The Cloud. It makes our lives simpler by giving us a wide range of powerful web tools at our finger tips. And, thanks to a competitive market, the cost of these tools is kept down, and the rate of innovation very high. Then there’s the impact it’s had on creative industries, with an explosion in the number of market places selling website, blog & cms themes; web icons & vector graphics. Never before has the opportunity to sell your wares as a web designer been so good. Now, there are tools that are going to make your working life easier. This can streamline your business & help grow your client list. Which ultimately leaves you more time to focus on what you love, the designing.
Take Dropbox for instance. True to its slogan, ‘Simplify Your Life’, this file storage, sync, backup, share & recovery cloud tool makes your life oh so simple when it comes to file management. Available on Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry its can be used on pretty much any device. Free accounts start with 2GB of storage but as a web designer its likely you would burst that in no time at all, paid individual accounts start at $9.99 with 100GB and for small agencies 5 person Team accounts start with 1TB. Perhaps one of its best features often slips under the radar, version control, which allows you to revert to a previous version of a file for a period of thirty days.
And then there’s Evernote. Simple to use, it works cross platform and is great for taking notes when you meet clients, want to record ideas, and quickly create To Do Lists. You can also record audio or video to grab whole meetings. There’s also the function to save webpages with ease using the handy browser plugins for Chrome or Firefox. Such is its popularity, many designers are now opting to dump using their word processing software and solely use this handy little application.
Websites are getting more complex and more often than not involve a collective group. One of the stand out tools for team management is Basecamp. Basecamp documents your project from start to finish easily allowing you to share tasks, calendars, meetings all with fine grained permissions.
Web designers are often tasked with finding and setting up the web hosting for their end client. And there are some excellent cloud options out there including the well know Amazon and the up-coming Memset. One of the main benefits of cloud hosting is that it allows web designers to test and scrap different configurations rapidly and cheaply.
When it comes to web designing, using these tools helps increase. But the web tools available via the cloud to actual do the task of designing and website construction are also on the up. Adobe is shifting its industry standard Creative Suite application to include cloud based applications. How it rises to meet the challenge of a new generation of designing and editing tools will be interesting, particularly, when these tools are so price competitive. Just look at the likes of Pixlr the free online picture editing tool to realise how this market is ripe for being shaken up. Whilst a lot of online design tools can’t match the Adobe Creative Suite tools for features, the gap is closing rapidly, making this an interesting time to get the best from The Cloud.
About the Author: Ben Jones is a tech consultant who has been helping a range of business large and small utilise cloud technologies to increase business efficiency around southern England.