The Tools I Use to Get the Job Done #1

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Recently, I had a discussion with someone about the tools I use. They wanted to know what tools I used most often and why. I thought this would be a good blog article. Often I tend to stick with ones that have proven their worth to me, this doesn’t mean I don’t try new stuff because I actually love trying new stuff. However, if new tools can’t live up to my expectations, or is entirely too complicated or cumbersome to use it gets dropped.
Go ahead check out my lists and why I use them. What tools do you use?

Color Pickers

This tool category, helps me pick colors to use in the production of all my web media and they have been known to help me a tad with my print media as well. Sometimes, finding the right color can be the hardest part of the job, these tools make that part much easier.

Color Scheme Designer
Color-Scheme-Designer Screenshot
Color Scheme Designer – I like this one because of all the choices it offers in choosing just the right color. You can adjust saturation, brightness, and contrast. In addition, I have the following choices in my scheme colors mono, triad, complimentary, tetrad, analogic, and accent analogic. Then I can grab the hex color codes easy as pie. I tend to use this tool 90% of the time when choosing my colors.

0 to 255
0 to 255 screenshot
0 to 255 – This tool offers me a great way to refine a shade. I tend to use this as an addition to the Color Scheme Designer. If for example I like a color in Color Scheme Designer, but it isn’t quite the shade I was hoping for, perhaps I want the same color in a lighter or darker version, but like the other choice Color Scheme gave me, I can come to 0 to 255 and get just that 1 color changed. I find this tool very useful.

Browser Stats Research

These tools I use to help me decide on what browsers I am going to support for any website I am doing at the time. While every site its own unique requirements that also play a role, it is still important to know who is using what browsers at the time of development. Browser support is only 1 choice designers must make when building a website, but it is a very important part.

Stat Counter Global Stats
Stat Counter Global Stats
Stat Counter Global Browser Stats – This is the stat counter I use the most. I find the drill down to be most helpful. I can zero in on country, browser version, and time period. I feel over all this tool gives the most accurate stats. I do check a few other browser stat tools, most back-up these results.

W3 Schools Browser Stats
W3 Schools Browser Stats
W3 Schools Browser Stats – I hesitate to mention this one because I have found the numbers to be off a little too often. However, as these are the guys we are told to pay attention to because they are the rule makers I do check them out every so often.

HTML Email Helpers

I only use or have used one of these services as they are a pay to use service, it makes it difficult to try others out. There are many out there, some may be better than this one but, this is the one I know because it is the one my current employer uses.

Constant Contact
Constant Contact

Validation Services

I use the W3C Validation Services, however, I would like to make an observation . . . these guys don’t always get it right. They can help no doubt but read all your errors. Some of the errors they give you are not really errors, but choices you had to make for that site. This doesn’t mean you should check it, but do take what they say with a grain of salt.

Markup Validation Service
W3C HTML Validation Service
W3C HTML Validation Service checks your markup for errors. I don’t usually have too much to complain about with this particular service. I haven’t run across too many errors with this one.

W3C CSS Validation Service
W3C CSS Validation
W3C CSS Validation Service checks your CSS files for errors. This one I have to watch and read closely, they mark things that really boil down to choices we have to make as designers. However, it does point out glaring errors when they are present.

W3C Mobile Friendly Checker
W3C Mobile Friendly Checker
W3C Mobile Friendly Checker Service checks your site or files for their mobile friendliness. I haven’t used this tool a whole lot yet, so my verdict is still out on this one. It is important to note though, this is not really validation so much as checking to see how well your site will perform on mobile devices. This website had quite a few problems with it, but most of them were to due to file sizes and having lots of images. Well, this is a portfolio site so of course, I am going to have lots of images, I am unsure of how to have a site such as this and still reduce the how many images are here. If anyone else has got any ideas on that, let me know.

Lorem Ipsum Text

When I first started out as a web designer I would see other designers use filler text in their production cycles. I wondered where they got this dummy text for filling areas out. I don’t use this a lot once I start writing code, but I do tend to use this when I do mock-ups.

Lipsum
Lipsum screen shot

Okay, I think I am going to close this article, for now, I didn’t realize how long it had gotten. Look for part 2 soon, there has to be a part 2 because there are more tools that I haven’t mentioned yet. Stay tuned for the next one. Until then happy coding everyone!

Part 2 of The Tools I Use to Get the Job Done

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