Top 5 Web Apps for Productivity

Top 5 Web Apps for Productivity

19 Apr
Google Apps

At Symetris, we love web browsers

Not only are they our main tools for testing the websites we develop, but we also spend most of the day navigating from one browser tab to the next.

Each of these tabs connects to the several "web apps" we use that replace many of the programs people usually install on their computer.

What are web apps?

Web apps are just as useful as native software (often more, I find). Be it for browsing emails, organizing the day's to-do list, creating diagrams or brainstorming, free or subscription-based "web-apps" have replaced Microsoft Office and other similar productivity software we regularly use.

And since all that is needed to use them is a browser, it's easy to jump from computer to laptop to iPad to smartphone; everything is always up to date, no matter which device you use.

Also, most of these tools allow for instant collaboration with peers, so no more "did you overwrite my document?" or "what version are you working on?"; everyone works at the same time in the same document!

1) Google Apps

Google AppsGoogle has created quite a family of apps, but the most popular and useful are Gmail and Google Calendar (which replace Outlook) and Google Drive (which replaces Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

A year ago, Symetris switched to Google Apps as our main replacement to "Microsoft Exchange/Office" (which most companies are familiar with). Google Apps lets us keep our @symetris.ca emails too (no unprofessional @gmail.com) and provides a detailed dashboard to account administrators.

While it might seem like quite a step to move from Outlook to Gmail, it really wasn't that difficult - and I personally haven't regretted it one bit!

Pricing: Google Apps bundles all the above (and more) for 5$ per user per month. For the flexibility it offers, I definitely am hooked.

2) Trello

TrelloTo-do lists are part of everyone's daily life. Always on the go, I wanted a centralized to-do list that could follow me around, yet still feel like my favourite notepad and pen. When I discovered Trello last year, my search was over.

Trello is deceptively simple, and wins by limiting options instead of giving you too much - less is more. And it's really intuitive too.

Here's how it works. Create "boards" and add lists to them. Then add items to lists and categorize them. Organize your board by easily dragging & dropping items up and down a list or from one list to another. Once an item is complete, just "archive" it and it disappears from the board. (and if you want, assign a to-do to a colleague and follow its progress) That's it!

Pricing: FREE!

3) MindMeister

Mindmeister"Mind maps" are ways of creating diagrams to organize your thoughts and often a useful tool for brainstorming. (check out the definition here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map)

When I need to work on strategic planning or to outline the agenda for a meeting, MindMeister is the tool I use to create my mind maps.

The reason I like MindMeister is for its beautiful design, super intuitive user interface (with lots of shortcuts that allow you to focus on thinking instead of where to click), and a cool "multiple undo" feature that can also show a "replay" of how you brainstormed out of your central idea.

Pricing: Free for up to 3 mind maps, then starts at 5$ per month for unlimited mind maps.

4) Cacoo

CacooDiagrams, sitemaps, wireframes, flowcharts, processes - these are essential building blocs of advanced websites and part of Symetris' day-to-day. But it's always difficult to express in words. And drawings can sometimes be imprecise and feel less professional.

Cacoo is a tool that allows us to create and archive these diagrams to help communicate with clients, and get everybody on the same page. You know what they say: "A diagram is worth a thousand words (and eliminates a lot of confusion)!"

Pricing: Free for up to 25 diagrams, then starts at 5$ per month.

5) Prezi

PreziTired of boring old PowerPoint presentations? Prezi is the alternative quickly gaining popularity.

The concept? Your presentation becomes a huge canvas, and each "slide" is a segment of the complete image. That makes Prezi presentations more than the sum of their parts and helps to keep your audience engaged.

While easily viewed online, presentations can also be bundled and downloaded for easy access when not connected to the internet.

Pricing: Free if your presentations are public. If you want private presentations, it starts at 5$ per month.

Tags : productivity, Web apps

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