The Best Mac Setup for Web Designers
If you are a web designer that uses Mac OS X to complete your work, you are part of a growing network of professionals that are choosing OS X more and more each day. OS X is very versatile in that it offers its users a wide range of software for designing, managing, developing and publishing websites. Of course, this smorgasbord of software doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know anything about it or which apps are good for what projects.
By knowing which applications are good for the projects you are working on, you will better prepare yourself for success and will gain a leg up on your competition. Here are some of the most current apps that successful web designers have been using to grow themselves as professionals.
Client and Project Management
Time is money, and anyone who doesn’t manage their time well will quickly find out that they aren’t even coming close to their earning goals. These apps are designed to help compartmentalize everything that is involved in working with your clients:
- Billings: This app helps users to manage the details of clients, billing and payments.
- iCal: iCal is bundled with OS X and offers users an easy way to track projects and deadlines.
- OmniPlan: This app is a bit more advanced than iCal and offers users Gantt charting, robust task management and an easy to use interface.
Everyone knows that images play a huge part in successful web design, and it’s important to have a program that affords you the features necessary to successfully design images for the web. There are many programs out there that pretend to offer users a variety of features, but these are ones that are proven to continually offer the best features on the market:
- Adobe CS4: Maybe the most famous of all design suites, the Adobe suite offers Photoshop and Illustrator, which are important for all web designers.
- Pixelmator: Since Adobe can be a bit on the pricier site, Photoshop competitor Pixelmator markets itself as the graphic design program for the “rest of us.” It is much cheaper than Photoshop and easy to use.
- GIMP: This program is completely free of charge. While it isn’t quite as powerful as Photoshop or Pixelmator, it does offer a lot of features for free.
Audio & Video
Another part of the visual element in web design is the audio and video that you choose to feature. A well-designed page includes audio and video that engages the audience with the interface in a way that keeps them coming back for more. If you are going to producing large amounts of video and audio you may need to look at external storage for your Mac. Check out these programs to ensure that you are able to create the audio and video that you need to be successful:
- Handbrake: Handbrake is completely free and allows users to convert just about any format of video into web format.
- ScreenFlow: While not free, ScreenFlow is perfect for anyone who is thinking about including a screencast on their website. It also features a wide range of editing tools.
- Audacity: Audacity is an open source app that is used for editing and coding audio.
Once you complete your design, you obviously are going to need a way to get it out in the world for everyone to see. This process doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, and these apps will ensure that your experience is neither of those:
- Transmit: Probably the most popular FTP client for the Mac, this program is highly functional and well designed.
- CyberDuck: This open-source application is robust and serves as a formidable rival to Transmit.
- YummyFTP: Yummy features auto-recovery of failed transfers, robust scheduling and FTP alias support.
For those looking to simplify their design process, there are programs that condenses everything a designer needs to go about their day into one package. These are some of the best:
- Coda: Coda is the original integrated web design environment for the OS X. Some would argue that it is the best, and it features robust CSS tools, live previewing and one-click publishing.
- Espresso: Espresso is a formidable competitor to Coda with a built-in code snippet manager.
- RapidWeaver: This is hands down the best of visual design apps on OS X and has an enormous community that creates hundreds of great themes.
This list is by no means comprehensive, and I encourage you to go out and search for even more great apps. However, these are some of the applications that experienced web designers have been successful with in the past, and you are likely to find something in here that works well for you. Good luck with your business, and keep improving your design skills with each day that passes.