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Top 5 Productivity Apps [Updated for 2022]

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We live in distracting times. And with many of us operating remotely or in computer-dependent workplaces, it’s not hard to imagine why. But modern obstacles call for modern solutions. There are a number of apps on the market today to help you integrate a more efficient workflow.

What is a productivity app?

A mobile productivity app is a software program that allows smartphone, tablet, and wearable device users to perform essential day-to-day tasks.

Productivity apps are meant to increase the efficiency of their users. They can be useful for individuals and teams looking for transparent, collaborative methods of communication. A good productivity app can help you focus on work, track habits, manage time, and prioritize your obligations. Finding the best tool for your schedule and lifestyle is key.

What are the best productivity apps?

Here are 5 productivity apps to give you an extra push.

Proofhub

Screenshot of Proofhub UI

Proofhub helps teams organize and track their projects, facilitating a smoother collaborative process.  What makes ProofHub one of the best project management apps, however, is that it has tools that help your team discuss visual materials.

Proofhub isn’t without its compromises. It doesn’t have budgeting, invoicing, or resources management tools. But you can integrate Proofhub with your accounting software if needed!

Pricing:

  • Essential – $45/month. 40 projects, unlimited users, and 15GB storage.
  • Ultimate Control – $89/month. Unlimited projects, unlimited users, and 100GB storage.

TickTick

Screenshot of TickTick UI

TickTick is a cross-platform and collaborative to-do app that has a few neat features suited to the Getting Things Done (GTD) method of working and the Pomodoro Technique. TickTick offers two membership tiers: free and premium. Both tiers offer strategies for focusing to get hard work done without wasting time or procrastinating.

However, TickTick’s free account does carry some restrictions. For example, you can only make 9 lists, with 99 tasks per list, and 19 subtasks in any task. In terms of collaborating, free account holders can only invite one person per list.

TickTick’s Premium service allows you to add up to 5 reminders on each task, and share a task list with up to 29 members, making collaboration easier for your team. Additionally, you can upload 99 attachments every day.

Pricing: 

  • Free
  • Premium: $2.99/month. $27.99/year ($2.33/m).

Trello

A screenshot of Trello

Trello is a great choice for fans of simplicity and those looking for the most user-friendly project management solutions. It’s easy to use and has almost no learning curve at all. 

Trello’s free plan may actually suffice for smaller teams with lighter task management needs. This is especially true for individuals looking to manage their own workflow, rather than to oversee the work of others. However, the free plan does miss out on some helpful features, such as Trello’s priority support. 

Pricing:

  • Free: $0/month per user.
  • Business Class: $12.50/month per user.
  • Enterprise: $17.59/month per user. 

Engross

Promo shot of Engross UI

Engross can be useful for those looking to improve their focus while working from home or manage a bustling life on the go. This app offers a clean, minimalist design that saves you the trouble of acclimating to a busier, more feature-laden app. 

Engross includes a Pomodoro clock, a planner and calendar, and reminders alongside statistical analysis of how you use your time.

Pricing:

  • Free: $0/month per user.

Evernote

A screenshot of Evernote UI

Evernote has been regarded as the king of note-taking apps. But this has as much (if not more) to do with its tenured status as its effectiveness. It’s been around since 2004, which means it’s seen a lot of changes to the way we integrate technology into our task management.

The primary strength of Evernote is, of course, note-taking. Individual files are saved in Notes, which can then be organized into thematic Notebooks. Multiple Notebooks can be combined to create Notebook Stacks.

Evernote is known for its straightforward, intuitive interface. On both desktop and mobile, Evernote’s UI is clean and makes use of familiar icons to indicate the tool’s core functions.

Pricing: 

  • Free: $0/month per member.
  • Personal Account: $8/month.
  • Professional Account: $10/month per user.
  • Endnote Teams Account: $15/month per user.

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Business

Bit.ai Review for Business [2023]

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When you’re collaborating on documents with other writers or co-workers, how do you keep everyone on the same page?

Truth be told, for most of you, the answer is probably Google Docs. It’s quick, efficient, and easy to share. But what if there was a better way?

Bit.ai professes to be “the world’s most powerful workplace and document collaboration platform.” In this Bit.ai review, we’ll put that claim to the test.

