Many years ago, web designers had the relatively simple task of creating a website. The entire process, although long, was done through simple coding languages (compared to the ones we have today). There weren't any dynamic websites, most websites were created using HTML and nothing else, and graphic design was essentially non-existent.
In fact, most websites utilized basic graphic design elements such as different colored text, navigation boxes with thick outlines, and a personalized (but still) background. Creating websites back then involved using well-known design systems that weren't as rich as the ones we have today.
So what's changed since then? Well, for starters, we no longer have simplified background images. Websites today feature video backgrounds, a responsive design, rich and intuitive web pages, a content management system, and even interactive elements.
And that's just scratching the surface of what the current web design environment is like. Thankfully, there are many web design tools that enable designers to use advanced techniques and methods during website creation.
On that note, we'll be taking a look at the best web design software you can get, seeing just how good they are, and if any of these is the right web design software for you.
Wix is and has been, an incredible piece of web design software for a few years now. Although WordPress is the most famous, it isn't quite as sophisticated as Wix. The Wix free version is interesting, but if you want a fully-fledged website without ads or external branding, it isn't enough.
You'll still get access to the 14-days free trial no matter which paid plan you choose so it's best if you avoid the free plan altogether. Speaking of plans, Wix has some of the cheaper plans on the market; just $8.50/month with quite a lot of features and templates is great for a starter website.
On top of that, when you start designing your own website, you can choose to use the Wix ADI - an artificial intelligence solution focused on making the design instead of you. Don't worry, you'll still be able to edit, change, and remove anything you don't like. Answer a few questions and it'll create something based on your answers.
Additionally, you can find a logo maker which can be quite helpful. All templates and themes are responsive which bodes well for users who are accessing your website through a mobile device. Lastly, Wix offers free images from Unsplash and their personal media library.
There are a couple of negative sides to Wix which are pretty unique compared to other web design software. For starters, any website you make is there to stay. It cannot be transferred to other web hosting or web design solutions.
Secondly, although Wix plans are fairly affordable, they're priced per website. Meaning, if you want 5 websites on the cheapest personal plan - you'll have to pay $42.5/month! Still, Wix is one of the best web design software you can find for a reason. And that reason is its accessibility and numerous features.
First, a disclaimer. Figma isn't a classical website builder due to it not really having the ability for coding. It's predominantly used for graphical design and prototyping of how a website (or app) should look like.
However, you're still able to import and inspect CSS codes as well as create an interactive display of how each element interacts with the others. The digital design toolkit in Figma is a hefty one and it can get quite confusing after a while, especially if you rush through the process.
The good news is that if you make a mistake or just want to go back to a previous version, you can do so using the version history list. You can also keep an eye out for changes made by other people thanks to the use of Observation mode. The drag-and-drop interface lets you easily place design elements exactly where you want them.
Multiple people can work on a design at once hence why it's so popular among teams within companies. That, and supporting both low and high-fidelity prototyping which is rarely found elsewhere.
There's plugin support as well which allows users to install and activate any plugin (that Figma supports) they see fit. This can shorten the time needed to complete a design whilst also making life easier for the designer. Figma is very popular among experienced web designers due to its features.
On the other hand, it is quite expensive and by extension, isn't great for a single person. Also, there's a possibility you'll experience performance drops when working on prototypes with loads of assets and heavy elements. With that said, although it's not great, it's not terrible either.
Lastly, you can test out Figma by going for the free starter version. It comes with 3 free Figma files, an unlimited number of personal files, unlimited collaborators, and plugin & template support. It's a good choice if you want to get to know the software.
All in all, Figma is being used all around the world for its flexibility and effectiveness in creating web designs. However, if you're planning on writing some code and making the website itself - this isn't the web design software for you.
One interesting fact about DreamWeaver is that it is the most widely used piece of web design software in colleges and higher education. The reason for this is its vast capabilities for creating intuitive and creative web designs whilst also being a good choice for coding.
Considering Adobe Photoshop isn't very good for vector-based graphics design, the DreamWeaver has been seeing increased popularity for people who want to create websites. It's a fully-fledged HTML programming and web editor that is essential for most programmers and designers in managing dynamic websites.
