If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for something new and exciting to enhance your design projects.
You know, a little extra something that will set your vision apart from your competitors, catch the eye of your potential prospects, and in an ideal situation, get them to convert.
Below are seven of my favorite design tools and resources. In addition to optimizing my design time, these have helped me tremendously in creating unique user interfaces and experiences for a variety of projects. Let's take a look.
When I’m designing I always enjoy pushing the boundaries on how to take a website to the next level. One of the many ways to do that is with video content.
If you want eye-catching video content with the impressive shallow depth of field shots or aerial shots, but don’t have the thousands of dollars to drop on expensive equipment, the guys over at Coverr have awesome options for you to choose from. The best part is they’re free!
Every Monday, Coverr uploads 7 new high-quality videos that you are free to use on your website or within your content. Subscribing is the best way to get access to the new additions first.
Putting Coverr to Use
Using Coverr is simple. When beginning your hunt, scroll through their site to find that perfect video content for your project. When you find it, click it, and hit download.
You can also upload your video to your website. Once you get the snippet of code they provide and change the three source paths that are marked in blue they mention it on their site.
As a designer, I often daydream (with my hot cup of joe and pet cactus by my side,) of bringing my app designs or websites to life through motion. Doing this would make presenting a mock-up to a client not only more efficient, but engaging. I’m sure all you designers out there wish you could do the same -- well there’s a solution to take your daydreaming ideas and make them a reality -- Invision.
InvisionApp showcases your design work to clients in a better way. One of the main reasons I enjoy using InvisionApp is that it takes away the need to explain how buttons and animations would work on a site design and brings them to life in an easy-to-use, interactive way.
Putting Invision to Use
Using the tool is as easy as uploading your designs. From there you can add hotspots and transform your static screen into clickable prototypes. Once you get all that done, simply share the link with your clients. They’ll be able open the project on their desktop or mobile device and even comment when they have an account. It’s a great way to get fast, native feedback right in front of you.
It happens to all designers; we fall into the dreaded slumps of design and try to claw our way out.
We get the case of, “how can I make my site even more effective or visually appealing to draw in and keep visitors?”
What Crayon’s All About
Which brings me to Crayon. Crayon is a comprehensive marketing design search engine that helps marketers get inspired for their next site project.
Crayon has over 11 million marketing designs to jog your imagination and give you that shot of inspiration for your next great idea.
The site also makes searching for relevant content fast and easy. With their variety of filters, you can zero in on designs or projects that are similar to yours. You can then create collections on your profile to showcase and revisit your inspiration later on.
Hero images on a site can really make a huge impact. I’m always hunting down new sites to help me find great royalty-free photos to incorporate into my design work and Unsplash is definitely one that I love.
Putting Unsplash to Use
Using Unsplash is easy. Simply find the image you want and hit download. If you want to go even further you can subscribe to the site with your email and have 10 photos sent directly to your inbox every 10 days.
Think you know everything about good user interface? I’m constantly trying to improve tactics and strategies for meeting and exceeding user interface standards.
Knowing and pushing these boundaries will ultimately help create a unique experience and increase conversion rates through an easy-to-navigate interface.
The Ultimate User Interface Strategies
GoodUI offers a working list of user interface ideas to help you take yours to the next level. There’s also a contribution feature called “suggest improvements” where you can submit your own discoveries for other designers to benefit from.
I always find myself digging through site after site, trying to find the right collection of fonts, but once I stumbled upon Font Awesome, I never turned back.
How to Use it and the Benefits
Font Awesome gives you resizable vector icons that you can customize any way you want. A vector is opposite of an object that is built out of pixels. If you were to zoom into a pixel object you’d find that the object is made up of tiny squares. A vector object, however, doesn’t have any tiny squares that make up the object. When you zoom in it will still look “solid”.
(This is where it gets interesting.) With FontAwesome, you can incorporate their vectors icons into your designs by simply copying and pasting a short line of code into your css. This will ultimately help save time for designers and give an edge on projects being finished more efficiently.