Useful Things

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Stay Focused

laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji-logoThe problem with doing your work online is that you’re constantly tempted to distract yourself by surfing the Web. After all, there are still thousands of kittens-dressed-up-as-other-animals videos to watch. But with Stay Focused – a productivity tool that you can add on to your Google Chrome browser – you can control the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites like Facebook. Simply surf on over to the Chrome Web Store and add it (for free).

Chromecast

com.google.chromecast.setup (1)I love to relax on the couch with kids + movies and sports. Google Chromecast let’s me “cast” video. For example, I can watch the World Cup (go USA!) from my computer or mobile device.

What you need: the Chromecast stick + Chromecast app for iPhone or Android or the Chrome plugin for the desktop.

TheNounProject.com

TheNounProjectChances are, you’ll need icons at some point. www.TheNounProject.com is great for finding icons for web or mobile applications. You can search for literally anything and probably find an option (or a hundred). As a Senior Designer at TradeMark, I’ve found it helpful in creating icons that really speak to their subject. Mac users have the added benefit of being able to drag-and-drop icons directly from app.

Wunderlist

WunderlistAfter hunting for the perfect note-taking solution, I’ve settled upon Wunderlist – which is available as both a mobile and desktop app. I love it for a few reasons. First, the interface couldn’t be simpler. I just want to get in, scribble down a note, and move on. Other apps require too much clicking and manual organizing. Second, it syncs flawlessly and fast. So when, at lunch one day, I have an idea for a blog article, I open Wunderlist, type it in, and it immediately appears on my desktop version.

 

Finally, it’s intuitive. There are lists and notes, that’s it. No needless categories or tags. It’s searchable and has the option of adding due dates to specific notes. Mostly, though, it’s just a great cloud-based repository for recording all your wacky and brilliant epiphanies.

Page Analytics Chrome Extension

Chrome Page Analytics ExtensionWhen logged into Google Analytics and using the Page Analytics extension of the Chrome browser, you can see how users are interacting with your site pages at the click of a button. This not only includes standard metrics like page views and bounce rate, it also shows the percentage of where users click on the page.

Fold Tester

Fold TesterIf you want to know where your website content is visible above “the fold,” input your page URL at FoldTester.com and you will see how it shows up for different percentages of the world’s Internet browsers.

MobileTest.me

Icon_MobileTestMeUse MobileTest.me to see what your website pages look like on different mobile and tablet devices and operating systems.

 

Google Mobile Friendly Test

Icon_GoogleWebmasterWant to learn what Google thinks about your website’s mobile user experience? Just enter your website into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and you will see in seconds!

Optimal Sort

OptimalWorkshiopOptimal Sort is a great way to see how users break your website’s content into categories. Using their online tool, you can create a “bucket” for each navigation item, or category, and “cards” for each page on your website. Users can then sort the cards into what they think are the appropriate buckets, letting you test your own assumptions of how the content should be organized.

Productivity Apps

FastCompanyStruggling to pinpoint what’s affecting your productivity at work? Take this nifty, interactive quiz from Fast Company that helps identify a specific productivity problem and apps that can help solve it. For more insight about enhancing productivity at work, check out the magazine’s Dec./Jan. issue!

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