What’s new for web designers – Apr 2011

New apps and websites appear on an almost daily basis, but trying to find the good ones among them can be tough, especially considering how many are not that great.

That’s why every month we research and showcase some of the best and latest resources available for web designers.

In this April installment we’ve rounded up more than thirty great books, tools, apps, fonts, and other resources for web designers and developers.

As always, if we’ve missed something, let us know in the comments. And if you know of an app you’d like included in the next roundup, please tweet it to @cameron_chapman.

 

DesignHamster

DesignHamster is a new CMS aimed specifically at web designers. Design your website as you normally would, mark the areas that should be editable by your clients, and then DesignHamster will take care of the rest, including a 60-second training video for your clients.

 

Quote Roller

Quote Roller is a new app for creating, sending, and managing proposals. You can create lists of items to reuse for each proposal, design your own proposals or choose one from the community library, and track client activity with instant notifications.

 

i2Style Typeset Style Generator

i2Style is a simple tool for creating buttons using strictly CSS, with no images. Text shadows, box shadows, borders, and rounded corners are all supported.

 

Zapd

Zapd is a simple, free app for quickly creating websites from your iPhone. There are themes to choose from and customize, and sharing tools for Facebook, Twitter, and email.

 

Get Out of #Jail Free Card

Mark White has written this 20-page ebook to teach people to be more productive (without things like Lifehacker and GTD) while cutting down the number of hours they work.

 

DesignSwap

DesignSwap encourages designers to collaborate by swapping designs for parts of their websites. Swaps are featured on the site in the swaps gallery.

 

The Elements of Content Strategy

The Elements of Content Strategy, by Erin Kissane and published by A Book Apart, is a brief guide that covers the roots of content strategy and how to do it well.

 

CopyPasteCharacter.com

CopyPasteCharacter.com makes it simple to add special characters to your text. Just click on the character you want and it copies it to your clipboard. It also has the option to copy the HTML code for each character.

 

dooWiki

dooWiki lets you add a wiki to your website without having to redirect users to a third-party wiki site or installing extra software. You can create both private and public wikis.

 

Google Page Speed

Google Page Speed checks your website against common things that can slow down a page’s load time. You can check both mobile and desktop versions of your site, and it even gives suggestions for making your page faster. There’s a Chrome extension for it, too.

 

ProtoShare 5

ProtoShare 5 is the latest iteration of the ProtoShare wireframing and collaboration app. The new version is cloud-based for easier sharing and collaboration, and has been rebuilt from the ground-up so that it’s much faster than earlier versions.

 

Clouddrive

Amazon’s new Clouddrive service offers free cloud storage for up to 5GB of files. Additional plans are available for anywhere form 20GB to 1000GB. It was designed specifically for use with their MP3 store (you can save MP3s you buy directly to your Clouddrive account) but you can use it to store videos, photos, and other file types, too. Purchasing an album from the Amazon MP3 store can even get you an upgrade to a free 20GB account for a year.

 

diagonalFade

diagonalFade is a jQuery plugin that makes it easy to create diagonal fad-ins and fade-outs for a grouping of elements.

 

CSSPivot

CSSPivot lets you add CSS styles to any website and then share them with a short link. You can use it to let others submit their ideas for your site, of view the Pivots others have created.

 

Tumblr Themr

Tumblr Themr is an app that makes it easy to create your own Tumblr themes using data from your own Tumblr blog. It’s relatively simple to use (especially when compared to coding a Tumblr theme from scratch), and it’s free for personal use. A commercial license is available for just $20.

 

Learn Python the Hard Way

Learn Python the Hard Way is a free PDF ebook (you can also purchase a print copy or other ebook formats) aimed at people who want to learn to code but have absolutely no prior experience to draw from.

 

IconToucan

IconToucan offers icons for download with a drag-and-drop interface. They have a great selection, with a few different collections. All icons are downloadable as PNG files.

 

The Colour Clock Rebuild

The Colour Clock Rebuild is a jQuery/CSS3 clock that represents time as a hexadecimal value. It’s a neat idea, and the effect can be captivating.

 

Web Boy Comic

The Web Boy Comic tells the story of Quinten Sage, a 13-year-old newbie designer, who turns into the superhero Web Boy.

 

Creator Express

Creator Express, from MultiAd, is now available for Macs through the Mac App Store. Creator Express is a desktop publishing tool with multiple export options with tools for creating vector drawings and page layouts.

 

TweetDeck Web Beta

TweetDeck has just started beta testing their new Web platform, built on the same core as Chrome TweetDeck.

 

Minible

Minible is an app that helps you organize and collaborate on content for a website. Just add clients to the site you want to edit, create a navigation hierarchy and add pages, and then add the content and comments for each page.

