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The second — from T. Scott Stromberg — is an example of a sketched wireframe with quite a bit of detail…something useful on more complex sites. This is where the client reviews and approves the wireframes and sketches we've created. If there are any changes to be made we'll make them before moving on to the next stage.

Once the client approves the wireframes, we've reached our first project milestone. So up to now, we've hashed out the purpose of the site and most of how we'll accomplish that purpose in sort of an outline form represented by the completed questionnaire, wireframes, and any other sketches we've created. Most importantly, however, this whole time our minds have been wrapping ever more tightly around the overall picture of how this thing is going to come together, and we're ready to fill in some of the details.

Those details come in the form of the Project Specification — also known as a Design Document. The project specification is a thorough explanation of how the site functions.

Professional Workflow for Web Designers

There are a number of different standards and methods of tackling this kind of thing, but I've developed my own method that works very well for all but the most complicated projects. There are really two major portions of the project specification, the User Interface portion, and the Design Document portion.

The first is the User Interface portion, which describes, in detail, how the user will interact with the web site. For instance, how page navigation works, explanation of what the user sees when searching the site…it's basically a detailed explanation of everything a visitor can do on the site. The second portion of the specification is what's commonly referred to as the design document, which, according to Wikipedia ,.

So that project specification we just created…it's time for the client to approve it, the user-interface portion at least. The design document portion is all but useless to the client most of the time and I generally don't even send it along. It's important to note that on very simple projects, all of the previous stages combined may only take a few hours, plus approval time. On any project, however, by this point, both the client and myself have a thorough understanding of how the site will function and where various page elements will appear.

Now it's time to get a more detailed visual. These are drawn with Photoshop and, other than some small changes, represent a snapshot of what each page of the site will look like when it's complete. I generally don't create every single page that will be on the final site, instead I create one example of each of the major templates. For example, the privacy policy and the terms of use pages on most sites have pretty much the same look with different content. In that case I'd only create one mockup to represent both of those pages.

I like Photoshop for building mockups. I've tried Adobe's Fireworks, which is actually designed specifically for creating website mockups and graphics, but I really haven't found it any more useful than Photoshop, so I've stuck with that. Now it's time to send the mocukps to the client for approval. This is a major point for clients because up until now, they've only seen rough sketches and read details in a glorified instruction manual…now they get to see what their site's going to look like.

The client submits any change requests, changes are made, and when the mockups are finalized, it's time to convert them into web pages. Luckily, a number of design tools have emerged to make the design workflow more efficient. Here are 10 tools that will streamline your design process and lead to higher quality work for your clients. With these tools, you can create 1, 3, 5, or 30 proofs in a matter of minutes to present your clients with several options.

Free trial: Yes, you can try the business tier free for 30 days.

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Canva is a simple drag-and-drop tool that lets you put as little or as much into your moodboards as you like. You can completely customize them or use one of their pre-designed layouts. Niice is a product that was created specifically for moodboards. Each mood board gets a private URL, so you can share with your team without posting it publicly. A wireframe lets you focus purely on the function of the webpage without getting distracted by nuances of design. Wireframes provide an opportunity to focus on usability with your client before moving on to aesthetics. Here are some tools that will help you cut down the time it takes to create and share a wireframe.

Free trial: Yes, available for 30 days.

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  • Balsamiq is the most straightforward wireframing mockup tool, keeping the UI of their software intentionally simple. You can create sketch-like wireframes, drag and drop images, and leave notes alongside your design.

    Wireframing software often comes with a slew of unnecessary features and options that divert your attention from the simple, focused purpose of blueprinting your website. Companies like Apple , Skype, Zappos, and Tesla opt for this simple software over more built-out, robust ones. Free trial: Yes, with an unlimited duration. LucidChart is a flowchart software used by many designers to put together a basic wireframe. It has significantly more features than Balsamiq, most notably allowing for more collaboration.

    LucidChart allows for real-time collaboration and multi-device support. The prototyping is very useful to show clients how stuff works, especially because you can push the content online right away I also love that I can copy and paste stuff from other Adobe apps. Ellis Rogers, graphic designer at Receptional Ltd https: Rogers also praises the ability XD offers to use Adobe libraries to quickly import any asset from Photoshop or Illustrator, as this makes collaboration projects run more quickly.

    Professional Workflow for Web Designers - eBook -

    The link also allows you to gather feedback per page, keeping it all organised. The link can be updated within Adobe XD so the client can always see the latest version without having to worry about incorrect versions; an absolute joy to work with. Learn how to prototype a mobile app with Adobe XD.

    Figma is an interface design tool that enables multiple designers to collaborate in real-time. It took me no time to learn and had the added benefit of being collaborative: Content writer and artworker David Eastwood , who works for Co-o Electrical, also has good things to say about Figma. It's also been a really useful tool when we've needed to quickly mock MVTs; sometimes small additions to an existing layout.

    We love that you can quickly create designs for desktop, tablet and mobile. Learn how to create a responsive dashboard with Figma. This essentially means you can adjust images or vectors without damaging them. This is especially useful when working with vector art, as you can really get in close. The undo and history features are also really handy — Affinity allows you to go back over 8, steps! When moving from Photoshop, everyone seems to want to start over, which can pose a real challenge.

    What Affinity has done is to keep the layout familiar, while tightening everything up and hiding distractions.

    Moodboard Tools

    I was easily able to jump straight in and get designing. Although web page animations have at times got a bad rap, developers are always looking for ways to make things easier. CSS animations and transitions have been a huge step forward, but more complex interactions often require a library. This code defines the objects you want to animate, along with specifics of the animations.

    The author, Julian Garnier, has provided a CodePen collection that demonstrates what the library can do, as well as thorough documentation on GitHub.

    The Project Life Cycle

    Avocode makes it extremely easy for frontend developers to code websites or apps from Photoshop or Sketch designs. Although previous apps have allowed you to export assets, what makes Avocode really special is that you can use its Photoshop plugin to sync your PSD into Avocode with just one click.

    Web Design Process Pt. 1 - Content Strategy

    Avocode quickly and automatically analyses your PSD or Sketch file and brings everything into a beautifully designed UI. You then have full control over how you export assets, including SVG exporting as standard. You can also click elements in the design, and copy and paste the code into a text editor of your choice. The current workflow really sucks and that's why we created Avocode.

    We're not per cent sure any app can ever replicate a developer. But we know of many hard pressed designers who happily use this to turn PSDs and Sketch files into interactive designs, which can then form the foundations for the website build. Do you find handing over design assets to developers can be a bit of a hassle?