Five Favorite Web Applications of Designers

Oct 17 2009 by Jacob Gube | 47 Comments

Webapps–compared to their desktop counterparts–have the distinct advantage of being flexible in terms of the environment they have to run in; if you have a web browser and an internet connection, you’re good to go. This allows designers who work in a variety of locations, from office cubicles to the neighborhood coffee shop, to do what they need to do without being bound to a single spot.

Last week, we asked readers what they thought the best web application for designers is, and here we share the top five favorites that gained the most votes. The web applications you’ll see here aren’t all specifically for designers but, as you’ll soon see, it’s not surprising why designers love them.

5. FreshBooks

FreshBooks

FreshBooks (coincidentally Six Revisions’ longest standing site sponsor) is a time-tracking and invoicing tool targeted towards freelancers. It’s perfect for project-based work, with the ability to keep your time logs, keep track of your expenses, create repeating invoices, and much, much more. FreshBooks comes in many flavors, and for those wanting to try before buying, the free version gives you all the features of the webapp (but is limited to only three clients). As a FreshBooker myself, I can’t say enough good things about this web application, only that it’s crucial for people who work on contractual jobs.

4. Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web application that tracks site statistics. This is a favorite tool amongst web designers for seeing how effective their web user interface designs are. It lets you create custom reports that you can PDF and ship off to your clients (you can use it to show the effectiveness of that recent redesign you did for them). I use Google Analytics on Six Revisions for traffic reporting, and it’s, without a doubt, the best web analytics out there – free or otherwise.

3. Basecamp

Basecamp

Basecamp is a project collaboration tool aimed mainly towards small-to-medium sized organizations. You can share and upload project files, create to-do lists, set milestones, participate in real-time collaboration (with Writeboard), and a lot more. I’ve been using Basecamp for roughly six months, and it’s made teamwork with co-workers and communication with clients a breeze.

2. DropBox

DropBox

DropBox is a file syncing tool that’s fast, reliable, and very easy to set up. DropBox also has a web interface that allows you to manage, upload, delete, and organize your synced files. DropBox is free, allowing you to store 2GB of files (and you can get up to 5GB for referring people to join) – if you need more storage space, the $100/year is more than worth it, especially if you’re using it for work. DropBox is my personal favorite: it’s become an essential component to my work.

1. Kuler

Kuler

Coming in at numero uno: Kuler, managing to garner nearly a third of the total votes, is a web application that lets you make, store, and share color schemes. It’s wonderful for remembering your favorite color combinations and getting color scheme inspiration for your design projects.

What’s your favorite webapp and why? Join the discussion in the comments.

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About the Author

Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions. He’s also a web developer/designer who specializes in front-end development (JavaScript, HTML, CSS) and PHP development. If you’d like to connect with him, head on over to the contact page and follow him on Twitter: @sixrevisions.

47 Comments

ArleyM

October 17th, 2009

Great list. I’ve fallen out of love with Kuler though, too many lame schemes. I miss colorblender.com. It’s still there, but my browser always gives an unsafe warning now.

felo

October 17th, 2009

very usefull thanks !!

Rachel

October 17th, 2009

Dropbox definately gets my vote.

Matt

October 17th, 2009

There are a lot of lame schemes on Kuler, but there’s also some great ones. Plus creating your own can be rewarding.

Bill Whetstone

October 17th, 2009

For me, Google Analytics is the hands down winner, but I am not a typical web designer, maybe more of an entrepreneur looking for ways to track my visitors.

Anyone interested in busting the Google Monopoly?
http://www.tvisio.com/google-monopoly-buster.html

Mike Smith

October 17th, 2009

Nice list. I use google analytics on everything I make. It’s awesome and much needed in my opinion for anyone who runs a website.

I use colourlovers.com over kuler though. I also use invoicemachine.com instead of freshbooks.

Jaime

October 17th, 2009

I truly think people use Kuler more because of their Adobe heritage then for its own merits. ColourLovers is a better resource. They have a better community, a more usable infrastructure, and arguably a better selection of “good” palettes. Besides, even though I couldn’t live without Adobe’s applications, I find the fact that they simple stole the concept from ColourLovers very distasteful.

Jean-Luc David

October 17th, 2009

Thanks for the list Jacob. As an alternative to DropBox, have you looked at Mesh? http://www.mesh.com It’s what I use to sync files across multiple computers, it’s free and works really well.

Fensonism

October 17th, 2009

I don’t have that much of a liking to Kuler as well. I prefer ColourLover which started everything before Kuler did.

John Falcon

October 17th, 2009

I find http://www.kohive.com to be much better than Basecamp, and they are soon integrating functionality like Dropbox and other apps so you get everything you need in a single place.

Inside the Webb

October 17th, 2009

Google Analytics has to be my favorite, and probably every webmasters favorite web app. It allows you full access to data and statistics that no other program can give you for FREE! Google definitely did something right when starting up Analytics and it’s still going strong today.

Greg Johnson

October 17th, 2009

I find it enlightening that 1/3 of people actually use and depend on something like kuler to provide color schemes for them.

This list would have easily made more sense inverted.

Andy Feliciotti

October 17th, 2009

dropbox is a really awesome tool, love the revision system they have

Montana Flyn

October 17th, 2009

Great list, I use them all except for basecamp!

