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15 Best Web Design Resources & Tools for 2024 (Free & Premium)

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15 Best Web Design Resources & Tools for 2024 (Free & Premium)

It’s 2024, and you have tens of thousands of web design resources and tools to choose from. 

Overwhelming? Yes, but workable if you let the experts give you a hand. We tested multiple free and premium web design tools & resources and came up with a list of 15 essential ones that features: 

  • website builders that help you build landing pages and multi-page websites quickly. No more screaming at your monitor in frustration.
  • WordPress themes that help you build complex, highly functional websites and online stores. 
  • WordPress plugins to extend a website’s functionality and help it stand out from the crowd.
  • vector illustrations to help you add a unique design touch that transforms a ‘meh’ website into a ‘wow’ one.
  • font identifiers that enable you to identify “must have” fonts like Apple or Medium use so you can then use them in your own website projects.

They are:

More than half of these web design resources and tools are free or offer a free or trial version.

What do these Top Tools & Resources for Designers and Agencies have in common? 

  • They look superior. There is something about each one that makes it stand out. Something that, more often than not, relates to how enjoyable and effortless everything interrelated with it is.
  • They are intuitive. Everything you need to work with is well thought out and placed exactly where it should be.
  • They add real value. They help you deliver a web design project faster or help make your final deliverables more beautiful, i.e., they help you get higher paying work.

15 best Tools & Resources for Designers and Agencies 

To help you in your web design resources and tools research and selection process, we have incorporated information you will need. Such as best features, product ratings on non-biased platforms such as Trustpilot, Capterra, or WordPress.org, and client testimonials.

Having said all that, let’s get into it.

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1. Brizy Builder™

TL;DR: Brizy is a premium website builder for Agencies and Designers in the market for a White Label solution.

This video shows one of Brizy’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

The ability to brand the Brizy Builder as your own and enable your clients to build websites with “your” builder is its top feature. Other things you will quickly take note of include:

  • the intuitiveness of Brizy; every tool or option provided is at the ready right where the action is. 
  • the ability to edit in place irrespective of the type of content.
  • the fact that you won’t have to deal with trying to create content on a disjointed sidebar, as is the case with 90% of the competing builders.

Brizy Builder also offers an excellent selection of demo/template/prebuilt websites. The innovative portfolio prebuilt website is typical with its attractiveness, high quality and inspirational properties. Agencies and Resellers also like the Reseller Client Management and Billing features, Marketing Integrations, and of course the White Label option.

Customer Rating: 4.6/5 on Trust Pilot

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Testimonial: “Absolutely thrilled with Brizy! This intuitive website builder has simplified the entire design process for me. The drag-and-drop functionality is seamless, making it easy to create visually stunning pages without any coding knowledge. The extensive library of pre-designed blocks and templates saved me loads of time, and the responsive design features ensure a flawless user experience across devices. Customer support is top-notch – prompt and helpful. Brizy has become my go-to tool for web design, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Five stars all the way!”

Support Capabilities: Support manual and YouTube videos

Use the builder for free

2. Trafft – Booking Software

TL;DR: The #1 Free Scheduling Online Software Solution for Businesses.

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This video shows one of Trafft’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

A favorite feature of many website building or improvement tools relates to their ability to function in multiple environments, e.g., languages. 

70% of Trafft users regard the powerful multilingual Notifications System that can maximize client coverage as its top feature.

Other features you will love are those that make working with Trafft a pleasant visual experience, the template addressing Beauty Parlors and Spas is one such example. 

It’s one thing to read about what a product is capable of doing. It can be a different   experience to discover what it really can do once you start using it. You will discover, among other things, Trafft’s:

  • ease of navigation and modernity in both backend and frontend interfaces
  • true depth of customization options.
  • White Label option.

The latter is ideal for Digital Design Agencies and Web Developers that have service industry clients. Another important client category consists of those who rely on virtual meetings and often need instant confirmation on their appointments and schedules.

Customer Rating: 5 Stars on Capterra

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Testimonial: My overall experience has been fantastic. I really have zero complaints. I needed a flexible booking service that was modern, simple, elegant with custom fields, SMS/email notification reminders and follow ups and a system to handle payments without hassle while being easy for a visitor to navigate. Trafft aced everything.” 

