Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

How to discover new great web apps for your work

discover web apps

There are many ways to get your work done on time, in an efficient manner, and without much risk. Opting for specialized web apps is one of them. As a web designer or web developer, you’re already aware of the benefits web apps bring to the table, like their presence on all devices, web-browser based execution, elimination of the need to be downloaded or installed, the opportunity to capture a much larger audience, and so on. But if you had to pick one key benefit they give you, what would it be? In our opinion, it would be the way they automate your work so you get to save a lot of your precious time.

Working with web apps automates your work

Web developers and designers have a lot of loose ends to take care of in their regular work. Brainstorming to find the perfect idea, giving it a shape in the form of drawings / sketches / blue-prints, conducting discussions to finalize their designs, giving them a material shape through diagram creation tools, coding to bring the material designs into action, testing whether they work as envisioned, and probably a lot many other activities. If looked at closely, a lot of those activities can be automated so that time and effort can be saved. For example, once the initial idea has been put down on paper and has been sufficiently brainstormed on, some web apps and web based tools can be used to draw it using flow diagram (or similar) constructs, the subsequent coding can be (and mostly is) achieved through IDEs, and even testing can be taken care of through specialized web apps for the purpose.

So in effect, the whole mechanism of automating your work through web apps helps you save a ton of your daily work time. And when you have more time, you have the opportunity to be more productive. You can use the time you save to come up with new ideas for even better projects, conduct research on making your existing projects better, or if you like, use it to relax and give that ever working mind of yours a much needed break.

Are there any web apps you use regularly?

Regardless of the field you’re in, there are a ton of web apps that you can use on a daily basis. And if you like to stay up-to-date with what’s relevant, you likely already use lots of web apps. Slack, Pocket, Hootsuite, Trello, MailChimp, etc. are some of the most popular web apps people use for varied business purposes. Do you use any of them in your day-to-day work? If so, how do you find out about them; Internet research, word of mouth? Did you know that at any point there are thousands of great web apps being used out there, some you’ve probably never even heard of?

With mobile application development becoming the IT trend of the decade and the consumer base for web apps increasing every day, more and more specialized web apps are constantly introduced for developers and designers. But the harsh reality is that while some of such web apps skyrocket and get all the hype, others having equal potential and a more affordable nature don’t make it to the mainstream because they don’t get the proper attention, the proper funding.

But that doesn’t mean no one notices them.

Over the years, several online developer communities have come up for various technologies that give small useful applications their due by getting them the right king of recognition – from other more established developers, tech-startups, potential customers, small scaled businesses, and even investors. Such communities make for great platforms where developers can showcase their work to the world, and maybe even strike the right cords to make it big.

But why are we telling you this?

Because until small web apps become the “next big thing”, they are just that – extremely useful web apps dedicated to solve specific purposes and very nominally priced. Imagine the kind of win-win deal you could strike if you got to know about some such great web apps that can aid you in your work and not seem heavy on your pocket too. You’d obviously want to try out such web apps. But here comes the obvious question – how would you find such apps?

How you can discover new web apps

We’ve compiled a list of avenues you should check out if you’re on the lookout for new web apps. Try them out in any order you’d like, and we’re sure you’ll be able to find something interesting:

Google

When it comes to searching for something on the Internet, the obvious answer is Google. In this case however, the search may or may not pan out. Not unless you specifically search for the phrases “top web apps”, “new web apps” or “top tools”. And while you’re at it, you may want to optionally add a launch year to narrow down the search results.

Product Hunt

Remember we mentioned communities where new tools, products, and apps can be showcased to catch the right attention? Well, Product Hunt is currently the mother of all such communities! Founded in 2013, Product Hunt is a platform dedicated to the sole purpose of letting people share-and-discover new products. It’s a global platform which surfaces the best new products every day for enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations. And it works on a simple user voting principle. So a product that actually sits well with the users of Product Hunt gets up-voted to the top of its lists. Anyone, designer / developer / coder, can submit a product on the platform and it will be listed in a linear format among all products submitted for the day. There’s a comments section for each product which allows users to post their direct feedback (invaluable for the developers behind it) and a voting system that enables users to rate it. If there’s a place where you can find awesome new web apps, this is it!

