Chances are good you’re wasting time at work. A 2014 study by CareerBuilder found smartphone usage, browsing the Internet, using social media, and responding to email were all major factors in decreasing employee productivity. Nearly 70 percent of employees waste at least some time at work daily, with nearly a third wasting at least an hour a day on non-work-related tasks, according to a 2014 survey by Salary.com. For Web developers with looming deadlines, intelligent tech tools can help them avoid late nights and finish useful products that work better the first time around.
From workflow management to improved communication with various team members across projects, here are five tools Web developers can use to work more efficiently.
1. Cloud Storage
Forget having to wade through multiple email chains to retrieve the information you need to complete a project. Cloud storage helps you organize everything you’re working on in an elegant dashboard, allowing you to communicate with team members about the details and access materials from desktop, smartphone, and tablet devices.
If you’ve ever lost a thumb drive containing what you were working on and know the pain of having to start from scratch, you know how essential backup is, as well. Cloud storage allows automatic backup options that will instantly sync what you’re working on to all your devices, so you never have to worry about issues like theft or damage to your device. With password protection through cloud storage, you can also control who has access to your information, keeping it safe and secure.
2. Password Management
Speaking of passwords, having to keep track of multiple logins and passwords can be time-consuming. Different site requirements might warrant myriad types of passwords, and if you forget your information, the process of password recovery and setting up new logins can be frustrating and waste precious minutes you could use on work.
Password manager software helps alleviate password remembrance pain points by keeping all your user names and passwords in one secure location — you only need to remember one password to access all your logins. You can use the software on any device, allowing you to work remotely quickly and easily.
3. Workflow Management
While cloud storage is beneficial to ensuring specific projects are completed on time, a workflow management tool gets all team members on the same page about where specific parts of larger endeavors are in the process. A variety of options allows teams to choose a layout that is easy to track tasks in, seamlessly allows for communication, and grants straightforward access to project details.
Trello, for example, is a free tool that allows team members to segment ideas, to-do tasks, “doing” tasks, and tasks that are completed. Certain team members may be added to each project, which features a feed containing real-time updates of work. A workflow management system allows Web development teams and larger units to hold members accountable and stay in the loop on projects to better optimize individual time spent.
Testing is a crucial part of Web development that can also greatly hold up processes if it’s not done correctly. The earlier and more frequently testing is done, the more likely you can catch mistakes that will take up significant amounts of precious time in the future. Automated testing options do the work for you, ensuring you’re staying on top of the functionality of what you’re designing.
Wercker is an automated testing software service that allows for tasks including developing, building, and delivering applications. You can choose isolated environments in which to run code, and it’s adaptable for simple to complex projects. A feedback application like BugMuncher provides reports based on bugs your encounter and evolving personal preference needs.
Synchronized testing tools that offer browser reloading, clicking, and scrolling interactions to be reflected across all devices at the same time also add more minutes to your day. Tools such as Ghostlab and BrowserSync provide these functions.
For teams with employees who are in different time zones or aren’t in the same office, a quick communication tool allows you to instantly exchange ideas. For cross-country brainstorming sessions that would clutter up a specific project file in your workflow management or cloud storage interface, applications such as Skype allow you to discuss ideas via chat or meet face-to-face through video, while video conferencing through GoToMeeting or free Google Hangouts allows for easy communication.
Options like Screenhero include collaborative screen sharing, multiple mouse cursor usage, and voice chat options so you can share what you’re working on and better convey issues to those who join your call.
With so many differently designed tools to help Web developers, just like when you’re designing a website, testing these tools with your team helps find the best solutions that will further increase individual and enterprise productivity. Evaluate the best business solution based on budget, the size of your team, and your projects. If what your company is using doesn’t work for your individual needs, there are plenty of free tools to help you improve your own work, as well.
About the Author:
Noah Gamer directs the global Internet Marketing optimization and product web reputation strategy as the Senior Manager of Search Marketing at Trend Micro. He specializes in web product strategy development, competitive analysis, targeted content ranking methods and site optimization while influencing online identity and brand for product marketing, public relations, investor relations, technical support and corporate marketing initiatives.
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