I recently caught a great post on the new site from Steven Snell of Vandelay Website Design that gave a brilliant list of 200+ Resources for Freelance Web Designers. A very thorough list, but there were just a few others in my toolbox that weren’t covered – so here they are.
Meet, Sandy. She’s my virtual assistant. She reminds me of meetings, due dates, she keeps my to-do list in order and I don’t pay her a cent. I just email, txt or twitter her something to remind me of and she takes care of it. I love my Sandy.
Twiddla, it’s basically an online whiteboard. You can meet privately with a collaborating designer or client and talk about ideas while seeing each others sketches.
Screenflow is a screencasting software for Mac. I use this when I need to give a client instructions (like making a customized tutorial for them to use their CMS) or with collaborating designers to give feedback on projects. It’s super easy to use! You can purchase it for $99 or try out the 14 day trial here. This program becomes very useful when you need to talk with visual concepts but are not able to meet with the client/designer in person, and it gives them the power to review the feedback at their own pace and on their own time.
Another fun tool is Write Maps, you can make information webs to organize information, brainstorm, etc. You can share the map and allow others to edit it, export it to a PDF or just print it straight from the site. Information architecture, project scope, branding.
Vector Magic. If I’m doing illustration I always like to start out in vectors, and sometimes I have elements I want to use, but they’re bitmap images and not the best quality. If you’ve ever been in this situation – or the situation where your client supplies their logo to you and it’s way to tiny and the wrong color, recreating it can be costly and annoying. Just upload the image to Vector Magic, and viola! It basically does what you wish “Live Trace” in IllustratorCS3 did.
Just plug in your URL and XML-Sitemap Maker gives you a XML sitemap.
I run an almost completely paper-free office. EchoSign allows you to send clients contract via email, they can virtually sign then and send them right back. For your less tech savvy clients, they can also print it out and fax it to your own personal EchoSign fax number. The contract will show up in your Inbox once the fax goes through, and Echosign keeps a log of all your contracts.
Virtualbox, install multiple Operating Systems and browsers on one computer without having to reboot. Makes testing easy and efficient!
My last resource can be dangerous, but when used properly Twitter can be a Freelancers closest thing to having co-workers, only without the staff meetings, memos, and weird lunchtime smells!
I use it when I’m stuck on a developement issue, if I’m working on something outside of my specialty or if I just need to vent. Use Twhirl on your desktop instead of wearing out your “refresh” button.