25 Essential Web Services for Designers

Sometimes, it can be difficult to track down all of the amazing web services that are available around the web. In this list, we’ll show you 25 essential services that all designers should consider using.

Domainr

What: Pick a original domain name with other TLDs, in the del.icio.us fashion
Cost: Free
Link: http://domai.nr
Why:

Desirable .com domain names are scarcer than profitable investment banks. But Domai.nr makes finding pithy URLs easy by querying 280 top-level domains and another 2,014 second-level ones for domain hacks, turning real English words into unique and memorable Web addresses like del.icio.us, internetfamo.us, gee.ky, and iamthewalr.us. Plus, it’s free. — Wired

Are My Sites Up?

What: Check whether your websites are up or not and get noticed when they go down.
Cost: Free for up to 5 sites; $25/$50/$75 per year for premium services.
Link: http://aremysitesup.com
Why:

When your websites go down, shouldn’t you be the first to know?
Our free plan will check up to five of your sites at least 25 times per day. You get unlimited email and SMS notifications and we will do our best to tell you WHY your site was down by providing the HTML status error code.

Our premium plans offer significantly more features: Faster site checks, an iPhone application, RSS feeds, Twitter integration, Keyword search, premium-level support, and more!

All for just one dollar per site per year (or cheaper!).

Templatr

What: Create a simple design with little or no effort.
Cost: Free
Link: http://templatr.cc
Why:

It should should be easy to create an individual Design with the templatr. With a little experimentation you will be able to reach the desired result much more quickly than with endless written explanations.

Color Scheme Designer

What: Select color schemes and save them for later use.
Cost: Free
Link: http://colorschemedesigner.com
Why:

If you are making a website – and who isn’t lately – you need to make a theme for the site. I an not stylistically inclined and am also colorblind, so I have a couple tools that I use when building sites that help me with that side of things. One of them is ColorSchemeDesigner.com – a really great tool to help you get your colors right. — james R Sullivan

CSS Sandbox

What: Experiment with CSS styles in real time
Cost: Free
Link: http://aurelio.net/css-sandbox/
Why:

A toy.
A teacher.
A live demo.
A quick reference.
A web application.
A single HTML page.

The CSS Sandbox can be described by all these sentences.

It’s a simple and quick web toy that lets you explore CSS in real time. Just click and see the effect instantly, no Reload needed. It’s fast and funny!

Once you’re satisfied with the style of the Sandbox, roll your mouse over the handy CODE button. A panel will pop, showing all the necessary CSS code to apply that formatting to your own site.

Typetester

What: Compare screen type
Cost: Free
Link: http://www.typetester.org
Why:

The Typetester is an online application for comparison of the fonts for the screen. Its primary role is to make web designer’s life easier. As the new fonts are bundled into operating systems, the list of the common fonts will be updated.

BrowserCam

What: Cross Browser Compatibility Testing Tools
Cost: 24 hours free trial; prices vary from $20 to $1000/month
Link: http://www.browsercam.com
Why:

See your web design on any browser on any operating system. Check javascripts, DHTML, forms and other dynamic functionality on any platform. Not just yours. Use our bank of testing machines remotely to test your website.

Genfavicon

What: Convert images into favicons for your website.
Cost: Free
Link: http://www.genfavicon.com
Why:

Genfavicon is a site that features an application that allows you to create an icon out of the image of your choice. Simple select your image, by pasting in the URL address or uploading the image. Then choose which part of the image you wish to make the icon by dragging the mouse and cutting the desired shape. You must then select the size of your icon; 16X16, 32X32, 48X48, 64X64, or 128X128.
Preview what you have chosen and then finalize your icon.
You can then use your icon for your webpage or any other place you would like to put it.
Making your favicon could not be easier, in three quick steps you have made an icon that you can easily paste on your webpage. — KillerStartups

Time59

What: Track time and expenses, handle invoicing and payments.
Cost: Risk-free 30 days trial, $49.95 per year
Link: http://time59.com
Why:

Be more organized with less effort. Time59 keeps track of the work you do, gets your invoices out quickly, and manages client payments. Your Time59 account can be accessed from any internet connected computer… at home, at your office, or on the road. Getting started with Time59 is easy. There’s nothing to install, just sign up and you’re ready to go.

Remember The Milk

What: Manage tasks intuitively and interact with other web services
Cost: Free. Pro account are $25/year
Link: http://www.rememberthemilk.com
Why:

Remember The Milk is the best way to manage your tasks online (obviously ;) .

Managing tasks is generally not a fun way to spend your time. We created Remember The Milk so that you no longer have to write your to-do lists on sticky notes, whiteboards, random scraps of paper, or the back of your hand. Remember The Milk makes managing tasks an enjoyable experience.

We offer a web application (on this site) and a number of additional Services to help you be more organized and productive.