 

Fonts

 

Delight Script ($59)

Delight Script was designed by Angel Koziupa, and is based on the advertising scripts commonly seen following WWII. It’s an upright script, with a playful design and plenty of alternates to mimic real hand lettering.

 

Filo Pro ($69.30)

Filo Pro is a modernist interpretation of a humanist serif typeface. The forms are soft and organic, and it’s suitable for both text and display use.

 

1785 GLC Baskerville ($22.50/$45)

1785 GLC Bakserville is based on the work of John Baskerville, specifically on the complete work of Voltaire that was printed by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais in 1785. The letterforms, kerning, and spaces are all the same as the original.

 

Gibson ($48)

Gibson is a humanist sans serif typeface that was created to honor John Gibson FGDC, one of the original founders of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. The 8-font family has been made affordable for students and others in an effort to help raise awareness about and combat piracy. Revenues from its sales will be donated by Canada Type to the GDC.

 

Prognostic (Free)

Prognostic is a display typeface created by Mans Greback. It has a sci-fi, futurustic feel to it, with connecting letterforms and a geometric basis.

 

Aventura ($47.20)

Aventura is a retro-style script display font that’s available with a web font license. The letterforms are bold and rounded, and stylistic alternates are included in the font.

 

Corsham ($14)

Corsham is an antique-style display font, inspired by the engraved lettering designs created by stonemasons. It includes lively serifs and swashed downstrokes, giving it a very distinctive look.

 

Cabin (Free)

Cabin is a sans serif typeface with classical shapes, including two-story lowercase ‘a’ and ‘g’ characters. It’s suitable for text or display use.

 

Quattrocento Roman (Free)

Quattrocento Roman is a serif typeface designed by Pablo Impallari. It’s a fairly wide serif, with an almost-circular shape to some letter.

 

Infinity (Free)

A thin sans-serif typeface designed by Tarin Yuangtrakul, available for free. The letterforms are rounded, and based on an overall shape similar to the number 8.

 

Aspect OT ($76)

Aspect OT is an oblique, sans serif typeface designed by Gareth Hague and published by Alias. It’s available in medium and bold weights, and is best suited for display use.

 

BQE ($29-$69)

BQE, from T26, is a modern, futuristic typeface. The rounded shapes and almost-abstract letterforms make it strictly a display typeface.

 

Novel Sans Pro ($399)

Novel Sans Pro is a sans serif typeface designed by Christoph Dunst. There are six weights available, with italics for each.

 

Tiina Professional ($505.80)

Tiina Professional is a serif typeface designed by Valentin Brustaux and published by OurType. It comes in five weights, each with an italic version.

 

Foral Pro Family ($208)

The Foral Pro Family is a set of slab-serif fonts, in four weights (each with an italic variant). More than 700 glyphs are included in each weight and style.


Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.

if you know of an app you’d like included in the next roundup, please tweet it to @cameron_chapman.

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  • http://wordpressapi.com Sony

    This is informative to all web developers and designers. I liked the information about Amazon Cloud drive. Now I am working on Amazon EC2 and A3 and RDS. All together nice info.

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    The Google speed check is something many people need to take a look at..if it not fast enough.then is doesn’t mean anything to have a good looking site..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • http://webprogramming360.com/ Web Programming 360

      I agree Google Speed Check is very useful because Google actually invented it. It not only helps your SEO, but can keep visitors on your website longer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a website because of its slowness!

    • http://nevillebarrettjr.com Neville

      I agree. It gives you a lot of good tips to improve your site.

  • http://inspirationfeed.com inspirationfeed

    Ok, all i wanna say is that i love you. These resource are incredible, especially Tumblr Themr.

  • http://icontoucan.com Elliot

    This is the most awesome list ever devised, ever. Thanks for listing my site too, kinda caught me by surprise this morning!

  • Ian

    I was intruiged by the “Get Out of Jail Free Book” that was posted above. I read the website briefly, saw lots of positive reviews, so I purchased the book.

    That was about 10 minutes ago. I have since read the entire “book”. I’m using the quotes as the only books that should be readable in 10 minutes are ones that you put your children to bed with.

    The “book” is mainly just common sense. For example, Chapter 19 mentions that you should eat lunch. That is all. Three sentences telling you to eat lunch. I learned that when I was in pre-school.

    The “long” chapters are about 3 paragraphs maximum. Hardly what I would call a “book”. I’ve seen blog postings with more content.

    Save yourself the $10, as this is NOT worth the download, even if it was free.

  • http://www.jenniferlycke.com Jennifer Lycke

    Thanks for these suggestions…quite a few of these apps look useful

  • Scot Parker

    Minible is the best EVER!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.minible.com Mark kelso- Minible

    Hi,

    Thanks very much for featuring my site http://www.minible.com , this is a brilliant list and its always nice to see new sites.

    I created minible as a simple way to get content from a client as I hated using emails or word documents.