Bit.ai Review: What is Bit.ai?

Bit.ai review

Co-founded by Raj and Saje Sandhu, Bit.ai has been offering document collaboration to companies like Canon and Harvard University since 2007. The company employs a global team with headquarters in San Francisco.

What does Bit.ai offer?

Bit offers a lot of custom features depending on your business’ workflow. Some of their offerings include:

  • Collaborative document editor
  • Content library
  • Cloud integration
  • 100+ file types
  • Automated formatting, themes, templates
  • End-to-end document sharing
  • Branded documents
  • Customizable workspaces

We’ll explore some of the key features in the next section.

How much does Bit.ai cost?

Bit.ai pricing page

Individual users and small teams can use Bit.ai for free. Here’s a breakdown of their three pricing plans:

  • Free plan: $0/mo. Up to 5 members, 50 documents, 5MB file limit, 1GB storage.
  • Pro plan: $12/mo or $96/yr. Unlimited members and documents, 200MB file limit, 500GB storage.
  • Business plan: $20/mo or $180/yr. Unlimited storage, document tracking tools, dedicated support, free guest access.

They also offer bespoke plans for enterprise customers, as well as discounted pricing for education, startups, nonprofits, and businesses involved in the COVID-19 response.

Bit.ai Review: How to sign up

Sign up page with space for email address

Getting started with Bit.ai is as simple as inputting your email and receiving a six-digit verification code.

After that, you’re asked to fill out information like your name, your job title, and your department at your company, as well as create a password. Right off the bat, Bit puts businesses first, setting itself apart from Google Docs before you even log in.

Sign up page with spaces for company information

But it doesn’t stop there. When you sign up, you create a profile for your whole company, getting a custom subdomain for your team to access your library.

And there you have it! Once you’re logged in, you have the option to see a tutorial. If you want to upgrade to a paid plan, use the handy “Upgrade” button in the lower left corner of your dashboard.

Bit.ai Review: Features

The Bit.ai web app includes tabs for your dashboard, a list of all your workspaces, and a link tracking tab for Business and Enterprise users.

The Bit.ai dashboard

Bit.ai dashboard screenshot

Your Bit.ai homepage allows you to view recent activity, featured templates, tutorials and updates, as well as see how close you are to your document limit if you’re a free user.

With this limit, Bit.ai offers almost all of their features to free users. I prefer this model for free versions rather than arbitrarily limiting features.

You can open documents directly from the dashboard, but only using a featured template or a recently-opened one. To create something from scratch, you’ll have to head over to Workspaces.

The Workspaces tab

Workspaces tab with no workspaces created

First thing’s first: create a workspace. Workspaces are where your documents are created, saved, and shared. Once you’ve made one, you can create a new document, either by using a template, importing an existing document, or starting from scratch.

Creating a document with Bit.ai

Document editor with the heading "The Ins and Outs of Creating Documents"

When you create a new document in Bit.ai, you’re taken to a bare-bones writing editor similar to Notion. I always find it hard to start writing when you don’t have anything visual to guide you, but once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly intuitive.

I think the reason for this no-frills approach is to make it easier to take meeting notes and write down quick thoughts about a project. For more in-depth functions, however, you can highlight your text after you’ve written it to change the formatting. There’s also a + icon next to your cursor that lets you add links, embeds, files, code blocks, and more.

One neat feature of this text editor is the ability to link directly to other documents and content in your Bit.ai library. It makes it much easier to cross-reference documents than it is in Google Docs, Word, Notes, etc., another great benefit for businesses.

Close-up of drop-down menu with document options

There’s no need to save your documents in Bit.ai—that happens automatically. When you’re done, however, you can share it with collaborators and others, lock it to prevent further edits, change its associated colors, view stats and version history. Note: exporting is only available for paid users.

Bit.ai writing templates

Bit.ai template gallery screenshot

Bit offers a huge range of templates, with themes geared towards managers, marketers, designers, educators, and much more. Some of these are designed to function as static documents, such as thesis papers. Others can be hubs for entire business processes, like the video production template.

