Best web design software in 2019


X Scalper

As with any great endeavor, web design is about both inspiration and perseverance. Back in the day, creating web pages was the sole province of hardcore coders, but that’s not the case anymore given that there are numerous tools to simplify the process. Some of these even have a visual interface, allowing you to drag and drop links, text and images as if you were designing a poster or presentation.

Other web design tools are geared towards programmers, acting as advanced text editors, and allowing for building a website line-by-line. However, most web design tools exist somewhere between these two extremes.

In this guide we have focused on five of the very best tools currently available. When weighing up which to include, we have focused on ease of use, supported web languages, cost, and how easy the tools make it to upload the finished project once you are done.

If this is your first time building a website we recommend using a free tool such as Bluefish before spending any money. All premium tools covered in this guide offer a trial version, in any case, so you can get an idea of what they’re about before you commit.

If web design software is too complicated for you, then you might want to try online website builders that focus on simplicity and ease of use rather than on offering an extensive feature set.

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1. Adobe Dreamweaver CC

Customize your design

Build a responsive design

HTML5 support

Not cheap

Adobe Dreamweaver is a long-established app that allows you to code your website design directly, without having to know too much about programming. The software works through a mix of visual editing and HTML editing, which means it shouldn’t have too steep a learning curve for most users.

Additionally, while coding your own website design requires you to put in more effort than simply using an existing readymade template, at least you have the chance to ensure you get the look you actually want, rather than trying to work around someone else’s design specifications.

A particularly good feature of Dreamweaver is that it allows you to produce a responsive design, which means your website can be optimized to display on desktops as well as mobile devices, without limiting the user experience.

However, if you are a more advanced user you may be pleased to note that Dreamweaver provides multi-monitor support for Windows. It also supports the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) to work with HTML5 elements and CSS grids. Additionally, there’s also support for Git to allow you to edit source code directly from within Dreamweaver. 

Dreamweaver is available as part of Adobe’s mid-range packaged app subscription service, Creative Cloud, which also includes Photoshop. The subscription costs from $20.99 a month if you pay annually, and also comes with a month’s free access to Adobe Stock image. Alternatively, if you only wish to pay monthly, it costs $31.49 per month.

2. Bluefish

Lightweight and easy to use – a big fish in a small pond

Lightweight and quick

Use advanced code via wizards

No visual interface

Bluefish is amongst the smallest web design tools available today. The tiny installer weighs in at just under 53MB and setup takes only a few moments. While the interface is text-only, it’s clearly designed with novices in mind as it employs clear-cut toolbars, user customizable menus and syntax highlighting.

While the main focus is on HTML, Bluefish supports a huge range of other languages including PHP, Java, JavaScript, SQL, XML and CSS. Unlike visual WYSIWYG web design tools, the text interface makes for much cleaner code.

Bluefish has an excellent search function, allowing you to find text across multiple projects. The tool also has no trouble juggling hundreds of documents at the same time. Although Bluefish supports working with remote files, the varied and useful dialogs and wizards don’t currently support direct upload of web pages via FTP.

Despite the best efforts of the developers, Bluefish may take some time to get used to. The tool is available free of charge, however, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. During our test on a Windows 10 PC we found we had to install GTK+ 2.24.8 in order to run Bluefish. A download link for GTK is available via the Bluefish website.

3. Atom Text Editor

Easy to use

Add libraries

Change theme

No visual interface

Atom is an open source editor for designing, developing, and editing code. It’s very easy to use and there are developer tools to simplify the process. The integrated packet manager also means you can add additional features directly from Github, who developed Atom, and there’s a drag-and-drop feature for moving files and folders around.

While a lot of people may be intimated by the idea of coding if they have no programming experience, at some point in the web design process it can be important to be able to edit code directly. This is particularly helpful if you want to customize code for existing software add-ons in order to get the features you want for your website. 

Note that existing text editing apps are not good for working with code as they insert additional formatting that can render your code useless. Hence the need for a dedicated code editor.

However, Atom is free to download and use, and the extensive range of libraries available could be especially helpful. Furthermore, Atom’s user interface can be tweaked and customized directly or via installing the third-party themes that help you work best, or the ones which simply make the program easier to use. Atom also comes with a very strong support community.

4. Google Web Designer

An excellent tool for creating interactive content

Simple WYSIWYG interface

Support for YouTube and Google Maps

Primarily designed for creating ads

Google Web Designer is primarily for creating interactive content in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. In plain English, this means its primary function is to build ads.

The good news is that this is done via an extremely simple to use GUI which incorporates point-and-click design tools covering text, basic shapes, 3D animations and much more. Any 3D features are shown on a timeline at the bottom of the window. The panels on the right-hand side of the interface allow you to fine-tune further options such as colors.

Google Web Designer also incorporates a handy library of extra components such as images, videos and other advertising tools.

Advanced users can toggle between the default ‘design’ view and ‘code’ view, which is why the tool can support creation of more advanced features besides ads – provided you have the knowledge and patience to program these yourself.

Google Web Designer is still in beta testing, so lacks certain features such as being able to open HTML files created outside the tool. Nevertheless, it does include a handy web preview option which will open your current project in your default browser. You can also automatically publish content. This Google offering is available free of charge for Windows, macOS and Linux.

5. Webflow

Cloud-based offering that needs no coding knowledge




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