface with several useful features that’ll save you lots of wonderful time.

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On The Job

On The Job is a complete application that lets you track time, expenses, and simple client invoicing so that you’re able to always remain organized. If you have clients that reside in other countries then you can take advantage of the multiple currency billing option.

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Time59

Be more organized with less effort. Time59 keeps track of the work you do, gets your invoices out quickly, and manages client payments. Your Time59 account can be accessed from any internet connected computer… at home, at your office, or on the road.

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Money3

Money3 is a great accounting program developed for Mac OS X users. It’s the latest in money management apps and offers a high-quality GUI and the ability to manage various types of accounts. You can also plan out and easily track your budgets.

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LessAccounting

Send Invoices & Proposals. Send html and pdf, download pdfs. Zap proposal into invoices. Tracking expenses is easy with nightly bank data aggregation. Automatically import bank transactions, data entry is boring.

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XE Currency Converter

XE is an easy-to-use tool that will show you the current conversion rate. Simply enter the amount, the currency you’re converting from, and the currency you’re converting to and it will show you an up-to-date calculation.

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FreeAgent

Manage your projects and contacts, track the time you spend and create flexible timesheet reports. Create great looking invoices with no fuss. Email them to the client and easily track through to payment. FreeAgent makes sales tax reporting a snap, and you can easily customise it for your country.

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Cashboard

Time tracking, invoicing, estimates, and online payments done your way. Cashboard does it all, and does it for free.

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Bill My Clients

BillMyClients.com is a hassle-free way for businesses to quickly & easily create and print invoices and bills online.

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LiteAccounting

LiteAccounting is an online application that gives you the tools you need to invoice and receive payment from your customers.

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Xero

Xero is an online accounting system designed for small businesses and their advisors. It’s simple, smart and secure. Easy bank reconciliation keeps your accounts accurate and up to date. Automatic bank feeds get your transactions in to Xero without effort. At the heart of Xero is a full accrual accounting system which automates and simplifies your day-to-day bookkeeping.

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