Ok, so the “10 ___’s that will save your life!” posts can be annoying. Hopefully you can get some use out of this post; these are the web resources that I honestly use all of the time. No Filler! They are ordered by how well they’re know (least to most known).
1. Web Template
I typically use either a 12 or a 16 column grid on most of my designs. I also need to see what it will look like in 800×600 and 1024×768, so I basically just created a nice little .PSD file that includes all of my necessities in an overlay folder at the top of my document. It helps to get my design going on the right foot (after planning, research and sketches of course!). For the grid system I’m using overlays from 960.gs.
2. The Viget Photoshop Color Fix
Have you ever sliced out an image and the colors are slightly different from what you saw on your .psd? Photoshop does this horrible thing where it changes how you see your colors in Photoshop window to match your monitor. This is unacceptable for the web! Make sure you run this fix to ensure that your colors come out right.
We all hate IE, but we all still need to make sure that our visitors and clients don’t hate us (because you know they all use it!). The difficult thing about designing for IE is that you can only have one version of it installed on your PC; unless… you don’t have 3 virtual PCs running do you? That’s a shame, because IETester gives you the ability to open a different version of IE in separate tabs (from 5.5 to 8).
This was originally developed by Roger Johansson and basically auto-populates your input field with instructions (ex: “Enter Your Search Term Here”) but it still keeps your fields accessible by doing it using the title attribute. I’m a big fan of JQuery, and so is my friend Andy Stratton, so he created a great plugin for it.
5. JQuery UI
Ok, JQuery is an awesome hotdog, and JQuery UI is all the relish, mustard and ketchup. JQuery UI allows you to easily create a datepicker, a slider, a dialog box…, or even make elements resizable. I find myself using the tabs more than anything.
If you’re a web designer, you probably already know what this is all about and you can skip to the next one. FireBug has saved me countless hours in my CSS, it allows you to inspect and alter live CSS on any site. This is great if you’re fixing an issue on a website that has already been integrated into a complex CMS (e.g. Ektron!).
There are a couple good solutions out there for flash replacement, but I stick with SwfObject because it never lets me down and it’s not complicated. It basically allows you to add your flash file in an accessible way by providing alternate content for people without the Adobe Flash Player.
I have a love/hate relationship with sIFR. I always seem to have to tweak the heck out of it to really get it doing what I want, but it is still the best font-replacement tool out there.