After trying out a few of these templates, they’re great at showing off all of Bit.ai’s functionality, but they’re useful even if you don’t use Bit for everything. They offer great templates for outlining your processes, making it easier to set a roadmap and including things you might not have thought of.

Importing documents into Bit.ai

Document importing options menu including Word, Google Docs, Office 365, Confluence, Quip, Zoho Docs, Dropbox Paper, Markdown, Text, and PDF

While Bit.ai professes to support a massive range of file types, their import menu is a little peculiar. You can choose to import from “Word” (which just allows you to import .docx files from your computer), from a number of cloud-based sources, or Markdown, .txt, and .pdf files.

The strange thing is, you can’t click on “Word” and then upload a .txt file, nor can you click on “PDF” and upload a Word doc. I have no idea why it’s formatted like this, but it made my upload attempts very confusing.

Not to mention, formatting isn’t included when you upload, and the first two uncommon file types I tried (Pages and Final Draft) were both incompatible.

Bit.ai Review: Final thoughts

Homepage screenshot from Bit.ai for Bit.ai review

So, how does Bit.ai live up to its thesis statement? Is it really “the world’s most powerful document collaboration platform?”

Eh, I don’t know about powerful. It’s mighty useful, and certainly more business-oriented than any of its major competitors. But it’s actually a little lacking as a writing tool. You can’t choose a font, there’s no toolbar, and there’s limited formatting options.

There are some good resources here for content management. The templates are stellar, and it has some of the easiest tools for cross-referencing other documents that I’ve ever seen. However, I’ve definitely seen tools that make it easier to organize documents and upload from your device.

Final grade: 6/10 😐

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Loom Review: The Future of Video Sharing?

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Let’s say you’re working with a design service.

You’re working on a whole new vision for your company, and you need to articulate that vision to your designers. Sometimes, a simple text chat isn’t enough to convey what you have in mind. That’s where Loom comes in.

Loom allows users to quickly create videos with screen and face recordings. These make it easy to create tutorials, onboarding videos, and to share new information with your team.

How does this new spin on video sharing shape up? Here’s our Loom review.

What is Loom?

Loom website screenshot with copy "Bring video messaging to the world"

Founded in 2015, Loom has become a massive force in the business world for its convenient video tools. It now boasts over 14 million users, including high-profile companies like Netflix, Volvo, Apple, and Ticketmaster.

Some of the use cases for Loom include:

  • Coordinating with teams
  • Onboarding
  • Education
  • Design
  • Sales
  • Engineering
  • Customer support
  • Marketing

Loom pricing

Loom pricing page with options

You can get started with Loom for free—which is probably a big part of the reason they can boast so many users. It’s one of the easiest ways to create quick videos with editing and transcribing tools included.

Loom offers three pricing plans:

  • Starter – $0/mo. Up to 25 videos per person for up to 50 people. Videos can be up to 5 minutes long. Editing and transcribing tools included.
  • Business – $150/yr or $15/mo. Unlimited creators, videos, and length. Includes custom branding, engagement insights, embedded links, password protection, video uploads
  • Enterprise – Contact sales for pricing. Includes advanced security, admin controls, dedicated support, and Salesforce integration.

Teachers can also apply for Loom for Education. This free tool includes unlimited videos of up to 45 minutes, plus interactive elements, password protection, viewer insights, and more.

How to get started with Loom

Sign up screen

You can sign up with Loom for free using Google, Slack, or Apple accounts. You can also simply sign up with an email and password, or use SSO (single sign-on) if your employer has an account.

Once you create your Loom account, you’ll get the chance to see the terms of service and privacy policies, which I always appreciate.

Sign up page with copy "How are you planning to use Loom?"

You’ll be guided through a few short screens when you sign up. First, you’re asked whether you’ll be using Loom for work, education, or personal projects. Next, you’ll get the opportunity to name your workspace and invite friends and colleagues to join it.

Loom review: features

Loom dashboard with no projects

To actually make something with Loom, you’ll have to install it on your computer, either as an app or a Chrome extension. This is an extra step, but for me, it was another indication of their commitment to privacy. I don’t know about you, but when a website wants to use my mic and camera, I instantly freak out.