Adobe DreamWeaver features coding assistance; a component that helps developers notice and fix mistakes, as well as offers them visual aids for even more recognition of errors.
Additionally, getting the website live with Adobe DreamWeaver is rather quick and easy considering a plethora of templates including templates for About pages, eCommerce pages, portfolios, newsletters, flexible and versatile mailers, blog pages, and more.
The downside of Adobe DreamWeaver is that it isn't very user-friendly nor is it simple. The software itself is extremely broad and comprehensive and as such, may discourage beginners from using it. Unfortunately, it isn't browser-based either which can cause issues further down the line with how browsers understand code compared to DreamWeaver itself.
When all is said and done, it's still one of the best web design software on the planet. You can try out the software for 7 days, after which you can either get just DreamWeaver for $20.99/month or the entire Creative Cloud for more than double that.
Just remember that if you want to take time to learn the software, it's best if you have a mentor or at least follow professional and comprehensive tutorials.
I have a lot of sentiment towards WordPress, mainly because it was the first website design software that I've used. Throughout my professional career, there have always been instances where I was in charge of a website built with WordPress (or at least hosted by it).
And from my experience, it is a great choice for smaller and medium-sized websites but nothing more than that. The reason being is that WordPress websites heavily rely on plugins and add-ons. While it sounds amazing to have the ability to customize a website so much, it isn't quite ideal because large websites with loads of plugins and add-ons get bogged down.
Apart from that, WordPress doesn't have a lot of negatives going for it. In fact, its positives are pretty strong in the grand scheme of things.
For one, you can use a free plan with enough features and functionalities to create a small website. But paid plans are where it's at. And they're cheap! Building a website with WordPress is not too complicated but it does take a while until you get a hang of it.
It also doubles as a CMS; perfect for websites with lots of media, hence why WordPress is popular among blog owners.
WordPress also offers hundreds of paid and free themes, all of which are responsive and beautiful. And even if you don't like any of them, you can import themes from elsewhere and use them in WordPress. You'll also find plenty of templates as well.
Additionally, WordPress paid plans come with a free domain and free hosting (since you already paid for it) which means you'll freely be able to build an eCommerce website, blog, and other website types with some nice graphic design solutions.
However, being one of the best web design software nowadays, on top of being one of the most popular, comes at a price. And that price is hackers. Although it doesn't happen often, WordPress servers can get under attack by hackers and that doesn't bode well for data security. Luckily, they've done a good job countering these attacks.
Overall, WordPress is a great choice if you're starting out and want to build a smaller site. The drag-and-drop builder is also pretty useful and works well with the themes they give you.
Weebly is by far the best web design software for building online stores and eCommerce solutions. It excels in providing you with features that are necessary for creating a website design for online stores, as well as various tools to enhance the store even further.
Each paid plan is better than the previous one but also more expensive. Even so, the prices are more than affordable and you can also get a free plan with some basic features and functionalities. Generally, the best web designing software should offer the possibility to create anything you want, but not Weebly.
This platform is almost completely focused on eCommerce and as such, isn't very rich in other areas. For example, Weebly doesn't have a lot of themes for you to pick from nor does it support plenty of plugins.
It's also tough migrating from Weebly to other CMS platforms which might be problematic for certain businesses and people. Nevertheless, Weebly is an exceptional piece of software thanks to its customizability and ease of use.
On top of that, you'll be able to implement and edit CSS & HTML codes without too much hassle. Weebly is also one of the more secure website creation platforms thanks to supporting DDoS migration as well as providing user websites with SSL certificates.
Finally, although there aren't a lot of themes, they're all customizable in many ways and completely responsive. Its drag-and-drop builder works similarly to WordPress's but users may find it a little less intuitive. Overall, if you're looking to create an online store or eCommerce platform - Weebly is the way to go.
Due to every single web design software being unique, they're all different in certain aspects. Although their primary goal is to help you build your own website, their approach has a few key distinctions. In this section, we'll go over the things you should look at and compare when choosing the best website design software for yourself.
Today's websites are made to be responsive, meaning, the aspect ratio and size of elements change depending on the size of the screen through which you're visiting the website. Essentially, when you access a website through a phone or tablet, the whole website adjusts so you still have a great user experience.
