6 Web Design Chrome Extensions And The Creative Geniuses Behind Them.
By Dennis Mitzner
Sep 1, 2015
When it comes to tools and utilities, web designers tend to have their own unique needs. After all, creative minds require the right environment to flourish and to make and design amazing things for their clients. Without tools, designers are stuck with the nitty-gritty parts, leaving creative professionals with less time and energy to focus on things that matter.
One of the most rapidly developing industries nowadays is the field of Chrome extensions. Various Google extensions for every purpose and device will help designers to be more efficient, but also to find inspiration.
Extensions are the products of brilliant minds to provide users an effortless way to enhance the browsing experience, whether to quickly check a specific website for detailed information or dig deeper into the world of data. For designers, extensions serve a number of purposes, from pure joy of creativity and the discovery of new design nuggets to tools that provide shortcuts to help designers stay up to date with the latest from the wonderful world of design.
The following is a list of top 6 extensions and the creative people behind them. We asked the developers and designers of these extensions to share their thoughts with our audience and explain why they developed these extensions and why they matter for designers.
By Eyal Zuri and Ohad Aviv
Founded by Eyal Zuri and Ohad Aviv, Muz.li is a tasty breakfast treat: Open a new tab and voilà, a creative and color-filld world of creation opens in front of your eyes. Instead of having yet another cup of coffee to make it through the day, Muz.li will bring you back to life with a hand-picked selection of the best design examples and resources in the world.
“Muzli was born out of a need that we fulfilled manually each and every morning, just before we got busy with our day as designers and creators- sifting through creative content, cherry picking the best and sharing it with each other. We quickly realised that we're probably not the only ones who could enjoy it, and decided to share it,” said Eyal Zuri.
As creative professionals, both Zuri and Aviv cannot imagine a world without Muz.li and believe that designers live from inspiration and information.
“We see regular consumption of inspiring and fresh content for creative professionals and enthusiasts, a key factor for creativity and personal growth. We simply cannot imagine not being informed and up to date with what's going on in the design sphere, much the same way a stock broker constantly consumes financial news. This is what we do, and we need to be on top of it to stay at the top of our game. Designers using Muzli can be certain that they don't miss the absolute finest & freshest design related content out there, keeping them inspired and informed,” Aviv concluded.
By Lior Grossman and Ilan Lewin
Wikiwand is an award-winning interface that optimizes Wikipedia for a highly elevated reading experience. The extension is easy to use and appears each time you visit a Wikipedia article.
“Wikipedia was built 14 years ago - and hasn't changed much since then. We developed Wikiwand to make acquiring knowledge easier, for any layout. Today technology allows seamless integration in all devices and browsers and we believe that browsing Wikipedia now days should be as fun and easy as any other website or blog out there that puts UX at front,” said Tomer Lerner, the Director of UX at Wikiwand.
According to Lerner, designers can relate to Wikiwand’s method because of the focus on layout, fonts and media used in Wikipedia.
“Our main goal is to make knowledge more accessible through navigation and balanced design with an emphasis on perfect readability. It takes countless iterations to find the right tension between a webpage that looks great with the desired "wow effect" without damaging the readability and we keep at it as an ongoing effort. I think, as a designer, that this is a path all designers go through in their work many times,” Lerner said.
By Balázs Galambosi
SmoothScroll is one of the most interesting apps in its category - simply install it and instantly start enjoying the smoothest scrolling, whether a mouse or keyboard. It supports all types of scrolling, including touchpad.
“Smooth scrolling was the new thing you never knew you wanted in 2007 when the first iPhone came out. It felt so natural, like that shiny object in your hand was suddenly alive. On the desktop I first saw it in Opera. Among my friends it was the only reason why that became their browser of choice for a while. They said the animation made it feel like they bought a new computer. I knew I wanted smooth scrolling but I didn't want to abandon Chrome. So when extensions became possible I was eager to bring this joyful ease of scrolling to Chrome,” the founder of SmoothScroll, Balázs Galambosi, told Webydo.
Galambosi believes that SmoothScroll is a great tool for designers for testing.