The Loom app appears as a simple overlay on your screen, with a face cam in the lower left corner and a recording timer on the upper left. A small window allows you to change settings for your recording, including:

  • Toggle screen recording and camera
  • Full screen, window, or custom size
  • Camera and microphone options
  • Recording quality

Recording canvas

Loom recording canvas screenshot with copy "A Farewell to Arms: themes and discussion questions"

This neat feature allows you to create and customize presentation slides for your video. It seems like a useful tool for tutorials and classroom presentations (although you might get more customization options from simply creating a PowerPoint).

Speaker notes

Loom speaker notes with discussion questions about avocados

This simple notepad sticks on your screen, helping you stay prepared for long-form and in-depth presentations. Conveniently, the notes won’t appear in your video, and you can move around or resize the window as you see fit.

It’s really convenient to have your notes on-screen without obstructing your video, but the feature isn’t quite perfect. You can make your text bold, italicized, underlined, or struck through, but that’s about it.

The other issue is with the app itself. This might just be a me problem, but it seems to shut down unexpectedly when you perform certain actions like opening a menu or taking a screenshot. The notes, however, stay in their place, even when the app is closed.

Camera effects and drawing

Camera effects menu with virtual backgrounds and borders

Once you start recording, you can quickly add backgrounds and frames to your video window for a personalized experience.

There’s also a drawing tool you can use while you record to highlight information on your screen. I found this tool fun, but I wish you could toggle how long the drawings last on screen (as of now, it’s only about 5 seconds).

Recording and sharing with Loom

Loom website screenshot with video recorded

Naturally, the recording quality on Loom is only as good as your mic and camera setup. Still, I was quite impressed with the speed and quality of the recording. The instant I stopped my 2.5-minute recording, the video was up on Loom, with a URL ready to be shared and an automated transcript you can edit.

It’s really convenient to have the link ready to go right away. You can add tags, a thumbnail, and a call to action to your video, plus change settings and edit the transcript.

Video editing menu

There’s also a surprisingly solid video editing tool, letting you cut out clips and splice in other Loom recordings.

You can share your video right away using the Loom link, or quickly download it as an mp4 and modify it however you like.

Loom review: Is it the best?

Loom website screenshot with text "Loom on. Meetings off."

Loom isn’t the only option out there for sharing screen and camera recordings. For instance, if your team already uses Slack, you can create screen sharing video clips directly from there and not have to worry about another service.

Still, there’s a reason so many big names are using Loom. It offers videos that instantly upload with real-time transcription and easy sharing. It’s an absolute game changer for onboarding, education, and reducing the need for unnecessary meetings.

Which version of Loom should you use?

For most users, the free version of Loom should be plenty. The Business version is most useful for large-scale teams that want to incorporate Loom into their everyday workflow. For instance, a company may use Loom to have every manager present a monthly progress report.

Where can Loom improve?

My one major gripe with Loom is the desktop app. It’s got great UI and some cool features, but it seems glitchy, closes randomly, and can be hard to navigate. The Chrome extension is similarly annoying at times.

Final Loom review: 9/10 🥳

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Hypage Review: Is It Better than Linktree?

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Hypage: Worth the Hype?

“Link in bio.”

The phrase is so ubiquitous, it’s almost lost its meaning. If you have a public-facing social media presence, you’ve had to think about what link you’ll put in your bio.

Hypage offers a new solution. Like Linktree, it lets you put your socials, your work, and all your other important links in one place. But it also lets you sell merch, subscriptions, and other digital products.

Is this the next big thing for content creators and entrepreneurs? Here’s our Hypage review.

What’s Hypage?

Hypage home page website screenshot

Hypage is a product by Hyax, a broader platform for selling digital products. Hyax itself is part of Rgrowth, a product incubator that also created the giveaway tool Vyper.

But chances are, you don’t care about all that. What can Hypage do for you?

First of all, chill. Second of all, Hypage claims it can cover your bases from all of the following services in one:

  • Linktree—Compile all your links in one place
  • Gumroad—Sell digital content to your fans
  • Patreon—Create your own membership
  • Ko-fi—Accept instant donations
  • Substack—Curate an email list

On top of everything else, Hypage takes zero transaction fees. They’re a subscription-based service, so you pay a simple monthly fee and get to keep whatever you earn from your content.