Betalist

Another gold mine for new apps, products, and ideas, Betalist is a community of makers and early adopters showcasing their startups and exchanging feedback. A quick look through its website and you know you’re in the right place. Technology, Marketing, Finance, Business, Socializing, and startups from every other field you can envision head over to Betalist to gather pre-launch responses from end users. Browse through their homepage to sift through all new apps for the current week and click on the ones you like to view their brief introduction, get their website link, share about them on social media, and/or up-vote them. Simple and effective. If you’re a real early adopter, eager to check very fresh web apps, you definitely want to check out Betalist. Alternative: BetaPage.

Social News Shows

Over the past decade, a number of social news websites and shows have come up which are backed by people who are passionate about bringing innovation in the way things are done. They invest in upcoming startups, product vendors, and web app makers, so that talented people can continue doing what they do best. One of the prominent players in this field is the team behind Y Combinator. Y Combinator is an American seed accelerator founded in 2005 by investors from different walks of life. The company created a new model for funding early stage startups and invests in a large number of startups twice a year. Two years later, they started Hacker News, a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship which highlights notable work by programmers and developers and also provides them much needed funding. When looking for new web apps, Hacker News is also a place you’d want to check out.

Specialized platforms for software search and ratings

And when you’ve been through the top players in the arena, here’s a list of other players; websites where not just developers, but the general public comprising of every day users can post their experiences with a particular web app or product so that you can benefit from their findings:

  • GetApp – Portal that puts up tool and app reviews and introduces you to new upcoming apps that can help you grow your business. Here, you can search for web apps from different business verticals like sales, marketing, finance, collaboration, human resources, communication, BI, etc. so you can search for exactly the kind of app you’re looking for, sorted by a category filter.
  • Capterra – Giving away its nature through the tagline “Find Software”, Capterra enables you to compare products, read reviews, and get access to the latest software research to find the right solution for your business. The software and apps listed on this portal are divided across 500+ categories, backed by 325,000 reviews, and used by some of the biggest organizations worldwide.
  • G2Crowd – Powered by real user reviews, G2Crowd is probably the fastest growing software and services search platform. With categories spanning across e-commerce, hosting, CRM, analytics, security, IT management, content management, and more, this platform allows people who have used an app or software to give their detailed feedback of the product in the form of a review so as to enable other potential users make informed decisions.
  • Other notable names in this list are CrozDesk and TrustRadius which again offer the same functionality, in a different packaging.

Websites informing about startups launching

As you’re probably already aware, there are many websites out there that keep posting updates about new startups. From these websites you can get the names of new upcoming startups and then find out about them on Google. This would help you narrow down the ones which develop the kind of web apps you’re looking for and you can proceed from there on. Some key websites that offer this nature of service include:

Zapier integrations

Zapier and IFTTT

Another smart idea for finding web apps that have already been verified by the market and became popular is looking at available integrations lists of Zapier and IFTTT. But it is quite probable that on website as widespread as these two, you won’t find what you’re looking in the first time around (it’s probable, not certain). If that happens, you can return to these web pages to check if something of your interest has been posted a little later.
Pro Tip: You can monitor the changes to these lists with change monitoring services like VisualPing so that as soon as something of interest comes up, you’re informed.

Subscribe to Super Monitoring Blog notifications

Probably the best way to discover new apps and quickly learn something about them is to subscribe to our blog notifications. We keep posting reviews of great web apps and tools here every now and then so you can stay updated with what’s buzzing.

Found an interesting app, but considering if it will really benefit you?

Often, even after finding a web app a user thought would be great for their work they don’t seem to have benefitted from any significant value addition. This can happen when they start searching for an app without really penning down their goals, the list of requirements they’d need to fulfill to reach those goals, and an estimate of the kind of time they’re willing to invest in accomplishing those goals. As such, they can end up with a web app that has potential, but doesn’t really suit their current purpose.