“With SmoothScroll designers can test scroll-driven (e.g. parallax) designs in Chrome. If you don't hit 60 FPS you have to reconsider your CSS, especially heavier effects like box-shadow, excessive use of opacity, etc. You can think of it as an emulator so you can see how people with trackpads and touchscreens will experience your site,” Galambosi said.
4. Tab Resize.
By Peter Shin
Tab Resize is one of the most useful tools for creatives out there, because it enables users to resize multiple tabs in their choice of layout and use a split-screen like a pro. Designers can open various inspirational tabs while working simultaneously.
Peter Shin developed the extension from a desire to transform manual work into an automated process.
“Tab Resize was born out of a personal pain point. Armed with a large external monitor and the will to multitask I found myself manually resizing windows as a regular part of my workflow. As with most things that are done manually - there should be some way to automate it. I had looked into the existing tools and extensions available but none were exactly what I wanted. I attempted to make an extension that took the best features of the existing tools while still providing a great user experience,” Shin told Webydo.
Tab Resize is used by students, teachers, engineers and any heavy tab user who wants to improve the workflow by quickly creating a layout of tabs fit for the task at hand.
“Designers specifically would benefit by being able to use multiple web tools, compare several mockups/prototypes all in one view of the monitor. As more and more applications are web based and as desktop screen sizes continue to increase - use of the extension will definitely increase productivity. Time can be properly spent on working on design rather than wasting time resizing windows,” Shin said.
By Felix Niklas
Dimensions is a terrific way to save time on the annoying technical parts of your work and get straight to what matters. It quickly measures any space boundaries, mockups, images, videos, buttons and other page elements with just a few clicks.
We spoke with Felix Niklas, the founder of Dimensions, who developed the extension to provide a swiss army knife solution for web professionals.
“Back when I was creating the initial version I had to implement a web interface. A design agency provided the screen-design and I wanted to implement it pixel perfect. So I had to go back and forth a lot between Photoshop and the browser while writing the CSS. We also created a little website with all the pngs to discuss the different screens. I found this OSX app that's like a swiss army knife for designers. One of the tools is very similar to dimensions. I grew fond of it but eventually the trial ran out and I wasn't prepared to pay 50 bucks for the whole multi-knife whereas I only needed one blade. The previous year I did a lot of image processing in the browser so I choose to recreate the tool as a browser plugin. Just last month I released an update that includes a new feature that the OSX app doesn't have: now you can get the dimensions of enclosed areas easier by pressing the ALT key,” Niklas said.
As for the benefiting the designer, Niklas wants to help design professionals become more efficient.
“They can use it to learn from others by measuring proportions. And it's very helpful when implementing a website pixel perfectly. Put the screenshot in one tab and the actual page in another and just go back and forth measuring and comparing the dimensions via the chrome plugin. Use the handy ALT + D shortcut,” Niklas concluded.
6. Responsive Web Design Tester.
By eSolutions Nordic
This intuitive responsivity tester will allow designers to preview and test a webpage for all mobile devices without having to build a whole new department for it. Simply click the extension icon to see how your site will appear to your users and you’ll get all the page info you need and learn exactly what works and what doesn't.
Farhad Kaveh from eSolutions Nordic, the company behind Responsive Web Design Tester, told Webydo that the current extension is an upgrade to an earlier extension.
“We already had the "User-Agent Switcher" on the Chrome store which was and is extremely popular. We used "User-Agent Switcher" extension for development and an other extension to open different windows in the correct resolution. The second extension we used updated frequently and with much advertising. So we decided to developed "Responsive Web Design tester" that handled both the correct User-Agent string, and window size,” Kaveh said.
But why should designers get the Responsive Web Design Tester ?
“We use the Responsive Web Design Tester when developing new websites and we believe that more designers can benefit from it in their daily work. Our extensions are without any advertising and totally free,” Kaveh stated.
All creatives know too well what happens when boring, gray tasks interfere with work and slow us down. Sometimes they can even cut away our train of thought, which is the most frustrating of all. That’s what these extensions are here for - to smooth out your design process and provide inspiration when you need it. Use them to examine the sites that inspire you, implement what you like into your own work and make sure your designs are the best they can be. Happy designing!
Brought to You by Webydo.
See how Webydo fits into your design workflow and business.
Request A Live Demo