Anterpreet Singh

October 17th, 2009

Good article, DropBox is very useful, looking at Kuler now

Arj

October 17th, 2009

Kuler, kuler, I know I have heard of that before… Oh yes wasn’t that the adobe site that ripped off http://www.colourlovers.com/ site design then had to change the site when they got called out on it?

Cursors

October 18th, 2009

I only just heard of DropBox a few days ago. On digg too. Now that I seen it on this site, I definately going to try it. 2gb is a lot! Hoping thing are keep private though.

Your Mother

October 18th, 2009

Colorblender.com would be great – if it weren’t BROKEN!

richard carpenter

October 18th, 2009

colorblender works fine my end mate.

jacob – great post

Mark @ Alchemy United

October 18th, 2009

Thanks Jacobs, nice list.

I also believe that PBWorks, as well as Adobe’s Acrobat/Buzzword are work checking out. As an add-on to Analytics, URL Builder is a must-do as well.

ak

October 18th, 2009

Great list. I’d add:
- for time traking: http://www.abuky.com
- for FTP Cyberduck: http://www.cyberduck.ch
- and google docs!

Moto Liege

October 18th, 2009

Nice article and very useful tools

john sammus

October 18th, 2009

projenypm.com > basecamp

Chris McCorkle

October 18th, 2009

Kuler for the definite win.

sergi

October 18th, 2009

you got me downloadin’ aptana for mac. i’ve been using text wrangler free version. let’s see if aptana will increase my efficiency.

on a side note, one thing i hate about text wrangler free version is its search function. however, its find/replace abilities are astounding.

the final question, i suppose: text wrangler free version or aptana for web development.

Arturas

October 19th, 2009

I’d choose http://www.comindwork.com for project management, and http://kuler.adobe.com is definitely number one on the list!

J Christian Brannigan-Odehnal

October 19th, 2009

What about the Zoho suite? Not aimed specifically at designers, but when it comes to general web applications it must surely be the most advanced out there.

Ben Mackler

October 19th, 2009

Im not really as big a fan of Google Analytics as I thought I would be. Yes, its one of the best but I find the numbers to be consistently off target a bit and slow to update its charts. Generally this is in relation to adsense vs overall traffic data. I think if they worked some of those kinks out and made it a bit more real time it would be a real amazing tool.

PelFusion

October 19th, 2009

i am using three of them and i love google analytic

Craig Wann

October 19th, 2009

I figured mailchimp would make the list! Regardless of the results, MC is number one to me!

Ben Mackler

October 20th, 2009

I am somewhat disappointed with Google Analytics. I expected it to be more accurate than it really is. It doesn’t seem to show the most up to date traffic and how it interfaces with adsense leaves a bit to be desired. I think they need to rework a few things including real time traffic. it is consistently a few thousand visits off each time I check it.

I think for wordpress users firestats is more accurate.

Web D

October 20th, 2009

am surprised to know that kuler is voted above colorlovers. though i haven’t used them much, i have definitely read more about the latter’s popularity. i’ll surely try kuler.

and without doubt google analytics tops my list… and for that matter any google product or service… am a really big fan of google.

thanks for the list.

HONOUR CHICK

October 20th, 2009

exccellent compilation… google analytic is the best.

web analytics

October 21st, 2009

Not too fond of GA anymore. That are plenty free and paid better alternatives to it.

Jonathan

October 21st, 2009

Never heard of Kular before. Very nice.

Google Analytics is cool but I prefer my server side stats.

Rayanne Langdon

October 21st, 2009

Thanks so much for the FreshBooks nod, Jacob! And to the people who gave their feedback that made this post possible : ) Happy to have you on team FreshBooker! ; )

Rayanne Langdon — Queen of Hearts, FreshBooks.com

Kim Jensen

October 22nd, 2009

@Your Mother: You’re very welcome to drop by at http://www.colorexplorer.com instead (has all the features from ‘blender plus loads more)

Priscilla

October 22nd, 2009

Nice list. But I would prefer DeskAway.com over Huddle.

John

October 26th, 2009

Google analytics is indispensable for any designer who wants to incorporate web metrics into their designs (which I think every web designer should do).

Another project management favorite among designers is Intervals, because it was built by and for designers.

Stu

November 10th, 2009

Might be worth looking at this free project management tool, really simple: http://www.projectbubble.com – plus it’s being updated all the time with new features.

denbagus

November 24th, 2009

nice web apps … very useful ,thank you

Bhavesh

March 10th, 2010

Nice list…Even though i use invoicera for my invoicing and time tracking. Very useful and simple, really liked their UI.

You can check their website at http://www.invoicera.com

Cheers!

Dave

May 7th, 2010

FreshBooks! Just what I was looking for! Thanks

Alexandra Buchanan

June 10th, 2010

One alternative to Basecamp which does exactly what you mentioned is Worketc. It is packed with features of a project management and collab tool, plus others such as invoicing and billing. For more objective comparison of Worketc and other leading crm/collab tool visit this site http://www.worketc.com/compare.

shelley

November 11th, 2010

I have an alternative named Proofhub and its features are unique and impressive. This software made work easy for designers in handling the projects.

zane walter

November 12th, 2010

Basecamp is not user friendly and flexible. In comparison to basecamp, proofhub is a good tool. It is flexible and easily handles projects with smooth conversation.

Apie

January 7th, 2011

No web designer will do without Google Analytics, i can’t just imagine myself not acquainted with that great tool. and of course “Kuler”.

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