The pool of available apps for web platforms and smartphones is growing at an unprecedented rate, and finding a solution that will meet all your needs and expectations, will not be overfilled with unnecessary features and functions, and will not cost a fortune is a rather challenging task. The year 2018 has not brought any app or platform to stir up a software revolution as it was in 2004 when Facebook was launched or in 2016 when Google Assistant was introduced. Instead, 2018 became a year of important updates for the apps we use and enjoy, such as G-Suite, Microsoft Office, or YouTube. Together with that, a number of less popular, smaller-scale, industry-specific web-based and mobile apps were introduced.
We asked our colleagues about their most favorite software updates and discoveries of 2018, which have made their personal and professional routine more convenient and enjoyable. Here, we want to share their recommendations with you to give these amazing apps a chance to become an indispensable part of your business life.
Proven – the optimal assistant in hiring
Proven gives me valuable hints and tools on how to create a unique job post and enables me to distribute it across major job boards in a single click. Later, I am to find all the applications from each job board collected at Proven. The platform makes it easier to manage, review, and communicate with the candidates, schedule interviews, and store the documents. With a well-organized and agile hiring process, I always bring the most talented candidates to our team.
HotJar – a one-of-a-kind tool that helps you understand your website visitors
Instead of complex databases, statistics, and charts, HotJar offers a simple but illustrative way to get to know our website visitors. The clicks, taps, and scrolling patterns of users are visualized as a heatmap ― the most popular spots are orange and red, while the least frequently tapped spots are in the shades of black or blue. Cursor movements and page navigations are recorded as hand-drawn lines across the screen, which gives a perfect understanding of visitors’ behavior. Conversion Funnels show at which page and at which stage most users are leaving our website. Form Analysis enables me to improve our form completion rates, while Feedback Polls are an important step towards understanding what else our users expect to see on the website.
RescueTime – an effective time management tool
If you are as well-familiar with procrastination and over-multitasking as I am, check out RescueTime ― it is here to save us and our productivity. The app enables me to set my daily or weekly goals and receive an email with a final report on my performance and a productivity score. It also enables blocking distracting websites and notifications, getting reminders about goals and deadlines, or setting an alarm to control the time I spend scrolling down the Facebook feed. RescueTime gives me a broader perspective on how I use my precious time and how to boost my productivity. There is also a corporate version of the app, which gives an understanding of the efforts spent by the entire team with a respect to the privacy of each member in mind.
MyMinutes – strengthening accountability to oneself
I have been looking for something super simple but effective to motivate me to become more self-disciplined and organized, and MyMinutes has become the optimal solution! Its functionality is limited to setting the minimum and maximum time I want to spend on a certain task, choosing days on which I want to repeat it, and getting timely notifications. Having achieved a goal, I build a motivational streak, so I am eager to take up the next day challenge to keep the streak going. The design is ultra simplistic not to distract me from the main goal ― to have the things done.
CommitTo3 – productivity and accountability trigger
CommitTo3 is a great tool for managers and business leaders to boost the corporate culture and accountability in the team. The job of executives is frequently left behind the curtains, and if the employees do not fully understand their role, they are bound to lose their own motivation to work. This app enables us to connect a team of users, each of whom makes a daily commitment to complete three major tasks. When someone finishes all the three objectives, all the team members receive an email alert. We log our own progress and observe the one of our colleagues. In these circumstances, there is no room left for procrastination and laziness.
Canva – a magic wand for outstanding visuals and graphics
Creating effective visual aids and appealing infographics used to be a complicated and time-consuming task for my colleagues as they have neither skills nor tools. They would approach me with those tasks, but at some point, I realized that I could not manage all the workload. This is when I came across Canva ― a web-based platform, which offers a variety of templates and embedded functions for the creative minds to implement their ideas. I shared this discovery with my colleagues, and my life became so much easier. Making a diagram, a chart, a mind map, or a poster, illustrating a process flow or SWOT analysis findings, creating banners, book covers, or comic strips has never been that simple even for a person with no skills in design. Canva allows our team members to find a common language and render a message better and faster during brainstorming or training sessions.
Harvest – a time & expenses tracker
Managing a project and keeping a hand on the pulse of the entire team is a complex and challenging process, where not a single detail should be left out of attention. Tracking time and expenses, scheduling meetings and events, and paying our team members on merit became easier with Harvest ― a project management app that works across various platforms and unites the team around a mutual goal. Looking back at our experiences, we are able to optimize future projects, to prevent people from burning out, to identify the most devoted employees to reward, and to find those who may take more work on their plate.