Thus, stay clear on your goals before starting to research for the perfect web app. Thereafter, keep the following points in mind to ensure that you’ll derive some benefit from the web app you put so much of your time searching for:

  • Read descriptions and comments about the web app on the discovery site you’re searching
  • Google for articles on the web app
  • Search YouTube for video reviews from actual end users
  • Sign up for free trials (if available) or schedule a demo

Wrapping it up

It is worth it to regularly check the online market space and find new web apps as some of them can really make your work (and life) easier. Of course, it takes some time, but with a little effort you can automate (or outsource) a substantial part of it and derive some real value.

Make better Gantt charts with TeamGantt

If your organization uses Gantt charts for project planning, you know they’re horizontal bar charts used to bring about better project management through production planning and control. Such charts provide a graphical illustration of a schedule that helps to plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project. When they play such crucial role for organizations, even slight errors in them could lead to huge losses. It thus becomes pivotal to spend quality and ample time into their making and studying. Additionally, since Gantt charts are used in project planning, coworkers within a team or across teams need to share them among themselves and use them for frequent discussions.

With the advent of technology, everything literally, is moving to the online space. Taking the case of Gantt charts for instance, creating such charts to manage projects and sharing them with coworkers has now become an online thing. And this article is focused on an online tool that excels in the task. Presenting – TeamGantt.

teamgantt

TeamGantt – Online Gantt chart software

TeamGantt is an online software that brings a new and easy feel to Gantt charts. The tool boasts of making the entire process so easy that you can create a project plan in minutes. Moreover, it enables inviting coworkers, teammates and friends to view and edit Gantt charts online thus making everything simpler. With a user-friendly approach, this online Gantt chart software helps you better understand your projects by helping you see what everyone is working on, check for tasks that are lagging behind schedule, better organize things and make comparisons between what was planned and what is actually achieved.

Key benefits that TeamGantt offers:

  • Quickly create and edit Gantt charts online through simple drag and drop approach.
  • File sharing becomes easy since the software is online. You can also receive comments on shared files to help you better collect information.
  • Particularly worthy for managers since they can easily see who is working on what on a daily basis
  • Makes tracking progress easier.
  • Eliminates the need to download or update software

 

Additional features that make TeamGantt stand apart from its competition include:

  • See the project taking shape in a step-wise fashion
  • Individual task management becomes a lot more enhanced. For example, Even if you only have one project open, you can still see if they are assigned a task in another project.
  • You can view multiple projects in one Gantt chart
  • A single TeamGantt screen lets you view all conversations, files, tasks, assignments, availability and more right in your Gantt chart.
  • Enables information filtering by person, due date, progress status and more to cut out the clutter.
  • Allows to print Gantt charts in PDF format
  • Allows you to create your own Gantt chart templates and use them within your team.

 

With features as awesome as these (and more), who wouldn’t want to try it out?

How it works

Sign up for free through a convenient link on the homepage. Once that’s done you’ll be asked to login with the credentials you just created. Thereafter you’ll be taken to your account’s homepage. Here you’ll see options to view your Active Projects, Task List, Week View etc. which will be empty initially.

teamgantt1

You can start adding projects by clicking the “+ New Project“ button. On doing so, you’ll be given the option to create a new project from scratch or import an existing one from a CSV. You can even choose to duplicate an earlier project if you have one.

Once you’re through this step, you will be redirected to a page where you can add people or resources to the project. Once done, click on the “Done” button at the bottom of the screen to arrive at the main software screen.

Here you can actually get down to business. Create tasks, assign them to people, drag to mark deadlines; basically do what you need to do to get the ball rolling. If you’re into creating Gantt charts for some time, you’ll know what to do. And if you need help, watch a tutorial video by clicking on the link that says “Watch this quick video to learn how”.