Unfortunately, there are instances where responsiveness hasn't been included and as such, the user experience suffers greatly since the website size stays the same. This generally pushes people away so always make sure to at least use mobile-responsive templates and specific graphic design features that allow for responsiveness. Otherwise, you'll end up losing traffic.
Although not all websites feature an online store, it's still a useful feature to have because you never know who might approach you to create an eCommerce platform for them. The good news is that eCommerce is generally easy to integrate and there are hundreds of options to choose from.
However, web design software usually doesn't have support for all of them so make sure to evaluate what eCommerce solutions are supported.
Third-party apps can enhance a website in various ways. Usually, when you're using a website-building platform such as WordPress, you'd want a couple of third-party apps and plugins to make the website even better.
Although third-party apps are useful, they aren't necessary to have so if you prefer a minimalist look and design for your website in which case, you don't have to use them. However, third-party app support is still nice to have in case a client wants something that you can't provide without using them.
Another aspect of professional web design software that isn't a necessity, but is incredibly helpful in both speeding up the web design process and making it easier. A drag and drop editor enables quick placement of graphical elements as well as contact forms, buttons, site links, and more.
The drop elements differ from web builder to web builder but in general, you'll be able to recognize them pretty easily.
In short, drag and drop editing works great in combination with proper web design software (like Figma) since you can quickly place the required elements wherever you want them.
Lastly, we reach the price. The website builder price is relatively low, if not completely free, but in most cases, it's because it comes with the web design software itself, or it's a barebones version of the full one.
Although the most expensive web design programs might seem inviting due to a plethora of features, you might be better off with cheaper versions (that work just as well) if you're just starting out. As an example, Adobe Dreamweaver is a great piece of web design software but it's somewhat expensive, especially for beginners.
On the other hand, WordPress offers their website building software for free, but you won't be able to host a custom domain unless you pay for a hosting plan.
These intricacies can be difficult to spot so make sure to be detailed in your review process. After all, you want the best for the amount you're willing to spend.
Web development tools predominantly serve the purpose of typing out the code for the website. In general, web design and website development are interconnected as web designers aim to connect the design itself with the code.
In layman's terms - both function (development) and form (design). However, web design software sometimes comes with a web builder that doesn't require code. One such example is WordPress; WordPress sites don't necessarily have to have any code (although it does allow for more customization).
Website builders are great extensions of website design software by virtue of them being very simple and easy to use. Instead of simply creating a web design in something like Figma and letting the developers connect the dots, you can prepare the website elements in advance wherever you want them.
The website builder is equipped with a drag and drop editor for an even easier time designing.
Not necessarily. While web builders are helpful and useful, they aren't powerful enough by themselves. It's best to use a combination of proper web design software and these builders for maximum effect.
Most web design tools have a certain learning curve that, although seems easy, does take some getting used to. You'll need to get acquainted with its user interface components, graphical design elements, and potentially marketing tools, analytics tools, and SEO tools as well.
With that said though, web design software is usually completely focused on the design aspect of each website. This means you probably won't encounter all the tools that are used in website creation and development.
So no, web design tools aren't too difficult to use but you will need to take some time to learn how to use them.
Specialized web design programs are usually oriented towards only one type of need. For example, Weebly is perfect for building eCommerce websites but isn't that good for other website types.
However, these kinds of web builders are still very useful. Sometimes, your clients will require a specific kind of website that may require a specialized web design program. This is why it's good to have them even if they might not excel in other categories, or have other web design tools implemented.
Whether it's free web design software or paid, there's no doubt that they're integral in today's website creation process. Modern website designers require loads of tools to finalize a design whether it's image editing, motion graphics support, or the ability to create their own design.
Only the best web design software can offer these tools, packed in an intuitive design that enables ease of use. If you take a look at any new, modern website, you'll see just how far we've come compared to how websites used to look.
So if you want to create web pages with relative ease, prepare an online store by using an eCommerce platform, or use professionally designed templates to make your ideas come to life - any of these pieces of web design software are for you. That is, depending on your needs and wishes.
Hopefully, this roundup review has been helpful in understanding the different types of web design tool requirements, as well as what you need to look out for. We wish you the best of luck with your web designing career!