Support Capabilities: Support manual, YouTube videos, email, social media, and Customer Support via Trafft’s ticketing system.

Start scheduling appointments for free

3. wpDataTables -The Best Tables & Charts WordPress Table Plugin

TL;DR: WpDataTables is the premier WordPress plugin for businesses and individuals who want to create tables and charts from various data sources. 

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This video shows one of WpDataTables most popular usages. Click on it to check it out.

The wpDataTables’ Multiple Database Connections capability is this plugins’ top feature and represents a data management breakthrough. It empowers each table to establish independent connection to MySQL, MS SQL, or PostgreSQL databases, thereby ensuring the seamless integration of data from disparate sources.

wpDataTables’ assortment of templates, e.g., the weather monthly summary report table, are   popular as well.

You will soon become aware that wpDataTables offers:

  • a ton of useful functionality wrapped in an intuitive package.
  • unparalleled data management due to its masterful blending of features designed to handle complex data structures with finesse.
  • the ability to create tables from any source effortlessly and seamlessly integrate information from diverse origins. 

The range of usage addresses a wide range of tasks such as:

  • Fixed headers and columns – for those tasked with working large tables.
  • Chart engines for presenting trends, comparisons, etc., –  for financial, marketing, and educational uses.
  • Separate DB connections – for those using specific database systems.
  • Transform value – for HR and project management presentations.

to name but a few.

Customer Rating: 4.5/5 on WordPress.org

Testimonial: Great Service My issues were a little complicated, but the Team helped me out great work for a frustrated newbie but happy they were to hand and responded very quickly.”

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Support capabilities: Support manual, YouTube videos, and the Facebook community

Get access to the product here

4. Amelia – WordPress Booking Plugin for Appointments and Events

TL;DR: Amelia is the best WordPress plugin for Agencies and services-oriented businesses in need of an intuitive booking website.

This video shows one of Amelia’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

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Amelia’s top feature is its automated notifications system that makes it easy to categorize appointments as approved, pending, rejected, cancelled, or rescheduled. Special notices such as upcoming events or birthday congratulations can also help to engage clients and increase loyalty.

Amelia offers a number of templates designed to help businesses increase their clientele. The hair salon template is one of a number of customizable templates to choose from.

You will quickly discover:

  • the ease of navigation and modernity in both backend and frontend interfaces,
  • the true depth of Amelia’s customization options, and the value gained from its transparent pricing policy,
  • its functionality, and user-friendly design.

The Amelia plugin is perfect for virtually any service-oriented business including events management businesses or agencies. Developers and programming agencies can also profit from adding Amelia to their design toolkits.

Customer Rating: 4.8 on Capterra

Testimonial:I’ve been using Amelia for a couple of months now on a client’s website. It’s easy to install and set up. There are so many options it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but the support team have been extremely helpful and pointed me in the right direction.

There have been regular updates and new features added. The backend management is simple and easy to use.”

Support: Support Manual, YouTube videos, Discord Group

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5. Uncode – Creative & WooCommerce WordPress Theme

TL;DR: Uncode is the best multiuse WordPress and WooCommerce theme for those in search of a go-to solution for any project.

This video shows one of Uncode most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

While there is much to like about most of Uncode’s website building tools and options, the vote will go to the design of this theme’s demos. They are created with terrific attention to detail and are inspirational as well. 

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There are so many excellent choices that it can be difficult if not impossible to pinpoint any one as being the best. Uncode’s portfolio studio demo is one of the 5 most downloaded or used demos. Check it out and you’ll understand why.

Before getting too far into working with Uncode, you will become aware of the deep degree of customization available, the quality of Uncode’s demos, the value of the wireframes, and the first-class support.

Who can best profit from using Uncode?

 It would be tempting to say “anyone”, but to be more realistic it would be:

  • Shop creators who can make effective use of Uncode’s advanced WooCommerce features.
  • Agencies and Freelancers that use Uncode for all of their clients because of the advanced customization options that cover every customer need.

Customer Rating: 4.89/5

Testimonial: Special design theme, very interesting and unlimited creativity if you take the time to learn about it.
Good code quality, very fast and accurate support.
Please continue your great work!”

Support: Support manual, Facebooks group, and YouTube videos

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6. LayerSlider – Best WordPress Slider Builder Plugin

TL;DR: LayerSlider is the best WordPress slider plugin that designers need. It helps you create web content with stunning visual effects.

