Published on by: James H. Hobson
Aspiring Web Designer Reality Check
There is a consistently high search volume for web design software. I personally think that this search trend will be followed by a high number of really bad websites tossed into the internet. We've worked with countless people who thought they, or a friend, family member or guy down the street, was going to save them a lot of money and build them a great website. This never ends well, at least not when viewed through the eyes of professionals. But for the do it yourself crowd, here's an article on web design software.
In reality, there is no such thing as "web design software". There are HTML editing and graphics design programs and software. You cannot include "design skills" in a product box or a CD which means that buying software is not the end-all solution. Even a fine Stradivarius is worthless in the hands of a monkey, meaning the software is only as good as the user.
Web Building vs. Web Design
Website building is totally unlike website design. Website design is largely about site architecture and usability. Website building is essentially writing code that renders the desired design, and is search engine friendly. Both web design and web coding require years of study and practical application in order to prepare an individual to produce professional deliverables.
Buy What Fits Your Needs
Before You Buy Software
Before you buy any web design software you need to understand some basic language and concepts. First, if you undertand how to write code you can actually create a website in Notepad. You don't need expensive software to create a website, and it certainly makes no sense to spend a lot of money if your intention is to build one site. Code is code, and although web design software greatly speeds the coding process it is nearly worthless when used by a novice.
There are no magic programs or software to create an award winning site. If there were such magical solutions professional designers would be using it. At this point in this article we'll assume that you have adequate understanding to take on a web project. Your family and friends may pat you on the back but remember that they too don't understand web design or coding.
If you are new to website design the premier products are not for you! Make an honest assessment of your skills. Find something that allows you to best apply your skills and that has some features you can learn.
About Web Design Software
Before you start your search for a web design software or program solution you need to have a checklist of desired features and capabilities.
HTML Editor Software
Dreamweaver CS6 ($400)is the newest version by Adobe, and is our personal pick as "The Best". Dreamweaver® has an incredibly rich visual interface that is perfect for making traditional websites and mobile app design. Dreamweaver works virtually seamlessly with sister graphics design products like Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Fireworks® and Creative Cloud®. A tremendous improvement in CS6 is the fluid grid layout for creative adaptive layouts with cross platform compatibility.
Dreamweaver® allows easy file management, highly responsive built-in FTP with an updated Live View and slick multi-screen preview panels to review your work in progess. Other popular features are phonegap support, fast insertion of HTML5 elements, jQuery mobile support and CSS3 transitions. This awesome web design software is should be purchased directly from Adobe or a reputable store to make sure you are getting a licensed copy.
Microsoft Expression Web®
Microsoft Expression Web® 3.0 ($100) is perhaps the best of the low budget HTML editing software. Presently your licensed 3.0 version comes with an offer of a free upgrade to version 4.0. You can buy this web design software at places like Office Depot or any of a number of online stores.
Microsoft Expression Web® has built-in support for modern web standards. It has sufficient CSS design functionalities, and visual diagnostic tools. This program allows you to work with HTML, XHTML, PHP. XML, XSLT, Flash, CSS, Photoshop® and more. Additionally it integrates quite well with MS Visual Studio® and Expression Studio®.
Beginner Web Design Software
CoffeeCup® (FREE Download) is an easy to use and popular web design software and HTML editor. Coffee Cup does support HTML5 and CSS2, and has tools for tag referencing, validation, and color selector. Obviously this is not a truly professional solution but it is easy to use and works well for a novice web designer.
Web Easy Professional® 9
Web Easy Professional® 9 ($50) provides you with a step-by-step guide to use any of its 120 built-in templates and e-comm tools without any real knowledge of programming languages or coding. Features include social media integration, simplified workflow and slider zoom in-out controls.
NetObjects Fusion® XII
NetObjects Fusion® XII ($110) is advertised as a program for a fast and easy way to build, promote and manage a website. This program features a mobile site wizard, Google Analytics integration, built-in image library and a healthy stock of website templates.
AceHTML 6.6 Pro®
Serif WebPlus® X6
Serif WebPlus® X6 ($100) is designed for user who have virtually no knowledge of coding but at least basic computer skills. This program offers templates for fast start projects and allows for hand coding to create custom web code. This program has drag and drop buttons, social media sharing buttons, and easy to use color selectors and photo editing.
Other Web Design Software Programs
There are numerous other products which can be found with a few online searches. Any of the products mentioned above can get a novice web builder off to a good start.
If you're still unsure about any of these web design products, you may want to explore popular Open Source platforms. Wordpress and Joomla are very popular. Advanced users may be interested in products such as BuddyPress, LimeJS, Pligg, KickApps, Less Framework4, Elgg, 52Framework, and Mixxt.