CoSchedule – a tool for business communication, corporate file exchange, and project management
The marketing process is easy and free of mess with CoSchedule ― an efficient tool for in-house marketing teams, agencies, solo entrepreneurs, and small businesses. The app facilitates business communication, social media management, and project planning, so we have left behind numerous spreadsheets and calendars. The major features include Marketing Calendar, Social Media Scheduling, Marketing Campaigns, Email Marketing, Analytics, and the tools for Project Workflow and Team Management.
Basecamp – a project management lifesaver
I love Basecamp because it enables me to create a task, assign a certain group of people to complete it before a set due date, notify them with a Basecamp reminder, and view the progress of all the assignments on one screen in real time. It enables us to minimize the time spent on meetings and discussions and to organize work more efficiently. Communication with a client or an external partner also becomes easier through automatic notifications, embedded emails, and shared file storage.
Slack – team communication booster
Slack is a trusted business communication platform, which, in 2018, united over 8 million daily users and 500 hundred organizations. Communication in Slack is organized in channels by projects, topics, teams, or whatever criteria we choose. It enables us to integrate tools and services we use on a daily basis, to search conversations, and to exchange files with corporate users. Voice calls, video conferences, and screen sharing are also supported, so we do not use any outside services.
Trello – dashboards for managing effective teamwork
Trello is a renown platform for teamwork organization and for personal planning. We create a dashboard with a few sections featuring cards organized in thematic columns. For instance, we may organize our tasks in “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done” or “Low priority”, “Medium priority”, and “High priority” sections; analyze “Pros” and “Cons” of a certain decision; or divide the assignments between “Bohdana”, “Iryna”, and “Ilona”. Trello gives plenty of room for creative solutions and innovative organizational approaches. It also has noteworthy alternatives: a reputable Asana and a super simplified Kanban Flow.
Blinkist – a perfect tool for avid readers
I am keen to discover new facts and ideas, but a tough schedule does not let me read as much as I would like. Blinkist has become an optimal solution as it enables me to listen to favorite books or valuable insights from interesting people while on the go. The Blinkist library contains over 2,500 books and podcasts, and it is updated on a monthly basis. My favorite categories are Communication Skills and Personal Growth although such sections as History, Psychology, or Management also contain a lot of interesting podcasts to listen to. What I also enjoy about the tool is that it synchronizes across various devices so that I am always able to access it regardless of where I am.
ProofHub – a business management and communication tool
If you like the features offered by all the aforementioned apps but want to see them together in one place ― try out ProofHub, a multifaceted platform for project management and team communication. Here, you may find dashboards and workflow charts, file review and feedback sharing features, resources and projects reports. You create tasks, assign responsible people, set deadlines, and define the level of privacy for each entry. Time tracker is also integrated into this platform to make sure that your corporate success does not fall victim to procrastination or laziness. As the platform is multilingual, it became an indispensable business tool for more than 85 thousand companies across the globe.
Notion – a simple but elegant app that runs by the rule “All in one place”
My greatest compliments go to Notion for its elegance, simplicity, and multifunctionality. The idea of this web platform is to spare a user the headache of switching between innumerable tabs in the browser and to integrate all the key business tools in one application.
Notion replaces Google Docs and Evernote as its first significant feature is note and document writing, which is advanced with multiple functions: tags, checkboxes, links, lists, and other important tools.
It also is a great alternative for Confluence or GitHub as it enables a company to create a hierarchy of informational and easily accessible documents for the team members to easily find any answers.
It is a great tool to replace Trello, Asana, or Jira as it also features dashboards, calendars, and lists.
Finally, the platform includes spreadsheets and databases, so there is no more need for separate Google or Airtable Sheets.
If you are not ready to let your favorite apps and platforms go or the synchronization process seems pretty daunting, Notion enables you to integrate your current tools, including Slack, Google Drive, Maps, GitHub, and Twitter. This app is the best way to let the entire team see the whole picture and understand the work-flow of a project.
We hope that this article was informative, and you discovered a few apps for yourself to give a try to in 2019. Should you have another great application or platform to share with us ― please, do so. Do you have an idea of an app that will revolutionize the world in 2019? We are here to offer our professional help. Let our outstanding team of software developers help you fulfill your New Year resolution!
Here at KeenEthics, we wish you merry and cozy holidays and a year full of incredible travels and startling business success!