This video shows one of LayerSlider’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

It’s not all that unusual for a recently added tool or feature to quickly become a user favorite. In LayerSlider’s case, it’s the scroll effect that is found in the more recently released templates. These templates mostly feature full-size hero sliders with a definite WOW effect or whole web pages that magically animate as visitors scroll through the site.

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In general, this plugin’s popularity is due to the wide range of uses it can be put to, from simple sliders and slideshows to popups and richly animated content.

You will quickly come to love:

  • the highly customizable interface that makes them feel like LayerSlider was designed especially for them.
  • the connected online services that offer them a complete suite of visual content creation possibilities.
  • an easy-to-use Project Editor that places everything where you would expect to find it.

While LayerSlider can help its users create anything from sliders and web content to complete websites, it can really shine when used to create content for marketing purposes thanks to the mind-blowing, customer-engaging effects it can incorporate into popups and banners.

Testimonial: “I have tried plenty of other slider plugins. Nothing compares.”

Support: Support manual, built-in help inside the LayerSlider Project Editor, the support ticket system, and questions or concerns sent via email

Check Out LayerSlider 

7. Getillustrations – Creative Stock Illustrations Library

TL;DR: The best place for designers who are looking for top quality illustrations with terrific attention to detail.

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This video shows one of GetIllustration’s most popular icon pack. Click on it to check it out.

Getillustrations top features consists of three things in one. (1) 21,500 vector human-drawn illustrations, (2) free updates for 1 year, (3) new illustration packs added every week.

 With 45 or so categories to choose from, with each containing 10s and in many cases 100s of engaging illustrations, finding one or more to your liking won’t be at all difficult. plus you might even find it entertaining. These illustrations serve all types of clients, from students to developers.

You will find pencil illustrations, basic ink illustrations, several categories featuring 3D illustrations, and fitness, logistics, and ecology illustrations to name but a few. The illustrations are unique and are exclusive to Getillustrations, so people using them have an edge vs people using other stock illustrations.

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You can even buy them by the pack. The pack of 225 icons should give you all you need to help keep your website customers engaged.

Vector stock illustrations are in .Ai .SVG .PNG and Figma formats.

Testimonial: “Getillustrations is tremendous. Their customer service is world-class, like their design. I love having the ability to work with them on adding to an existing kit, specific to what we need at Distro. I look forward to working with Ramy and their team far into the future.”  

Preview the Illustrations

8. Mobirise AI Website Builder

TL;DR: A great online tool for generating and downloading full page websites using prompt commands only.

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The Mobirise AI website builder’s standout feature is how it enables a user to generate an awesome website using a single prompt.

That may appear to be a bit overambitious, but all you have to do is describe in detail what your site will be about, what it offers, what its benefits and/or specialties are using prompts and preferences and let Mobirise AI do the rest. You can even write your descriptions and preferences in any language.

  • Once the AI has generated a basic layout you can make it your own, choosing the style, color scheme, topography, etc., to suit your brand. You can also edit the pre-generated text or content to suit your needs; no code needed.
  • You need not worry about ownership either. AI does not own your website. It only helps you create it.
  • Don’t worry about optimization for mobile devices and Google either. Mobirise AI takes care of that for you.

If you feel the need for a demo or prebuilt website to help you get started, Mobirise AI has a delightful selection to help you.

Testimonial: “WOW, this is not the first AI website builder that I have tried that claims to be AI… It is definitely the best!’ 

Support: Support manual, YouTube Videos, and the User Forum

Start using the AI Website Builder for free 

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9. WhatFontIs

TL;DR: The most accurate font identifier on the market  at no cost to you.

Perhaps the best way to describe this tool’s best feature is simply to state that whatever font you want identified there is a 90%+ chance WhatFontis will find it. 

That applies to both free and licensed fonts. No other system can claim that accuracy, and most other systems are not free.

What you will love about it:

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  • WhatFontis has a database of 990K+ free and commercial fonts, nearly 5 times as many fonts as that of the nearest competitor.
  • An AI-powered search engine helps to quickly find a font and as many as 60 close neighbors in response to your request.
  • Links are provided that show where a free font can be downloaded or from where a commercial font can be purchased.

Note that the ability to correctly identify a given font correctly can be compromised if the quality of the submitted image is subpar. Also, for cursive fonts, the letters have to be separated before being submitted.

