Being a web designer has its perks: the ability to work remotely, set your own hours, and to design for a variety of clients on a multitude of projects. It’s rarely boring, but sometimes, it can get lonely—especially if you don’t go into an office regularly (or at all). Aside from feeling isolated, it’s harder to collaborate on projects if you’re not face to face with your peers working on the same task or with the clients for whom you’re doing the work.
So, what’s a web designer to do? Find one of the numerous free tools that encourage collaboration and make teamwork a breeze—even from a distance. In other words, keep the pros of the job and reduce the cons. Here are a few of our favorite tools that make this possible.
For Design Unity
With any website or web-based project, aesthetics are crucial. Most designers are especially particular about the image they put forth and safeguard their visual vision at all costs. This is a good thing. After all, how the finished product looks sets you apart in your field.
However, in an effort to control the outcome, don’t forget to ask for input from others. If you’re the point person for the client, check in regularly to solicit candid feedback. If you’re working on behalf of an agency, be sure you’re getting responses as you build out the project. The worst thing would be to finish the project and then find out you took it in the wrong direction.
In the spirit of receiving regular feedback and working with others on the design, it can be worthwhile to give collaboration software a try. Some of the best web apps for design are Red Pen, Prevue and Marqueed.
- Red Pen: With this tool, you can upload any design, add notes anywhere and receive a URL to share with someone else. Responses are sent to your email, and the overall process is smooth and intuitive.
- Prevue: This is a similar program that allows you to upload and share your designs. You can password protect a project, and view feedback in the form of comments on the images themselves.
- Marqueed: Use this program to talk about designs through notes or invite others into a virtual discussion. Marqueed also makes it easy to stay organized, get images from outside websites and be notified when changes are made.
For Workflow Clarity
While the above tools are ideal from a design perspective, aesthetics alone aren’t enough to get your project from A to Z. When working with others, you need to have a system in place so everyone can track its progress. Once again, look no further than software to help get the job done.
- Trello: This program uses cards, which are like sticky notes, to organize your text and images. You can keep tabs on each step of your project with a progress meter that can help you meet any deadlines.
- Conceptboard: This tool is like a virtual whiteboard. It works as a central hub for devising concepts, seeing projects through to fruition and communicating with involved parties. This system is ideal for creatives in particular.
- Basecamp: The most well-known project management system, Basecamp is easy to navigate and use. Use it to create to-do lists, share files and messages, upload documents and assign tasks.
All of these apps are available for both iOS and Android systems. Depending on your needs and preferences, try to get everyone on your team using the same system so as to avoid any conversion issues. So, if want a streamlined process, go for the new iPhone 6. Or, if you like more freedom to customize your device and apps, have everyone on your team invest in a Samsung phone like the Galaxy or Note series.
As you continue to grow your business and net more profits, remember to include others. Whether you do this by working with peers or with the clients themselves, teamwork is critical. And, in order to make collaboration prosper, look for tools that help your productivity and creativity.