In addition to this video, there are a lot of other tutorial videos that can be found on the TeamGantt “Learning Center”. They’re accompanied by Blog posts and articles on the topic to help newbies out. They also have a live chat option where a helpful assistant answers random queries you have and gives tips and pointers.

Strengths VS Weaknesses

The strengths of this tool are many and are basically evident from the list of features described above. Add to that the immensely powerful advantage of being omni-accessible owing to its web presence, and the tool is a clear winner.

The weakness of this tool lies in its pricing. For an account where you can create unlimited projects with unlimited users and 100 GB of file storage, you’ll need to fish out almost $250 per month. There are other plans too with lesser charges but they have lower storage, user and project numbers allowed. While large organizations may be able to afford a tool so pricy, it might be a little too steep for small teams looking to better manage their short-term projects.

  • Make project planning fun and interactive with online Gantt chart software @teamgantt teamgantt.com/ via @supermonitoring

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To sum it up

Overall, TeamGantt is a great online tool if you have the pocket for it. It anyways comes with a free 30 days trial so if the feature list is tempting you but you’re unsure, try it out first. If you really like it, buy one of their plans. If you decided against it, well, who’s stopping you from backing out?

Track your work time and more in a few clicks with Harvest

In every organization there are a zillion trivial tasks associated with the core work; work force management, sales, human resources and what not. While most of these tasks are the organization’s headache, there’s one activity that takes up much of the employees’ and employer’s time and is often a boring but necessary chore. We’re talking about none other than work time tracking.

If you’ve ever worked with a time tracking tool you know that creating user stories, assigning them to employees and subsequent filling in of data by the employees is a rather lengthy procedure and often ends up in wastage of crucial working hours. Having an automatic tool that’s easy to understand, use and maintain is the need of the hour. Enter – Harvest!

harvest

Harvest – Time Tracking was never this easy!

Harvest is an online time tracking tool that’s fast gaining momentum. An attractive user interface, easy to use modules and an almost absent learning curve make this tool the optimum choice most corporates are turning to when it comes to work time management.

So what makes it worth all the hype? Here is a short list of its features:

  • Start-Stop Timers
    Harvest gives people the option to enter their work time manually or simply start the timer at the beginning of an activity and stop it at the end – with just a click. Neat, simple and quick!
  • Omni-access
    Since it is an online tool, you can track time using Harvest through Mac, PC, iPhone or any Android device, anywhere, anytime.
  • Automatic Reminders
    Perfect for team management, Harvest lets you set automatic reminders for employees to submit their timesheets. Staff permission adjusting is also possible.
  • Compare time devoted to different projects
    This unique feature lets you comparatively assess the time devoted to different projects, tasks and by employees.
  • Create invoices seamlessly
    Harvest automatically pulls in data for hours and expenses and organizes them to make billing fast, accurate and easy. Plus, it lets you use filters to highlight billable, non-billable, employee or contractor hours.
  • Export reports
    You can even export reports to CSV, Excel, Google Drive and more using this brilliant tool.

With features as impressive as these, Harvest surely seems to be one time tracking tool that is more than just a time tracking tool. It’s a one-stop solution for corporates who wish to simplify the entire timesheet process and make their life easier.

How it works

You can check out how Harvest works through an instant free trial. Just click on the big green button on the homepage that says “Try Harvest Free” to start the 30 day free trial. You could also choose to watch a nice little film directed at marketing the tool.

harvest1

Once you’ve completed the sign-up (which is free by the way), you’re shown a pop-up where you need to verify your currency format and let the makers know how you got to know about the tool.

The next thing you see is a Welcome page and a prompt to “Create your first project”. You can get straight to the point or choose to browse through available Webinars (Live online classes), Help Center or Support. If you choose to go ahead with creating a fresh project, you’ll see another form asking you for details about the project you want to create. Fill in details like Client name, Project title, dates, invoice method, budget, tasks etc. You can even choose to add people to this project and send them invites to join the project on Harvest.