Testimonial: “I use this site amongst others to match fonts for my clients’ websites. I just upgraded to show results from Google Fonts, and it worked perfectly. It saves a lot of time and searching around. Happy to recommend.”

Support: User Forum

Identify any font for free here

10. Slider Revolution – More than just a WordPress Slider

TL;DR: Slider Revolution is the #1 WordPress plugin for Designers, Web Developers and Small Business Owners looking to create jaw-dropping animated sliders.

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Slider Revolution will give you the ability to visually create WOW effects for WordPress without fuss, and without coding.

What you can do with Slider Revolution is not limited to creating awesome sliders. You can:

  • Create a home page that simply nails it as far as visitors are concerned.
  • Create portfolios that are both informative and entertaining.
  • Design eye-catching sections on any or every page of your website.

If you need a little help or inspiration to get started, thumb through the Slider revolution library of more than 250 templates.

These templates have been 100% optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile and most feature special effects your visitors won’t see on other websites. As an example, The Masonry Gallery Carousel template is so intriguing that you might want to build a website around it.

Slider Revolution is tailored for use in web shops and small agencies as well as for individual web designers.

Customer Rating: 4.6/5 on Trust Pilot

Testimonial: “Slider Revolution Responsive WordPress Plugin completely blew me away! Its functionality is top-notch offering seamless integration with my WordPress site. The array of beautifully designed templates offered made it effortless to handle and gave my website an instant professional uplift. Absolutely amazing product!”

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Support: Support manual and YouTube videos

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11. Total WordPress Theme

TL;DR: Total is the best WordPress theme for web designers and developers seeking the flexibility to design from-scratch as well as to use time-saving templates.

This video shows one of Total’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

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Total’s flexibility is easily its top feature, and one reason why the name of this WordPress theme is so fitting.

Once you will spend any time using Total, you will quickly discover these:

  • Settings for everything, including tons of page builder element options, Total’s font manager, custom post types, and the list goes on.
  • The fact that Total is speed optimized and can be made to perform even faster.
  • Support for dynamic templates for posts and archives.

Total’s selection of pre-built websites is also high on the list of user favorites. Total’s Gym demo is among the most widely used, due in part because it can lend itself to so many different uses.

As the name suggests, Total is tailored for beginners, developers, DIYers, and just about  anyone else.

Customer Rating: 4.86/5

Testimonial: “I have worked as a web designer for many years, and I always use the ‘Total’ theme. Customer support is nothing but superb and the theme is very nice, clean, and incredibly easy to work with. I would recommend ‘Total’ to anyone that wants to design and build a website.”

Support: Support Manual

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12. Essential Grid – WordPress Gallery Plugin

TL;DR: Essential Grid is the best WordPress Gallery Plugin for businesses who want to use breathtaking galleries to capture visitors’ attention.

This video shows one of Essential Grid’s most popular grid skins. Click on it to check it out.

Essential Grid’s top feature is actually what this WordPress gallery plugin is its library of 50+ unique grid skins.

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There’s plenty more of course, much of which is premised on the fact that few if any web designers or developers would elect to create a gallery from scratch. 

Using a demo or template is far easier, and with one of Essential Grid’s gallery skins it is not only easy to create the gallery layout you want but you’re more than likely to find a format you haven’t even thought of. 

The Clark Gillies Blog Grid for example, with its minimal black and white grid skin design that features an eye-popping lightbox option.

You will love how much of a time saver this plugin is and how good it is at helping them organize their content streams.

Customer Rating: 4.7/5 on Trust Pilot

Testimonial: “Excellent WordPress grid with almost endless possibilities! Top in the market. We’re proudly using it for our products since 2015. Every update gets better and better. Special thanks to the support & dev Team that have made so many things possible over the already enormous things you can reach by using Essential Grid.”  

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Support: Support manual and YouTube videos

Preview the plugin

13. WoodMart – WordPress WooCommerce Theme

TL;DR: WoodMart is the best WooCommerce theme for niche ecommerce design.

This video shows one Woodmart’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

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A quick look at the WoodMart website and it’s not difficult to see what its top feature is. The custom layouts for shop, cart, and checkout pages alone will want you to place an order right from the demo.

There is much more to like about Woodmart.

