Here at Web.Appstorm, we’ve written about a number of brilliant web apps. Some of them I use everyday, and many have become a part of my work flow and are of great use to me. The Internet is much like this, full of great apps that can help you with nearly anything you’d ever need help with. What if you want to add to the Internets great arsenal of tools orwealth of information by building your own site?
The answer to this could well be Handcraft. In essence, it’s an online text editor, though it’s a lot more than this in practice. It can become your whole web development work flow and backup setup in one. Handcraft started out as a prototyping tool, designed to let you build your sites directly in the browser, for the browser, rather than starting out in Photoshop. Let’s see if this is the tool you need to design your next great site.
Google’s never been known for the best design. They once lost a designer after one too many tests for the right shade of blue, among other oddities. But any sweeping change to their entire suite of web properties would surely be welcomed with open arms, right?
Not entirely. The design changes that were launched with Google+ have now rolled out to most of Google’s properties, and even less consumer-orientated sites like Adsense have seen a refresh. For the most part, the changes seem nice, but the new style in Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Reader have been the most controversial. Gmail’s new design has been well received for the most part, but the new label-less buttons seem unintuitive and downright un-googley (isn’t Google known for text over icons?). Google Reader sparked the most controversy, with a more confusing interface and less sharing features. Google Docs’ interface seems blander than before, but it’s still hands-down the best online office suite for most purposes.
Our recent article on the changes got a number of comments, with most readers agreeing that the new Gmail was mostly nice, but the new Google Reader was frustrating at best. Across the web, the sentiment has been mostly the same. So we’d love to know what you think. Do you like Google’s new design changes, or do you want the old Gmail and Google Reader back? Should Google try harder with design, or are they best with sticking with spartan text-driven interfaces?
There’s a never-ending debate over whether tablets can be productive devices, perhaps even substitutes for full computers, or if they’re simply to be relegated to the status of a nice tech toy. Despite the many brilliant productive tools that have been designed for the iPad, one of the best examples of areas that tablets break productivity is web apps. While some web apps work great on the iPad, many are much more difficult to use.
Gmail Mobile presents a nice change to this trend, with a beautiful iPad-style web app. LucidChart is another example of an app that includes extra features designed just for the iPad. Today, we’re featuring another great app that’s been designed just for tablet browsers: Axe. This new free app from ZURB joins the ranks of their other great apps as an easy way to quickly markup a website with your feedback. It’s easier than ever on a touchscreen, so let’s take a look at how this app might make your iPad a bit more productive.
It’s that time of year again. Facebook dumped a bunch of changes on us unsuspecting users, then proceded to pre-announce even greater changes coming soon. Facebook has changed so much over the years, it’s almost hard to recognize the original site as the same service.
It seems lately that most major web apps have been bitten by the update fever bug. Gmail and the whole slew of Google Apps have recently gotten a massive redesign, Twitter looks more like a full app by the day, and even Microsoft keeps tweaking its aging internet properties. But Facebook is the one app that keeps firing on all cylinders, and it seems that you can hardly keep up with all the changes they throw at us.
It’s not all bad. I personally like the new style chat, and the live updates can be rather interesting. So what do you think? Are you excited to see more changes in the world’s most popular social network, or would you rather them leave it the same? Have you still not gotten used to the last changes by the time they updated it?
Then, of course, there is this:
The past couple decades of computing have seen an explosion in apps on all platforms. VisiCalc might have been the killer app on early PCs, but development didn’t start there. Today, many of the apps we use on a daily basis didn’t even exist several years ago. For that matter, the platform we’re running them on may have not even existed more than a few years. Whether you’re using web apps that are powered by HTML5 or native apps that sync with Dropbox, these have only been even possible for a few years now.
Through decades of development and increasingly fast and portable computers, developers have rushed to add features to their apps, often seemingly just for the sake of adding features. Then, as new platforms came along, critics dismissed early apps on them as being too basic to get real work done. Surprisingly, though, it’s usually the simplest apps that we use the most, and few people are fanatical about complicated programs with confusing, outdated interfaces.
What makes the difference between a bloated app and something you’d love to use? There’s a fine line between enough features and too many, so let’s take a look at some examples and see why most of us gravitate to some of the simplest apps available.
Creating a seamless pattern isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s easy to spend hours in Photoshop trying to create texture that will repeat perfectly, only to find that it’s slightly off, but it isn’t easy to get those little imperfections fixed. Instead, you need a tool that will automate the process of making your pattern repeating, taking care of the hard part while freeing you to focus on your design.
The COLOURlovers team has created a ton of tools for anyone who loves colors, palettes, patterns, and more. Their web site lets you discover new designs and share them, and their development team has been creating new creative tools to help you get in on the creation process.
Starting with their simple Seamless Lite web app, a free tool to create basic patterns online, COLOURlovers created an advanced pattern creation tool for your desktop: Seamless Studio. This app lets your pattern designs come to life easier than ever. Let’s take a look and see if this is the tool that’s been missing from your design toolkit.
It’s a reality that those who are web designers need to work together with a client in order to generate a successful design. We have to discuss with a client what they’d like changed, and then change it (although, we should always write it into our contract to avoid any frustration when you get a client from hell).
CAGE is an awesome collaboration tool that allows you to manage projects and share images (whether they be a screenshot of a web page, or just an image of something else) of your work (i’ll be looking mainly at using this tool for web design today, but the tools are available for whatever type of image you upload). Your team and/or your clients can login too and add comments to highlighted areas, furthering the collaboration abilities of your design team.
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting InVision. Here’s how the developer describes InVision.
InVision allows designers to build fully-interactive, high-fidelity prototypes using the tool they know best — Photoshop. You can share your prototypes with your design team, developers, clients, and even run live usability tests with end-users. InVision will change the way you think about user experience design.
Read on for more information and screenshots!
Many online businesses and websites operate in the same vertical. Often, their services and design could be strikingly similar, making it difficult to stand out. Then there are situations when, even after lengthy brainstorming sessions with experts, a clear idea of the feature-set isn’t be formulated. Two questions always linger in the minds of developers and entrepreneurs — how do you decide which features to include or omit and how do you increase conversions?
Once you have answers for the two questions, you can sit back and start counting the money. Tools and talent that can help get usable feedback are exorbitantly costly — at least up until now. Verify allows you to quickly test concepts with users to get immediate feedback. Keep reading to find how you can save time and money with Verify by testing pages before you start redoing everything.
Design is more of a collaborative process than we often realize. In the process of designing a new site, logo, promotional flyer, and more, you’ll often end up emailing dozens of files back and forth with your coworkers and clients to see what they think about the changes. Adding to that, you’ll usually end up emailing copies of PSD or AI files, links to similar designs that inspired you, or reminders for when parts of the project are due. Before you know it, you’re struggling to find the right file among dozens of similar emails.
Your team needs a better way to collaborate on the design process. Today we’re going to look at Draftboard, a new webapp that lets you compare and annotate design drafts, send ideas and inspirational links to your team, and store your important project files together. It’s a light project management app that’s solely focused on design drafts and your team’s feedback. Let’s see if this is the app that can make your creative process flow smoother.