I recently started a part time, fully online/remote degree in Digital Design & Technology after working in a similar field, unqualified, for nearly 15 years. I thought I knew it all and knew the best tools of the trade. I was wrong.
The fact that my course is 100% online forced the usage of the apps/websites I’m about to detail but I’ll be using these for my own business, collaborative and personal use from here on in. All of the following apps are cloud based and available from any device with internet access. All (Except Coggle) have native app versions for mobile devices too which give a streamlined, better user interface if you’re not at your main desktop or laptop.
You may notice a slight Google bias here! Most are free for personal/lite usage.
Nothing new or groundbreaking here of course but you can’t beat gmail for reliable, cloud based email communication. Filtering, Labels & Folders and email search are dead handy as is syncing between different device versions.
Standout Feature: Multiple accounts.
2 Google Drive
A file repository and storage system but with document sharing, commenting and integration with Google Docs, Sheets etc.. I love the live editing mode where you can actually see other people typing/editing on screen and commenting within documents is handy too.
Standout Feature: File & Folder access/sharing.
3 Google Hangouts
Excellent call conferencing and instant messaging system with good integration with Google Calendar, ie – click the link in a calendar event to join a call.
Standout Feature: Screen sharing to a group.
4 Google Calendar
Event/task reminder system with event invites and reminder notifications. I can’t live without this in my life. I might forget to breathe without it. Automatic email notifications of event changes to event attendees is handy.
Standout Feature: Add other people to events/Indicate attendance.
5 Google Apps (Docs, Sheets & Slides)
A cloud based alternative to the Microsoft Office suite of office apps. Apps are slightly less functional than the Microsoft versions but all are very capable still. I love that documents are automatically backed up and available across devices.
Standout Feature: Live simultaneous document editing by multiple people.
Simple collaborative mind mapping and idea generation tool. Initiate an idea in the centre and drag “idea” branches and sub branches out from it. Notifications of changes to branches are emailed to members automatically.
Standout Feature: Mind map exporting.
I’ve saved the best until last. My OCD loves this one! Trello is a collaborative project management tool with “Cards” for each task and To Do, Doing and Done columns. It’s great for an Agile/Scrum environment as task cards can have deadlines etc.. You can organise everything from a major project to your whole life with Trello.
Standout Feature: Board notifications and integration with Google calendar.