You will love:

  • Layouts that can be easily customized even when they appear to be perfect from the beginning, except for branding of course. 
  • The Theme Settings Search capability is a genuine time saver as are the Theme Settings performance optimization features.
  • “Frequently Bought Together”, “Dynamic Discounts” and other customer-centric options are popular as are social integrations for marketers.
  • WoodMart also has a White Label option.

Its not all that easy find the most popular demos since almost all of them enjoy plenty of usage but Demo Developer is one of the most downloaded demos, and for a very good reason. It can be used for a wide variety of portfolio needs.

Customer Rating: 4.93/5

Testimonial: “The theme is excellent, a multitude of possibilities and the technical service too. My recommendation.”

Support: Support manual and YouTube videos

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14. XStore – Best WooCommerce WordPress Theme

TL;DR: XStore is the best WooCommerce theme for designers and agencies looking to build high-converting online stores.

This video shows one Xstore’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

Although XStore’s selection of ready-made stores (pre-built websites) has always been highly popular, the recently introduced Sales Booster features have become user favorites. In addition to the Sales Boosters, inexperienced users quickly come to appreciate the Builders Panel and the intuitive XStore Control Panel, both of which give them virtually unlimited store-building and customization flexibility.

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With respect to the pre-built websites, you will appreciate the quick start they provide. 

With the selection of a pre-built website like the NFT Crypto digital marketplace demo example, it’s possible to get an online store up in running in a few hours, if not sooner.

XStore is obviously tailored for use by shop owners and prospective shop owners. In addition to the ready-to-go layouts users have instant access to XStore’s Single Product Builder, Checkout Builder, Cart Builder, Archive Products Builder, and even a 404 Page Builder.

Customer Rating: 4.87/5

Testimonial:There’s so much that you can do with this theme. This is literally hands down the best WooCommerce/WordPress theme out there. Very easy to customize and super easy to use. I love this theme and fits perfectly well with my website needs. Very fast customer service and they are super helpful.”

Support: Support manual and YouTube videos

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15. Blocksy – Premium WooCommerce WordPress theme

TL;DR: Blocksy is the best free WordPress theme in 2024 for building beautiful, lightweight websites.

This video shows one of Blocksy’s most popular templates. Click on it to check it out.

What is Blocksy best at? 

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It’s a toss up between the widely used and user-friendly header and footer builder, Gutenberg support, WooCommerce integration and associated features, and the advanced hooks with display conditions. In other words, there is little if anything that Blocksy’s users don’t absolutely love. (Hint: Check the customer rating.)

It should also be noted that Blocksy is free!

You will quickly begin to recognize the effects on the quality of Blocksy because:

  • it is built on top of the latest web technologies.
  • its qualities include outstanding performance and the ability to easily integrate with the most popular plugins.
  • it can be used to build any type of website or website niche.
  • its demos are eye-openers with the Smart Home example being one of the 5 most downloaded and put to use.

Customer Rating: 5/5 on WordPress.org

Testimonial:The Blocksy theme and the Companion are the best for me. I’ve been searching for a good theme for a long time, and I’ve finally found it. The theme is super easy to customize, and the excellent Pro Addons that come with it cover a wide range of features. I highly recommend it!”

Support: Support manual, YouTube videos, and an easily accessible documentation section

Free download here

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In summary, the above best web design resources & tools share the following characteristics:

  • They’re easy to use and easy to set up.
  • They give your website an edge in terms of design or functionality, or both.
  • They have prompt and friendly customer support.
  • They allow you to test the product for free or provide enough information. So you won’t feel that the product you selected is completely different from the one described in their marketing presentation. 
Tool/Resource Summary Standout Feature
Brizy The Best Website Builder for Agencies & SaaS White Label
Trafft The Best Free Scheduling Online Software for Businesses Multilingual notification system
WpDataTables Best WP plugin for creating tables and charts from complex data Multiple database connections
Amelia Best WP plugin for automating an appointment booking system Multilingual notifications system 
Uncode Best  WP and WooCommerce go-to solution for professional designers and agencies Excellent demo design
LayerSlider Best WP plugin for making simple sliders Dynamic scroll effects
GetIllustrations The best place for world class illustrations Uniqueness & tremendous attention to detail
Mobirise AI Website Builder Generate full page websites using prompt commands only Prompt command
WhatFontis The best free font identifier Identify any font from any image
Slider Revolution Best WP plugin for creating jaw-dropping animated sliders WOW effects for WordPress
Total Theme Top WP theme for designing a website from scratch Flexibility and customer support
Essential Grid Best WP Gallery plugin for creating breathtaking galleries 50+ unique grid skins
Woodmart Best WordPress theme for niche eCommerce design Custom layouts builder for shop and product pages
XStore Best WooCommerce theme for building high-converting online stores Large number of Sales Booster features
Blocksy The best free WordPress theme for building  beautiful lightweight websites WooCommerce integration 

