In 2019, developers and designs should be focussing on working smarter, not harder. By working together more effectively, both sides of the table can improve workflow and prevent simple tasks from taking up too much time. When you have one designer and one developer working on a project, that’s complicated enough. But when you add a whole team of designers and developers, it’s easy to see why projects can easily get derailed.

Productivity experts Abacus Marketing know a thing or two about keeping everyone on the same page throughout the design, development and handover process. If you want to improve productivity in 2019, you need to have these 7 design and development tools in your toolkit.


If you’re still relying on Photoshop to mockup your website designs, you need to try Sketch. This vector UI design tool allows you to quickly and easily wireframe your websites in an intuitive way. Since this platform was built for one thing and one thing only, it offers plenty of shortcuts and helpful plugins to make the design process easier. And since it’s all vector based, your file sizes will be much smaller than Photoshop. This means that handing design files over to the developers won’t take as long, leading to a much smoother process.

Chrome Developer Tools

Debugging websites is made far easier with the addition of Chrome Developer Tools. This free feature is automatically bundled in with Chrome and Safari. It allows you to edit your HTML and CSS in real-time and even debug your Javascript. It also offers helpful insight into your site’s performance. If teaching junior web developers are part of your job, then Chrome Developer Tools offers a really helpful visualisation tool that will enable students to see exactly what is happening and why.


This repository hosting service isn’t just a great tool for collaborating with people all over the world. You can also use this as your version controls system (VCS). If you’re working on a project and mess up a line of code, rather than painstakingly working through the edits, you can simply revert to an earlier version and start again. GitHub also offers an open-source development community and even a wiki for every project, making documentation a breeze.


Working on a design project that involves more than one designer is nothing short of a nightmare. Passing files back and forth and realising you’ve made edits to the wrong version can lead productivity to plummet. Thankfully, there is a better way. Figma allows you to collaborate in real-time on the same projects. You can use it in your browser, or download the Windows, Mac or Linux version. This is great for teams on the go as it means you don’t need to have access to your own computer to be included. From a quick mockup to a complete wireframe, you can create stunning designs in a fraction of the time.


Handing the design files to the development team is typically a process fraught with tension. This is where Avocode can take some of the stress out of the handover. This tool automatically analyses your PSD or Sketch files without the need for specialist software. This gives your dev team access to everything they need without having to rope in the help of a designer. By empowering both teams, you can increase productivity and ensure projects move forward smoothly.


Similar to Avocode, Zeplin makes it easier to hand over design assets to the dev team. It converts Photoshop and Sketch files into something that developers can actually access without the need for specialist software. However, this tool takes it ones step further by offering extra information, such as colour references and even fonts. It can even generate CSS and style guides to help speed up the design process and allow developers to focus on the technical elements.


Why are these two lumped together? Both can be used for communication, but Trello offers extra functionality in terms of project management.

Let’s start with Slack. Love it or loathe it, Slack helps teams to communicate. If you’re in the same office, it can help to cut down on distracting chatter. And if your design and development team work remotely, it can help to ensure that all communicate remains in one place. Perhaps the best part of Slack is the ability to share files quickly and easily. Rather than emailing versions back and forth and having important documents tied up in individual email accounts, Slack keeps everything in one place.

Trello helps to keep projects on track and ensures that everyone on the team knows what is expected of them. If you regularly find that key aspects of a project get missed because they fall between the cracks, then Trello will help to resolve this.

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