Basecamp

What: Project collaboration tool
Cost: Free 30 days trial; from $24 to $149/month, depending on number of projects and storage
Link: http://www.basecamphq.com
Why:

Basecamp is online project management software. People can create, manage and communicate tasks, files and to-do lists. — AppAppeal

RescueTime

What: Automated time tracking and management
Cost: 14 days free trial. Solo light account available for free; Pro account upgrade costs $8/month
Link: http://www.rescuetime.com
Why:

RescueTime is a tool that allows you to easily understand and optimize how you and your team spends their time and attention. One of the most important things about RescueTime is that there is NO DATA ENTRY. You install a small application on the computers at your company and we magically track what software and which web sites are actively being used.

Mint

What: Web site analytics
Cost: A single site license is $30
Link: http://haveamint.com
Why:

Mint is an extensible, self-hosted web site analytics program. Its interface is an exercise in simplicity. Visits, referrers, popular pages and searches can all be taken in at a glance on Mint’s flexible dashboard.

CrazyEgg

What: Supplement your analytics with visuals and actionable data
Cost: Plans start at $9/month
Link: https://crazyegg.com
Why:

Analytics only give you a static interpretation of your site visitor’s activities. You may be able to tell how many people have visited your site, or viewed a particular page, but you won’t be able to gauge effectiveness of design elements, link placement or popular areas of your site. If you want to know where people are clicking on your site, and which areas could use improvement, you need Crazy Egg. Crazy Egg helps you visualize your visitors.

ConsoleFish

What: Access your secure shell server
Cost: Free
Link: http://serfish.com/console/
Why:

As a free AJAX SSH client, the consoleFISH provides web-based access to any SSH server. It can be used to bypass firewalls and proxies on a secure HTTP connection. Moreover, the consoleFISH makes it possible to anonymously open SSH connections as the IP address of the connecting web client is not sent to the remote system.

SurFTP

What: Web-based FTP client
Cost: Free
Link: http://surftp.com
Why:

Once you are logged in, you will be able to navigate the FTP server, upload files, download files, zip files, unzip files, install software, copy, move and delete, copy or move to a second FTP server, rename and chmod.

Heroku

What: in-browser Ruby on Rails development environment
Cost: Free for basic usage; up to hundreds for add ons and performances
Link: http://heroku.com
Why:

There are two sides to Heroku’s offering. The first is a completely in-browser development environment where RoR programmers can build their apps instead of doing so with software on their own computers. [...]
The second aspect to Heroku’s offering, which it is promoting with new materials on its website today, will allow RoR developers to not only build their apps with Heroku but to host and scale them there as well. — TechCrunch

Bespin

What: Open, extensible web-based framework for code editing
Cost: Free
Link: https://bespin.mozilla.com
Why:

Bespin is a Mozilla Labs experiment that proposes an open, extensible web-based framework for code editing that aims to increase developer productivity, enable compelling user experiences, and promote the use of open standards. [built using HTML5 technology]

Google AJAX APIs playground

What: Online script development tools
Cost: Free
Link: http://code.google.com/apis/ajax/playground/
Why:

Google’s AJAX APIs let you implement rich, dynamic web sites entirely in JavaScript and HTML. You can add a map to your site, a dynamic search box, or download feeds with just a few lines of JavaScript.

With AJAX APIs Playground you can try all these functions with save & Export features! — Feedmyapp

Snipplr

What: Social snippet repository
Cost: Free
Link: http://snipplr.com
Why:

Snipplr is a public source code repository that gives you a place to store and organize all the little pieces of code that you use each day. Best of all, it lets you share your code snippets with other coders and designers. Did we mention it works with TextMate, too? It’s code 2.0.

Wofoo

What: Form builder
Cost: Free for limited number of entries and one form only; from $9.95/month for more intensive usage
Link: http://wufoo.com
Why:

Wufoo strives to be the easiest way to collect information over the Internet.

Our HTML form builder helps you create contact forms, online surveys, and invitations so you can collect the data, registrations and online payments you need without writing a single line of code.

Dabble DB

What: Online database
Cost: Free, but data is public; all data private and secure for $8/month
Link: http://dabbledb.com
Why:

Dabble DB is a web-based application that lets you work with data on your own terms. Instead of downloading an application, you upload your data and then build your own database application. You can import existing data or just start from scratch. Extend it or change it as you go. Restructure and redefine how you organize your data on a whim.

Writeboard

What: Collaborative writing software
Cost: Free
Link: http://writeboard.com
Why:

Writeboards are sharable, web-based text documents that let you save every edit, roll back to any version, and easily compare changes.
Use writeboardto write solo or collaborate with others.

Zoho Suite

What: Productivity, collaboration and business apps
Cost: Free for personal use; pricing varies depending on the services needed
Link: http://www.zoho.com
Why:

While Google Docs seems to be the first product people think of when online office suites come up, the lesser-known Zoho Suite offers more apps and features. See how Zoho stacks up against Google Docs. — LifeHacker

Box

What: Online storage
Cost: Free Lite plan; paid plans start at 5.66/month after a 14 days trial
Link: http://box.net
Why:

Box.net serves up more than a quarter billion files every year, so we know the innovative, evolving ways that businesses use Box and we understand that the people creating content are just as important as the content itself. With this in mind, we bring together the best of traditional content and collaboration tools with the most effective elements of social software to create business solutions that not only capture and centralize the knowledge of an organization, but also connect that knowledge across dispersed teams for enhanced collaboration and discovery.



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