These days, as computing moves more and more into the clouds, for every important (and expensive) design app you have installed on your home computer, chances are there is a free, effective (albeit perhaps slightly simplified) version of it online. These web apps come in particularly useful when you are traveling or away from your own computer. They are convenient, are easily accessible and allow you to road test your designs on the fly. In this article we will suggest five essential web apps that every designer should check out:
Loads.in: No matter how beautiful your site design is, you always need to bear in mind how it is going to look through differing browsers and how quickly it is going to load. Compatibility with less popular browsers is crucial and it is absolutely essential that your website is going to be able to render its pages and design perfectly without taking forever to do so. That is what makes Loads.in an indispensable app – it will take your website and analyse its loading speed through a particular browser and from any of fifty worldwide locations. It allows you to check that every possible destination and browser, including tablets and mobile phones, will load your site swiftly and correctly.
WhatTheFont: Simple but one that every designer needs to bookmark immediately, WhatTheFont helps you to identify any and every font that you come across in your daily browsing. Every designer knows that annoying feeling when you come across a font that is to die for but can’t establish what it is. WhatTheFont solves this problem for you. Simply upload an image file or the url to their database to get an answer.
TypeTester: Another simple but genius web app for type fans, Typetester lets designers and web site owners compare any of the thousands of fonts that they can see on a particular screen. Web designers love it for the broad overview it can give when deciding on which fonts to use as do site owners who might not have the time to research fonts as seriously as designers might.
CSS3 Generator: If you need to quickly generate your own CSS3 code then look no further than the CSS3 generator. A dropdown menu offers quick and easy access to allow you to generate any standard CSS3 option or feature, including animations, gradients, font faces, transitions and shadows.
Phoenix Image Editor: The sheer range of features available in this one online photo editor makes you wonder if you need to be spending hundreds of dollars on your standard photo editing suites each year. Phoenix Image Editor, the standard bearer for Aviary, is an essential online app and comes with an intuitive and simple interface that covers everything from retouching images to a multitude of complex photo editing functions and effects.
Esther is a blogger and financial writer. She spends her week writing about mortgages and tax reduction but in her spare time loves to write about all things related to design.