This article gives you a good starting place from which you can explore the huge world of web design resources and tools.

Check out those listed, test them out, and if you like what you see, add them to your toolkit. 

If you are so inclined, search for some more. With so many web design tools & resources coming to light every day, your search for better, faster ones will never end.

UI Interactions & Animations Roundup #40

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10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPress.com News

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10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPress.com News

Whether you’re a design pro or a total newbie, you’ll find a great tool in this list that will take your website skills to the next level.

Designing a beautiful website from scratch can be difficult for developers of all skill levels. Luckily, in today’s Build and Beyond video, Jamie Marsland reveals his ten favorite WordPress design tools and websites to elevate your next build.

Get inspiration for your next website’s design and then start building with WordPress.com. Ready to get going? Click below to embark on your free trial today:

Here are the sites and resources mentioned in the video:

1713497163 978 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News

Heikei

Stunning backgrounds and visuals

1713497163 497 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News
1713497163 315 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News
1713497163 599 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News
1713497163 270 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News

Shots

Easy mockups for products and thumbnails

1713497163 518 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News
1713497163 631 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News

Coolors

Generate color palettes with a click

1713497163 689 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News
1713497163 719 10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News
10 Amazing WordPress Design Resouces – WordPresscom News

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[GET] The7 Website And Ecommerce Builder For WordPress

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The7 website and ecommerce builder for wordpress is the most customizable WordPress, Elementor, and WooCommerce theme available on the market up to …

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Making 43% of the Web More Dynamic with the WordPress Interactivity API – WordPress.com News

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Making 43% of the Web More Dynamic with the WordPress Interactivity API – WordPress.com News

Creating rich, engaging, and interactive website experiences is a simple way to surprise, delight, and attract attention from website readers and users. Dynamic interactivity like instant search, form handling, and client-side “app-like” navigation where elements can persist across routes, all without a full page reload, can make the web a more efficient and interesting place for all.

But creating those experiences on WordPress hasn’t always been the easiest or most straightforward, often requiring complex JavaScript framework setup and maintenance. 

Now, with the Interactivity API, WordPress developers have a standardized way for doing that, all built directly into core. 

The Interactivity API started as an experimental plugin in early 2022, became an official proposal in March 2023, and was finally merged into WordPress core with the release of WordPress 6.5 on April 2, 2024. It provides an easier, standardized way for WordPress developers to create rich, interactive user experiences with their blocks on the front-end.

ELI5: The Interactivity API and the Image Block

Several core WordPress blocks, including the Query Loop, Image, and Search blocks, have already adopted the Interactivity API. The Image block, in particular, is a great way to show off the Interactivity API in action. 

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At its core, the Image blocks allow you to add an image to a post or page. When a user clicks on an image in a post or page, the Interactivity API launches a lightbox showing a high-resolution version of the image.

The rendering of the Image block is handled server-side. The client-side interactivity, handling resizing and opening the lightbox, is now done with the new API that comes bundled with WordPress. You can bind the client-side interactivity simply by adding the wp-on--click directive to the image element, referencing the showLightbox action in view.js.

You might say, “But I could easily do this with some JavaScript!” With the Interactivity API, the code is compact and declarative, and you get the context (local state) to handle the lightbox, resizing, side effects, and all of the other needed work here in the store object.

actions: {
			showLightbox() {
				const ctx = getContext();

				// Bails out if the image has not loaded yet.
				if ( ! ctx.imageRef?.complete ) {
					return;
				}

				// Stores the positons of the scroll to fix it until the overlay is
				// closed.
				state.scrollTopReset = document.documentElement.scrollTop;
				state.scrollLeftReset = document.documentElement.scrollLeft;

				// Moves the information of the expaned image to the state.
				ctx.currentSrc = ctx.imageRef.currentSrc;
				imageRef = ctx.imageRef;
				buttonRef = ctx.buttonRef;
				state.currentImage = ctx;
				state.overlayEnabled = true;

				// Computes the styles of the overlay for the animation.
				callbacks.setOverlayStyles();
			},
...

