In this article, Linda lays out 51 Web apps that you may be able to use for your home or independent design and development business.
No Mobile Device?
Unless your single uncle leaves you a good sum of money in his will, you may not have invested in a mobile device if you work at home. Even if you have, many designers and developers still use home computers or laptops for work. If you are tied to your computer, then you may want to use apps that are easily available to use on the Web, where you can collaborate and store information.
Most of you already know about social media apps, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – so I haven't included those networking devices in this list. Instead, I've included apps specific to self-employed individuals who work from home or who are independent contractors, with designers and developers in mind.
The following list is divided into categories, and each app is listed alphabetically within those categories. All apps are available to use online, so you do not need to download any software. Not all the apps are free, but most are reasonably priced, and most offer free trial offers to try the app before you plunk down some cash. You also may need to register to use some of these apps, even if they are free.
- CD Cover: Why go searching for a template when you can use this easy generator to upload artwork and add text?
- CSS Sandbox: The preview for this app is live, so you'll see changes immediately as you select different options.
- Dabbledb: Although recently acquired by Twitter, there seems to be no changes yet to this app that allows users to create online databases.
- Formatpixel: Create your own online magazines, fanzines, brochures, catalogues, portfolios and more with text, uploaded images, interactivity and customization. Free for 1 project and 512K storage.
- FormLogix: For designers who are not coders, this app creates forms for you, including the databases. They also have Contact us forms, Feedback forms, Events registration forms, Surveys, online Polls, Order forms, Invitations, CRM and more.
- Letterpop: Use this app to create newsletters, actionable presentations, invitations, product features, event summaries, informative club updates and catalogues – anything you can print or introduce online is here. Individual plans start at about $25.00 per year.
- Mocksup: Upload Web site to Mocksup so clients can view the work. First project, with up to ten mockups, is free.
- My Brochure Maker: If you need a brochure tomorrow, use the custom templates at this site to create your project.
- Templatr: This beta app enables users to build a template online and download the finished package.
- Concept Feedback: Post your website, landing page, mockup, or wireframe and get design, usability, and marketing feedback from a community of online professionals.
- ConceptShare: Easily share media and invite others to add and reply to comments, approve artwork, and markup on visuals. First 30 days are free.
- Colaab: Review and collaborate on documents, images and video online and in real time.
- Creately: This is a full-featured diagram drawing app with a user friendly, intuitive interface. which allows for easy co-working and sharing of diagrams.
- Dribble: This app allows designers, developers and other creatives to show parts of their current works with a little sports lingo mixed in. It's also a fantastic resource for feedback and community.
- Entri: Try this free collaborative tool for writing and sharing documents. When you're finished, you can click on the "Get HTML" button to copy and paste the HTML.
- Notebox: With Notebox both you and your clients can now make notes directly on your design, allowing the notes to appear in context.
- PBWorks: Create password-protected wikis instantly for any collaborative purposes.
- Vyew: This platform provides real-time interaction for content, presentations and training for you, your clients and your network.
- Writeboard: Collaborate with colleagues on copy, proposals, memos, etc. with this free tool. You can create as many writeboards as you'd like and invite as many people to collaborate on the writeboards. Writeboard requires Internet Explorer 6.x, Safari, or Firefox.
Linda Goin carries an A.A. in graphic design, a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in social media experiments.
Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.
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