Once you’re through, add tasks to the project if you wish to and Save it. That’s actually it! You have a project set up and ready to be tracked with timesheets and all the works. And all it took was 5 minutes, a little information and few clicks. An easy tabbed menu lets you navigate between your timesheets, projects, reports, invoices and management giving the whole thing a very relaxed, even fashionable feel.

Major Advantages of Harvest

The plus point of this tool lies in its professionalism and flexibility. The terminology used in Harvest is very professional and at par with that used in other time tracking tools. You’ll find that this tool has everything you need in a time tracking tool with the additional advantage of a sense of ease. The click-next phenomenon, easy creation of projects and tasks make it a definite winner.

harvest2

Add to that the easy accessibility factor. As compared to other tools which restrict you to using them within the company’s intranet or VPN (virtual private network), Harvest lets you access it and track time from any location as well as any device. That gives the employees a sense of freedom when it comes to working from a location other than office. They can take their work home and manage their time as they wish. This factor can play a major role in boosting productivity and creativity.

Another benefit of this tool’s working model can be seen if a company hires freelancers in addition to the regular workforce. With Harvest, the regular employees and the freelancers can work as one team without any technical hindrances. All times can be tracked and maintained as one. That is the actual power Harvest brings with it.

The Bad

The only downside to this tool is the price associated with it. Most organizations today use in-built timesheet tracking tools which are frankly not that difficult to develop and are of course more reasonable to maintain. That said, a tool such as Harvest that comes with a full-fledged set of features, professional feel, far reach, flexibility and user-friendliness is well worth its price.

  • Track your work time with a few clicks with @harvest getharvest.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

Tracking time should surely not be a time taking activity. However, it unfortunately becomes so quite often. If you’re interested in letting go of the headache of maintaining a competent tool that lets you spend less time in tracking and more time in doing, choosing Harvest would be the way to go. So what if it comes for a price? That’s an aspect you’ll happily overlook once you experience it.

My Web Toolkit: Neil Patel

We started this series interviewing a successful Developer, now it’s time for one of the top 10 online marketers and his toolbox.

Neil Patel is Wall Street Journal’s top influencer on the web, also praised by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, United Nations and President Obama himself.

Neil consults the largest enterprises, including Amazon, eBay, GM, HP, Microsoft and NBC, helping them maximize their revenue. But he’s best known from creating the three brands you surely heard of: Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and Hello Bar.

Neil blogs at Quicksprout and speaks at 25 conferences a year. He lives in Seattle.

NeilPatel

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Neil’s Top Web Apps

Neil Patel uses and recommends the following web tools:

  • googleanalytics Google Analytics“I use this tool to analyze how my websites are doing. It gives me a rough overview if there is growth.”
  • kissmetrics KISSmetrics“This tool helps me track my life time value and if things are getting better or worse.”
  • rescuetime RescueTime“I optimize my productivity through this free tool. It tells me how to save time.”
  • yesware Yesware“This free service tells me if people are opening up my emails. This is useful for sales.”
  • hellobar Hello Bar“It’s a great free tool to help you convert more visitors into customers.”
  • gmail Gmail“My inbox controls me. I run everything through it and Gmail is what I use.”
  • wordpress WordPress“I love blogging and WordPress by far is my favorite platform. Blogging is also how we generate most of our traffic.”
  • googlecalendar Google Calendar“My life is hectic and this app lets me easily organize my day.”
  • unrollme Unroll.Me“This is a great app that lets me remove junk from my inbox.”
  • .@neilpatel Top Web Apps: @GoogleAnalytics, @KISSmetrics, @RescueTime, @Yesware, @theHelloBar, @Gmail, @WordPress, @GoogleCalendar

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Web Apps Neil is involved in

“KISSmetrics and Hellobar. I am the co-founder of both of them.”

How does Neil find his apps?

“Word of mouth. When friends tell me about a app that’s great, I usually try them out.”

That’s all, but another “My Web Toolkit” interview is coming soon!

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