If you’re like most web design professionals, you spend a portion of your time looking for ways to do things faster and better. You’re quite aware that increases in productivity has a way of translating into increased income. However, the tools you use to influence your productivity can either increase it, or place constraints on it.
Some top-tier productivity apps are presented here; mostly in slightly different ways. Some speed up prototyping, and can boost your entire design process, while others automate project management tasks, and by doing so, they free up time you can use for design work.
Similarly, time tracking apps help freelancers and small businesses to work more efficiently, as well the apps that encourage active collaboration can boost the productivity of an entire team.
If you need a low-maintenance project management tool that’s easy to learn and use, you should try out Active Collab. This productivity app does not have to be constantly hand-fed with data to keep the status of your projects up to date. With its numerous integrations, it accepts data from different sources and tools that you and your team use.
Active Collab has a very flexible project overview that allows you to lay your projects out on a Gantt-like timeline, and then organizes your tasks like cards on a Kanban board. This software solution also lets you centralize all your team collaboration in one place, making it easier for everyone to stay up-to-date.
Team members and other project stakeholders can be kept up to speed on project status and happenings. Clients can be brought into the loop as well. Moreover, you can restrict client access, as well as hide information you don’t want them to see.
Active Collab is worth looking into, and you can try free for 30 days!
With Wake, you can seamlessly share your design process with your team. Keep a pulse on what your colleagues are creating within one, beautiful app. You can share sketches, screenshots, or other assets with team members or clients and get feedback on the spot.
If you have designs in your notebook or on your whiteboard you want to publish, Wake’s iOS app lets you snap a photo and send it off in seconds. The app allows you to stay up-to-date on project happenings and provide quick feedback from anywhere.
This ability to share work without interrupting workflow makes the entire design process seamless for your entire team, even those outside of design. With Wake, work can be shared publicly, so everyone knows what everyone is working on; or shared privately with selected individuals or stakeholders.
To see how wake can streamline your design team’s process, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial.
The initial step a web designer often takes when building an awesome product is to build an awesome prototype. That’s exactly what the Proto.io app does. It makes it possible for you to create a prototype that’s hard to distinguish from the real deal; and without having to write a single line of code.
You can use Proto.io’s iOS or Android components to design your prototype within the “Proto.io editor”, or import your files directly from Sketch or Photoshop. It makes it easy to take your static designs, and by creating beautiful interactions, popular gestures, and stunning animations, turn them into interactive prototypes.
You can add any touch or mouse-driven event to your prototypes as well, and it’s ready-made Interaction design patterns can be applied to your prototypes easily and effortlessly. Preview the completed prototype on either your browser or a real device, and share the real experience you’ve created with stakeholders.
You can try out the free version of Proto.io for 15 days.
MeisterTask can be your go-to project management tool, as it allows you to adjust its flexible project boards to fit your workflows.
MeisterTask can track as many team members’ tasks as you want, and thanks to its customizable dashboard, you can see what has been happening in your absence, get a quick check on open tasks, and decide the priorities for the rest of the day and on.
It is a time tracking app highly suited for freelancers and small businesses. The time Minterapp tracks on a project, can automatically be converted to custom invoices, which can then be delivered to clients online.
Estimates based on projected task or project times to completion, can also be delivered online. Minterapp perfectly ties into Mailchimp, Basecamp, and PayPal, and can accommodate an unlimited number of users.
Any small business that is large enough to have a sales department will appreciate Salesmate’s sales management features. Salesmate is an all-in-one sales management, process automation, and business acceleration software solution.
This productivity app not only provides a real-time picture of a business’s sales funnel, but tracks and evaluates the sales team’s performance as well.
Tips for better productivity
1. Plan your day
Don’t be afraid to plan your day’s activities in detail, for fear of placing yourself in a straightjacket. After all, it’s your plan, and failing to work to a plan is an excellent way to fail!
By looking ahead, you should easily be able to create a plan that helps you avoid time crunches, or getting snowed under. If you find yourself looking for a quick solution, without first understanding the problem, it’s a good sign that you need to be working to a plan.
Plan the next day’s activities at the end of your work day. Check your plan over the next morning. If it still makes sense – follow it.
2. Pick up keyboard shortcuts
Useful keyboard shortcuts may only save you a few seconds, but they quickly add up to minutes saved, and even hours saved on some projects. You’ll quickly discover that “Ctrl + something” is much faster than searching for a series of icons to click on. Taking the time to learn these shortcuts will be time well spent, and it will make you a more productive person.
3. Standardize naming conventions and tag assignments
Standardized naming conventions can save you a ton of time, and will also save time for anyone you collaborate with or submit your design files to. You’ll find it much easier to stay organized, and if you tag your files, you’ll realize savings in computer search time.
4. Take advantage of what time tracking can teach you
Start tracking the time you spend on various tasks, and you quickly begin to find out more about yourself and your work habits. Time tracking will help you uncover unnecessary or wasteful efforts, and can highlight any time you spend procrastinating. It will also make you want to improve and streamline your work habits.
5. Customize your workspace
While a productivity tool or app can have an immediate impact on your work performance, give some thought as to whether you might be able to customize your workspace to increase productivity even more. Preset workspaces in Adobe applications, for example, are typically designed to make things easier for you. It is also often possible to customized them to make things speedier for your particular workflow.