The lower-level implementation details, like keeping the server and client side in sync, just work; developers no longer need to account for them.

This functionality is possible using vanilla JavaScript, by selecting the element via a query selector, reading data attributes, and manipulating the DOM. But it’s far less elegant, and up until now, there hasn’t been a standardized way in WordPress of handling interactive events like these.

With the Interactivity API, developers have a predictable way to provide interactivity to users on the front-end. You don’t have to worry about lower-level code for adding interactivity; it’s there in WordPress for you to start using today. Batteries are included.

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How is the Interactivity API different from Alpine, React, or Vue?

Prior to merging the Interactivity API into WordPress core, developers would typically reach for a JavaScript framework to add dynamic features to the user-facing parts of their websites. This approach worked just fine, so why was there a need to standardize it?

At its core, the Interactivity API is a lightweight JavaScript library that standardizes the way developers can build interactive HTML elements on WordPress sites.

Mario Santos, a developer on the WordPress core team, wrote in the Interactivity API proposal that, “With a standard, WordPress can absorb the maximum amount of complexity from the developer because it will handle most of what’s needed to create an interactive block.”

The team saw that the gap between what’s possible and what’s practical grew as sites became more complex. The more complex a user experience developers wanted to build, the more blocks needed to interact with each other, and the more difficult it became to build and maintain sites. Developers would spend a lot of time making sure that the client-side and server-side code played nicely together.

For a large open-source project with several contributors, having an agreed-upon standard and native way of providing client-side interactivity speeds up development and greatly improves the developer experience.

Five goals shaped the core development team’s decisions as they built the API: 

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  1. Block-first and PHP-first: Prioritizing blocks for building sites and server side rendering for better SEO and performance. Combining the best for user and developer experience.
  2. Backward-compatible: Ensuring compatibility with both classic and block themes and optionally with other JavaScript frameworks, though it’s advised to use the API as the primary method. It also works with hooks and internationalization.
  3. Declarative and reactive: Using declarative code to define interactions, listening for changes in data, and updating only relevant parts of the DOM accordingly.
  4. Performant: Optimizing runtime performance to deliver a fast and lightweight user experience.
  5. Send less JavaScript: Reduce the overall amount of JavaScript being sent on the page by providing a common framework that blocks can reuse.  So the more that blocks leverage the Interactivity API, the less JavaScript will be sent overall.

Other goals are on the horizon, including improvements to client-side navigation, as you can see in this PR.

Interactivity API vs. Alpine

The Interactivity API shares a few similarities to Alpine—a lightweight JavaScript library that allows developers to build interactions into their web projects, often used in WordPress and Laravel projects.

Similar to Alpine, the Interactivity API uses directives directly in HTML and both play nicely with PHP. Unlike Alpine, the Interactivity API is designed to seamlessly integrate with WordPress and support server-side rendering of its directives.

With the interactivity API, you can easily generate the view from the server in PHP, and then add client-side interactivity. This results in less duplication, and its support in WordPress core will lead to less architectural decisions currently required by developers. 

So while Alpine and the Interactivity API share a broadly similar goal—making it easy for web developers to add interactive elements to a webpage—the Interactivity API is even more plug-and-play for WordPress developers.

Interactivity API vs. React and Vue

Many developers have opted for React when adding interactivity to WordPress sites because, in the modern web development stack, React is the go-to solution for declaratively handling DOM interactivity. This is familiar territory, and we’re used to using React and JSX when adding custom blocks for Gutenberg.

Loading React on the client side can be done, but it leaves you with many decisions: “How should I handle routing? How do I work with the context between PHP and React? What about server-side rendering?”

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Part of the goal in developing the Interactivity API was the need to write as little as little JavaScript as possible, leaving the heavy lifting to PHP, and only shipping JavaScript when necessary.

The core team also saw issues with how these frameworks worked in conjunction with WordPress. Developers can use JavaScript frameworks like React and Vue to render a block on the front-end that they server-rendered in PHP, for example, but this requires logic duplication and risks exposure to issues with WordPress hooks.

