Useful design tools

OK, so I know I was going to talk about the future of online font display this week, but I’ve changed my mind. I got kind of sidelined playing around with Typetester, so I’m going to talk about really useful tools for design development.

Typetester is an online application for comparing fonts for on-screen use. It handily puts fonts into three different groups:
• safe list
• Win default
• Mac default

And according to the site, as new fonts are bundled into operating systems, the lists on the site will be updated. It also spits out the CSS, which could save a few milliseconds I presume.

Another app I’ve been firing up on a regular basis is xScope, a useful set of tools to measure, magnify and most handily, create a customisable transparent ‘safe area’ to lay over screen designs.

For years my teams had been using an old .psd template I’d created that took into account all the chrome of various browsers – so this is a joy to use. Where and how you break the screen pages was a subject of a previous post, but with Xscope you can get an idea of what people are going to see easily and quickly. It’s also very quick for the team to bring up when I ask what’s viewable initially at different screen sizes.

Finally for this week, Adobe’s Kuler is pretty cool. A colour collaboration website where you can view colours, colour palettes and create, share and store swatches. It’s a lot of fun to play around with when you’re thinking about look and feel.

There are a lot more tools and applications out there, and many I’m sure I’ve never seen – so please do add your suggestions and I’ll draw up a list of the most popular ones. These types of tools for mobile devices could be very handy, so if you know of any please let me know.