Dave Ringler

10 Tools we rely on to Increase Productivity, Communication and Collaboration

From competitive research and tech platform evaluation, to proof of concepts and team communication, we’re always trying out new tools on our design and dev team. Check out 10 of our favorites at the moment.

From competitive research and tech platform evaluation, to proof of concepts and team communication, we’re always trying out new tools on our design and dev team. Check out 10 of our favorites at the moment.

One of the most extraordinary facets of the tech industry is that creators who work so hard to build websites for clients, digital products for consumers, and mobile apps of all kinds, are also the ones creating the actual tools used when building these creations.

Make sense? I sort of think of it like those rainforest ants that build bridges, ladders, and other complicated structures out of…themselves.

Here is a list of 10 tools we use at Adept to manage our projects and processes—making our life easier, our work more connected, and our deliverables on schedule.

Competitive Insights, Project Scoping & Technology Research

AlternativeTo

This is a go-to resource when scoping a new project, looking for a better weather app, or short-listing a pool of technology platforms to consider for a specific application.

AlternativeTo is a crowdsourced software recommendation destination. Type in just about anything, and get a list of comparable digital tools to consider. FREE to use!

BuiltWith

Find out what websites are built with. It’s that simple. What ecomm platform are they running? Is that just a WordPress theme? Are they a HubSpot client? How are they running ads? Are they A/B testing?

Single site lookups are free forever, and BuiltWith also offers paid intelligence plans that give users access to an array of data-driven internet and technology usage insights. 

Alexa

An Amazon product, Alexa provides competitive traffic insights that help users identify where their site ranks globally and in-industry. Everyone’s familiar with GAwhich Adept uses widely, deeply and extensively—as GA derives its numbers directly from the site being measured.

Alexa offers a different, more comparative lens to look at data through, and can yield additional insights. There are numerous blogs comparing both tools, and I encourage you to spend some time learning about Alexa.

Design & Development 

The Noun Project

The Noun Project is library of design community-sourced icons and design elements created to “simplify communication across borders and around the world.” Adept leverages this resource from time to time, and I personally get lost exploring their massive library of elegant iconography.

CodePen

This one is probably old news to you if you’re a developer. For everyone else, CodePen is a playground/sandbox/PoC tool that offers HTML, CSS and JavaScript in-browser. As users code, you get a real time preview right in your browser.

At Adept, we hold short CodePen competitions to see who can come up with the most creative dev solutions to open ended problems. One of my favorite Pens” adds wind resistance to card dragging in Hearthstone.

CodePen Example 

Dash

Our Director of Web Development, Justin Hines introduced me to Dash when I mentioned I was writing this blog. Dash is an API Document Browser and Code Snippet Manager. It gives offline access to over 150 document sets, from iOS and tvOS (Apple TV), to AngularJS, Drupal and Unity3D. Download once, and Dash keeps it all up to date.

Alfred for Mac

Alfred is a Mac OS app that lets users create custom hotkeys and build custom actions to run your Mac. Have a laser focus on searching your Mac and the web? Do you go to Stack Overflow a lot? Set up a site-specific search query through Alfred, and you’re multiple keystrokes closer to the answers you need.

Custom Workflows let you replace repetitive key stroke + mouse action tasks with hotkeys.

Project Management & Team Communication

Slack

Okay, admittedly not exactly a “secret” in the tech world. Adept uses Skype as our main interoffice chat tool, but our Web Dev team does use Slack within our team, because Slack. Slack boasts easy project and team-specific channel set up, quick file sharing, and hundreds of integrated apps like Crashlytics, Dropbox, Asana and Stripe help your team receive critical notifications quickly.

 

Skitch

Now owned by Evernote, Skitch is my go-to screen cap and markup tool. From documenting intended uses cases, to annotating live websites, to creating new user guides for client, Skitch has the simple tools to quickly snap and share screens and notes of any kind.

Rick Roll Skitch  

Instagantt

In my last blog comparing three top project management tools, I mentioned Instagantt has an Asana integration that pulls tasks in Asana into the Instagantt platform to create…wait for it…project Gantt charts. Edits flow both ways to let you easily schedule tasks and visualize project impact.

The dependencies you create in Instagantt (missing in Asana), allow you to bulk move dependent task in Instagantt, and those move feed back into Asana.

While these 10 tools are helping us run smoothly, endless web sources at our fingertips make it seem like we could be missing out on some incredible apps. What tools are you and your team using? 

Like what you just read? Share it!

Dave Ringler

About Dave Ringler

"New digital experiences become available daily, and it can feel impossible to identify which will gain traction with users, and which will obsolesce tomorrow. It's all sexy, fun, and highly engaging, but useless if you don't fundamentally understand who you are, and what you do for your users." Dave cuts through that clutter. He leads cross-functional teams, bringing business, marketing, IT, creative and operations stakeholders together to scope, plan and execute innovative, business-driven digital products and web experiences.