    Everyone should try http://www.minible.com

    Thanks,
    Mark Kelso

  • Amaranth

    @Ian Being familiar with things in the book(let?) already, it was a nice reminder. I’m starting to try to implement some things and having nice results.

    Like setting specific times to remove myself from computers altogether.

    Also helped me choose a path in streamlining my workflow. I have a ridiculous number of tasks to tend to. Going to stick as much as possible into email notifications and just keep the folders empty rather than keep them on a checklist.

  • Ian

    @Amaranth Some of the information in the book might be helpful to some people, and much of it is beneficial. I just happened to think most of it is common sense.

    I’ve bought several eBooks from Rockable Press for about $10 – $15, and those were packed with 150+ pages of in depth information. I was expecting much more content for my $10 based on my previous eBook purchases.

  • http://nevillebarrettjr.com Neville

    Has anyone read “The Elements of Content Strategy” yet? Let me know what you think.

  • http://www.joelpeterson.com Joel

    Thanks for listing my jQuery / CSS3 rebuild of The Colour Clock!

  • http://www.designinsaigon.com Charly

    I love those posts every month. Thank you very much, great research and superb resources!
    Please continue the good contribution work

  • http://www.goodphotography.info Andy Lim

    Awesome list of resources! I particularly found CSS Pivot useful for collaboration within a design team. Minible sounded good, until I realized I was already doing similar stuff using WordPress, where collaboration between content creators and designers is done in a similar way.

    • http://www.minible.com Mark Kelso- Minible

      @Andy Lim

      Hi Andy, Minible is not supposd to be used with wordpress, it is designed for before that time when you have a client and you are getting the first draft of copy and helps you get an idea of what the site design will entail, from this information that is submitted to minible it will then allow you to create the mockup.

      It is designed to be the first round of copy, instead of having this in a word document or similar

      It will also help in the future with a client as it gets them used to using forms and saving information which allows them to learn how to easily update content when you do add Content Management Systems like wordpress.

      Thanks Again,

      Mark Kelso

  • http://creativeinfluences.com Tom

    This is a great resource list. Thanks!!

  • http://www.lemmonjuice.com Jakup

    Many thanks for putting down this great list.

  • http://www.holeycoww.co.uk holeycoww

    Excellent post Cameron!

  • http://www.tristarwebdesign.co.uk/ Tristar Web Design

    Once again there is a brilliant round up, a lot of fonts which are lovely despite the fact only a few were free. I love the Web Boy Comic, that’s a fantastic idea. I will be using the diagonal fade at some point in my work and I’ve bookmarked the typeset style generator.

  • http://www.androiddevelopmenttalk.com Android App Developers

    Thanks for the great new resource. Very new to me. I find CSSpivots to be very impressive.

  • http://www.lk-webdesigns.co.uk lkenneth

    Excellent Article Thanks for this, some useful stuff is here :)

  • http://markup.io Josiah

    Don’t forget MarkUp.io!

  • http://www.protoshare.com/tour Andrea at ProtoShare

    Thank you for including ProtoShare in your list! The more complex websites and web applications become, the more important it is to prototype. Uncover the best (and correct) requirements early in the development process so programmers don’t code assumptions and have to do rework later.

    And of course, collaboration is very important. One of our cornerstones is to share early and share often. Validate the work you are creating by sharing it with key stakeholders. Designers can even upload their design comps into ProtoShare and overlay interactions, or simply use the collaboration engine to make sure you’ve got it right.

    Great tools on the list!
    Andrea
    @ProtoShare

  • http://www.irishwebexperts.com Paul

    Great compiled list of excellent suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.softicons.com Neil

    Thanks for the fonts list :)

  • http://www.alojarsites.net Alojamento Web

    Hi Cameron,

    I would love to see more articles with Tumblr themes that are free and beautiful.

    Regards,
    Adriano L.

  • http://www.shush.fm WantageJulie

    Google Page Speed sounds useful, as does CopyPasteCharacter (it’s a nightmare finding the right HTML codes etc!). I will definitely check a few of these out. Thanks for the great resource.

  • http://www.firstcolour.com Hannah

    Design Hamster sounds similar to something I’ve used called Cushy CMS. It’s a very useful bit of kit, ideal for those who don’t have too much technical knowledge but wish to edit their web content.

    I didn’t know Amazon had ventured into data storage, I will definitely be taking a look at that. 5GB is a pretty decent amount of free space too, good old Amazon!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/nanozycosil ali ırmak

    Thank you for sharing

  • http://twitter.com/samdbeckham Sam Beckham

    A lot of this stuff sounds good but if I’m honest I’ll probably never use it. Design Hamster is a fantastic idea if it works as well as the video suggests and design swap could do with a feature that pairs you up with another designer. All in all good post though.