3 tools to increase your web design productivity

Gone are the days when designing a site entailed starting from scratch with html and css. Now we have tools that take away the grunt work out of designing boilerplate code and other miscellaneous work, and lets you focus on what really matters, the end product. Below are a few good tools that will help you in designing and prototyping web and mobile products, whether working as a team or as a lone ranger.
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Using a mobile accelerometer to enhance web app UI

A accelerometer is one of the important sensors in mobiles. This sensor along with a gyroscope is essentially used by most mobiles games to detect motion in 3 dimensions whenever a mobile is moved or shaken. Although common with mobiles applications, web applications seldom use the features provided by these sensors. With some ingenuity we can use these sensors to enhance the user experience of a web app on a mobile device without much effort.
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Tilings and patterns in design

Recently while working through Grunbaum and Shephards’ Tilings and Patterns, I stumbled on a wonderful piece of software for generating tilings – Taprats. Taprats is based on the age old Islamic art of constructing intricate geometric art based on radially symmetric star-like figures. The software is a Java applet that runs on your desktop and is surprisingly small in size for its features. It has a built-in library of tilings that can be used to construct many famous Islamic designs. Also, the construction of these designs is parametrized across different variables so you can modify various parameters to create different designs from the base example. Finally you can export the designs to various image formats to be used in your designs.
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Printing selective DOM elements on a page

Printing web pages from JavaScript, although not a common scenario, can be easily accomplished with some simple code. On the other hand, selectively printing some elements from a web page – like a div or a paragraph, can be challenging. Fortunately there are libraries available that can make the task easier. One such useful jQuery plugin is jQuery PrintElement, which allows you to selectively print a DOM element. Usage is extremely easy; just select any element from a webpage and fire the ‘printElement’ method.
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Learning the Language of the Web

With the ever increasing presence of the Web, more people are interested in learning the language of the Web. Designers, artists, and newbie’s unfamiliar with Web development are eager to learn to code so that they can understand the Web better and create something original.

Learning through books can take some time and can be a major hindrance for people who find the learn-by-the-book method dry an uninspiring. In a bid to make learning the language of the Web more interesting, some designers and developers have come together and created some interesting and useful web projects.
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