Bring your sitemap to life.
Score! Your client has approved their new website’s sitemap and wireframe and you’re moving into the design phase. But what comes next? How can these intertwined boxes and lines come to life? Where do you pick up with the design process and what tools can designers use to make their jobs easier while making the creative process for the client that much stronger?
Use the internet to your advantage.
Reinventing the wheel, in such an online dominated world, isn’t the most effective way to create a unique and effective website. There are thousands of online resources designers can pull inspiration, fonts, photos, mock-ups, and presentation tools from that ease the design process. For templates and places to start, check out Sidecar, a site “created for designers by designers.” Odds are, there is a resource out there for almost any creative challenge you’ll face.
Find photos that don’t suck.
We’re often faced with web projects that are demanding with their photography needs. The challenge? Many clients don’t have a ton of resources when it comes to high-quality images, and stock photos can be, well, pretty terrible. Unsplash is a free online database of high-quality non-cheesy photos (many of the photos we use here on the blog are courtesy of Unsplash). You can search anything from trains to planes and many creative and literal results pop-up.
Once you find the perfect photo, download it, and stick it in your mock ups for the client presentation. Showing actual working photos as opposed to placeholders will help to define a final esthetic for the website.
Ever had a creative block? I know I have, but don’t get discouraged. Designspiration is an effective visual tool to get your mojo back. Say you need inspiration for a mobile nav, start a search, and you have new and innovative mobile designs to look at. The Panda Chrome extension is another excellent way to easily aggregate creative inspiration from sources like Dribbble, Behance, Medium, Designer News, and The Next Web.
When you’re getting ready to flex your creative muscles, make sure your space is ready. Turn the brightness on your computer up to see the fullness of color, but not wear on your eyes. If the sun starts glaring on your screen, save yourself the time and shift or move away. Be sure to have a mouse and mousepad — it can boost productivity and save your fingertips. And don’t forget the basics: grab a glass of water, turn on the tunes (or turn them off if you like silence), and sit in a seat that supports you. The right space makes all the difference.
Designing a professional website can be difficult. Save yourself by setting yourself up for success with the right tools for the job.