For these reasons, among others, the core team preferred Preact—a smaller UI framework that requires less JavaScript to download and execute without sacrificing performance. Think of it like React with fewer calories.

Luis Herranz, a WordPress Core contributor from Automattic, outlines more details on Alpine vs the Interactivity API’s usage of Preact with a thin layer of directives on top of it in this comment on the original proposal.

Preact only loads if the page source contains an interactive block, meaning it is not loaded until it’s needed, aligning with the idea of shipping as little JavaScript as possible (and shipping no JavaScript as a default).

In the original Interactivity API proposal, you can see the run-down and comparison of several frameworks and why Preact was chosen over the others.

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What does the new Interactivity API provide to WordPress developers?

In addition to providing a standardized way to render interactive elements client-side, the Interactivity API also provides developers with directives and a more straightforward way of creating a store object to handle state, side effects, and actions.

Graphic from Proposal: The Interactivity API – A better developer experience in building interactive blocks on WordPress.org

Directives

Directives, a special set of data attributes, allow you to extend HTML markup. You can share data between the server-side-rendered blocks and the client-side, bind values, add click events, and much more. The Interactivity API reference lists all the available directives.

These directives are typically added in the block’s render.php file, and they support all of the WordPress APIs, including actions, filters, and core translation APIs. 

Here’s the render file of a sample block. Notice the click event (data-wp-on--click="actions.toggle"), and how we bind the value of the aria-expanded attributes via directives.

<div
	<?php echo get_block_wrapper_attributes(); ?>
	data-wp-interactive="create-block"
	<?php echo wp_interactivity_data_wp_context( array( 'isOpen' => false ) ); ?>
	data-wp-watch="callbacks.logIsOpen"
>
	<button
		data-wp-on--click="actions.toggle"
		data-wp-bind--aria-expanded="context.isOpen"
		aria-controls="<?php echo esc_attr( $unique_id ); ?>"
	>
		<?php esc_html_e( 'Toggle', 'my-interactive-block' ); ?>
	</button>

	<p
		id="<?php echo esc_attr( $unique_id ); ?>"
		data-wp-bind--hidden="!context.isOpen"
	>
		<?php
			esc_html_e( 'My Interactive Block - hello from an interactive block!', 'my-interactive-block' );
		?>
	</p>
</div>

Do you need to dynamically update an element’s inner text? The Interactivity API allows you to use data-wp-text on an element, just like you can use v-text in Vue.

You can bind a value to a boolean or string using wp-bind– or hook up a click event by using data-wp-on–click on the element. This means you can write PHP and HTML and sprinkle in directives to add interactivity in a declarative way.

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Handling state, side effects, and actions

The second stage of adding interactivity is to create a store, which is usually done in your view.js file. In the store, you’ll have access to the same context as in your render.php file.

In the store object, you define actions responding to user interactions. These actions can update the local context or global state, which then re-renders and updates the connected HTML element. You can also define side effects/callbacks, which are similar to actions, but they respond to state changes instead of direct user actions.

import { store, getContext } from '@wordpress/interactivity';

store( 'create-block', {
	actions: {
		toggle: () => {
			const context = getContext();
			context.isOpen = ! context.isOpen;
		},
	},
	callbacks: {
		logIsOpen: () => {
			const { isOpen } = getContext();
			// Log the value of `isOpen` each time it changes.
			console.log( `Is open: ${ isOpen }` );
		},
	},
} );

Try it out for yourself

The Interactivity API is production-ready and already running on WordPress.com! With any WordPress.com plan, you’ll have access to the core blocks built on top of the Interactivity API. 

If you want to build your own interactive blocks, you can scaffold an interactive block by running the below code in your terminal:

npx @wordpress/create-block@latest my-interactive-block --template @wordpress/create-block-interactive-template 

This will give you an example interactive block, with directives and state handling set up. 

You can then play around with this locally, using wp-env, using a staging site, or by uploading the plugin directly to your site running a plugin-eligible WordPress.com plan

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If you want a seamless experience between your local dev setup and your WordPress.com site, try using it with our new GitHub Deployments feature! Developing custom blocks is the perfect use case for this new tool.

The best way to learn something new is to start building. To kick things off, you may find the following resources a good starting point:


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