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What Programs / Apps do you guys design your websites with?

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by richimgd, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Hi Guys and Girls,

    I have been designing and building sites for a few years and normally use Adobe Illustrator CS4 myself, but sometimes find it a bit too fiddley when it comes to some design. I like the speed of InDesign CS4 but it doesn't support multiple size pages within the same document, so its a bit annoying for website design since you often need multiple size pages. Fireworks is something I have never really got into. Photoshop is nice for more finalised designs, but the typography tools are horrible to use. Its good in combination with illustrator though (using smart objects).

    I know with InDesign CS5 it now supports multiple size pages with one document, so I might start using that for various stages of the project. Has anyone else used this? I know its traditionally a print program, but it does support 72dpi / pixel based units.

    So, if I list a few various stages of a project (I might have missed some, feel free to add), I welcome your suggestions of what you use. I will give a brief bit of info of what I use.

    A) SiteMap: Omnigraffle (for mac) or Adobe InDesign
    B) Wireframe: Omnigraffle (for mac) or Adobe Illustrator
    C) Initial Design: Adobe Illustrator
    D) Final Design Stage: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop + Adobe Illustrator

    What do you guys think?
  2. Harry

    Harry Senior Member

  3. Sunburn

    Sunburn Active Member

    @ harry +1
  4. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Ah notepad, the classic. I would use that to write code in some instances or to ensure I have removed formatting on text.. but I'm talking about designing :p
  5. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Initial Design & Final Design...

    Photoshop, whilst it's typography tools might not be as polished as Illustrator it does allow you to set the anti-aliasing for text so you can give clients a more accurate view of how the finished site will actually look once developed, something Illustrator can't do.

    Photoshop is also more convenient for developers to slice the images and code the design to xHTML/CSS from my experience, usually prefered over .AI files or InDesign zips.

    Harry, will no doubt tell you about designing in the browser too :)
  6. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Cheers for the tips. I had a client (well a comapny) who went crazy when someone I worked with designed something with InDesign, even though it was all at 72dpi. They insisted that we converted the designs to Fireworks (which was a massive headache to do). I know of a lot of people who prefer Illustrator, but it does have its cons Greg pointed some of them out. Although I could export the whole design as, a PNG / Jpeg which would anti alias the type would it not? I know photoshop does give more options when it comes to that, and it gives you the classic photoshop tools / layer management etc.

    I am interested in InDesign CS5, because I like the way InDesign manages pages in terms of hardware / memory management. I.e its very quick, only attempts to display one page at once, and can have high res preview switched on when needed. All of this Illustrator fails at IMO.
  7. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    I don't think it would, not in the sense of creating type that looks as close to how it will show in a browser as possible.
    eg. here's some type set to the same size as the forum text, with anti-alias set to none..

  8. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Not really a web designer but I am doing my own site (if I ever get it finished)

    I use pen and paper to design my site first :p
    Then it's photoshop
    I personally use golive followed by hand coded cleaning up as it's not my field of design

    Have looked into flash catalyst a little though and that looks like a good tool for showing clients how the site may work etc.
  9. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Ah I see what you mean...
  10. FiveAgainstOne

    FiveAgainstOne Junior Member

    SiteMap and Wireframe I usually do in Fireworks. I have a document template that I use which has objects created so that I can copy and paste them into my new document. Makes wireframing in particular really quick to do.

    Initial designs are almost always done in Photoshop using the exported Fireworks wireframe as a guide. I am more familiar with Photoshop than other tools, so prefer to work from that. I tend to build up my design in stages. Initial design can be a bit rougher but let's me see pixel perfect layouts.

    When I come to finalise the design I almost always have a html version kicking off, so that I can make sure that what I am displaying in photoshop can be achieved in the finished xhtml version.
  11. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Thats interesting because since I use InDesign sometimes, I have Design Premium at work rather than Web Standard / Web Premium when it comes to Adobe Software... I will look into Flash Catalyst (When / if I get CS5!) Just reminded myself of what GoLive is, and it seems Adobe have stopped developing for it, focusing on Dreamweaver instead.
  12. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Good tips about the wireframe template. I guess thats a very good time to use a template. I normally try to avoid templates (baisc or not) when it comes to design stage, just because I know I would get lazy and make all my sites look the same :p
  13. Harry

    Harry Senior Member

  14. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I tried using dreamweaver once golive had it's updates stopped and it just doesn't seem as efficient for me, it's menu's etc just seem unfamiliar. Having said that it's lack of updates doesn't really matter as I seem to be doing a lot of the css by hand (probably not neat enough by Harry's standards) due to css3 bits and I basically just use golive to get the 'base' design layed via wysiwyg. Then I go and tidy it up, it may not be as efficient as hand coding but like I say it's not my main field :)
  15. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    That is a concept that I have looked into more, I know there an extension in firefox that overlays a design into the browser to help get the code so the site your developing arrives at pixel perfection. At the moment I'm torn between photoshop and Illustrator (and perhaps indesign). I normally explain to my clients that fonts are always going to vary slightly (in particular, body copy) since peoples versions of the fonts vary from user to user so text might flow differently in terms of line breaks etc. So I havent had a client grill me for text not looking so smooth.
  16. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Fair play it might be good enough now, but I guess sooner or later you will have to move to Dreamweaver :p
  17. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    not likely unless dreamweaver starts doing 3D design :p
  18. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Well I dont think thats going to happen any time soon :p
    I'm not a fan of using out of date software, as it doesn't always play nice if you ever update / upgrade your system...

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