You pride yourself on your ability to code websites by hand, shaking your cane at these upstart web designers who rely on HTML editors and even the dreaded WYSIWYG tools. However, even the best from-scratch developers benefit from some designing tools. You want to work smarter, not harder, and tools can help you get your websites up to HTML 5 speed, get color scheme inspiration, develop responsive frameworks and dive into content management systems.


1. Google Web Designer

Google Web Designer is the latest tool that comes from Googleville, and it’s currently in public beta. It is designed around interactive HTML 5, so if you’re working to get up to speed on the capabilities of this particular technology, let Google help you find the way. It also allows you to quickly create ads, in case your clients are after some value added design services on your part as well.This full-featured design software comes with plenty of options and a user-friendly layout that gets you going right away.

2. Foundation

Foundation makes it a simple feat to create a responsive Web design framework. When you’re working on mockups for your clients, you’ll find many want responsive designs. These designs work in a similar fashion across all devices, adapting themselves to any screen. It’s a great way to keep a cohesive design across multiple platforms, allowing you to develop one site instead of two or three. This is free software that will really take your business to the next level, as it streamlines the framework process.

3. WordPress

When it comes to maintaining a website, nothing is quite as good as having a content management system in place to handle the heavy lifting for you. After all, you don’t want to go into the site files and manually change all of the content and text for your client. Well, it’s great for your job security, but it is a frustrating experience for your client overall. WordPress allows you to set up a system to add posts and pages to a website without having to go into the code at all. It’s easy to install, and hosts such as even have familiar interfaces for Windows users so it’s simple all around. The templating system WordPress uses is easy to work around for developers and designers, and if you’re really lost there are plenty of basic templates to get you started.

4. Adobe Kuler

This free Adobe tool brings you a handy color wheel, along with user-created color schemes to provide you with inspiration for your next design project. Since many times your clients trust you to go with the best colors for their sites, having a variety of palettes to choose from makes your job much easier. You don’t even need to install this software, as it’s entirely Web based. You can choose schemes such as monochromatic, triad, compound and custom.