Hypage pricing

Pricing plans

Anyone can sign up for Hypage for free, but like I said, they make their money off of subscriptions. That means, as the old saying goes, you gotta spend money to make money.

Hypage offers three payment plans:

  • Free – An unlimited free tier that lets you create a fully custom bio link with a hy.page URL.
  • Pro – $19/mo. Allows you to sell products, accept donations, take fan requests, removes Hypage branding.
  • Enterprise – $39/mo. Allows you to sell subscriptions and memberships.

How to sign up for Hypage

Sign-up screen

You can either sign up for Hypage with a free account, or try a free trial of a Pro plan. Either way, your first step is creating a username, email and password.

Once you sign up, you’ll be asked what industry you’re in. The options include ecommerce, SaaS, music, digital marketing, and a few others. For the purpose of this review, I chose blogging.

Projects

Hypage review Projects tab

On the next screen, you’re asked to create a project; on the Pro plan, you can have up to three. Think of each project as a different brand, each with its own URL. Each project also has its own dashboard.

The Hypage dashboard

Hypage dashboard screenshot

The homepage of your dashboard includes a summary of your page’s activity: new people, orders, and revenue. Beyond that, there are sections dedicated to Hypage’s main functions:

  • Your link page
  • Products
  • Membership

As well as sections to keep track of orders, users, and settings.

Setting up your link page

Link pages tab screenshot

Before you get into page design, you’re invited to add as many links as you’d like. With custom icons and unique link settings, you can really add and customize any link you can imagine. You even have the option to embed code, including video.

Hypage review link page design menu

Next, you’re taken to the design tab, where you can fully customize your text, colors, and backgrounds. The layout is stagnant, but in my opinion, it looks more stylish and functional than the default layout for Linktree.

Keep in mind, on a free plan, your page will include Hypage branding. Pro users can eliminate that branding, but you’ll still have to use either a hy.page or links.page URL.

Another unique feature is uploading a custom thumbnail to appear on social media. For sellers, you can also add your own custom terms of service and privacy policy, and choose whether or not to require customers to check them.

Selling products and memberships

Product creation menu

Hypage offers a great deal of free rein for selling products and services. It’s a bit of a cheat, but you could really use this as an ecommerce tool. At the very least, ecommerce companies can easily use this platform to showcase their latest and most popular products.

You can create a description, add images, set an inventory, add digital files and links for deliverables, and choose from a range of pricing options. They seem to emphasize Stripe integration, but you can also set up through PayPal.

Blog design screen

Memberships are where the industry you picked when you signed up comes into play. Since I signed up as a blogger, it orients my membership page as a blog.

The customization options are similar to those of your link page. It’s not nearly as in-depth as a web design tool like WordPress, but it’s fairly in line with other subscription blogging platforms like Medium, Substack, and Patreon.

The layout is slightly different for users in other industries. Still, you basically create separate outlines for the homepage and for each individual post. You can also choose whether each post is paywalled or free.

Final Hypage review: Is it the future?

Hypage review analytics tab screenshot

Let’s return to the question of Hypage vs. Linktree.

Linktree’s Pro plan costs $9/mo, less than half of Hypage’s. For that price, they offer extensive analytics, design options, martech, and yes, monetization tools. You can accept payments and sell ecommerce products directly through Linktree.

Still, Hypage certainly offers a few things that Linktree doesn’t. Most notably, it allows you to create a Patreon-style subscription page embedded in your bio link. The analytics aren’t all that impressive, but this feature certainly sets them apart.

You also have to consider the basic product. As a free, bare-bones bio link service, is Hypage better than Linktree? Honestly, yeah. It’s just well designed, with a great array of custom options.

No, Hypage is not the only place to create a bio link and sell digital products on one site. With its high prices, it’s not likely to shake the table, even though it lets you keep your revenue. Unless you have a huge audience, the cut you take from Substack or Patreon is probably a better deal. 

For marketing, however, it’s always great to cut out excess and try to keep everything in one place. In that regard, and as a more stylish option for simple, free bio links, Hypage does have something to offer.

Final grade: 6/10 🤷

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