5 APPS FOR WORKING REMOTELY
By Branchspace | 18th March 2020
At Branchspace, we’re passionate about technology the enables collaboration and knowledge-sharing – both internally and externally. As our work with airlines requires us to be constantly on the move, we are naturally partial to apps for working remotely. Whether working from the office or home, from the airport or the client site, our teams have their clear favourites for getting work done.
With the recent shift towards working remotely, we asked our teams for their favourite apps in the event you find them useful as well.
Often our internal meetings involve our favourite low-tech tool: the whiteboard. Our consultants are huge fans of working through complex tech stacks by mind mapping. Unfortunately, the physical limitations of an office whiteboard restrict collaboration to whoever is onsite. Unless you have our consultants’ favourite tool – Miro.
Miro is a remote whiteboarding tool that allows product, design, development and strategy teams to collaborate both in real-time and asynchronously. Teams can work from pre-built templates or create new canvasses, and build customer journey maps, plan sprints and build wireframes all in one page. Available for iOS, Android, MacOS and Windows, it can also automatically convert your drawings and text to vector images and digital text, so if you’re sketching a target architecture or formalising a project plan, by the end of your workshop you will have captured all you need for import to your documents. And the best part about a virtual whiteboard? You never run out of space.
‘White-boarding is in my experience the most difficult type of interaction to do remotely and one of the primary reasons why face-to-face workshops are so important. However, Miro does a great job enabling remote white-board drawing shared in real-time with any number of participants, on a quasi-infinite board. Definitely the best remote white-boarding tool I’ve tried!’ – Radu (Director, Consulting Services)
Popular with our UX/UI designers is the version control system, Abstract. Whether you’re working remotely or in the office, keeping track of the latest design (or even distinguishing between files named ‘Final Final’ and ‘Final Final – I mean it’ gets tricky. Abstract smooths the design process through centralising workflows and version history.
Abstract’s Projects allows our designers to split their files by client, and further into iOS, Android and web wireframes. By importing their files from Sketch, they can record and track all project work. Abstract also allows for branching – which enables our designers to work on iterations without harming the original master file – and for commits – which allows our designers to work side by side without overwriting each other’s work. Naturally, Abstract fits right in with our suite of remote working tools.
Our teams are huge fans of Atlassian products. In particular, the workspaces on their wiki product, Confluence easily facilitate cross-functional knowledge-sharing. With greater flexibility than Google drive, our workspaces in Confluence serve to host most of our working documents. Simple nesting allow us to keep our spaces tidy and organised, and sharing information becomes as simple as tagging a co-worker in a comment.
The editing tool replaces most of the functionality of Google drive, allowing for seamless collaboration across strategy plans and working documents, and the powerful search function enables all team members to easily find pages without guidance. The Atlassian platform also allows our teams to link Jira tickets where necessary, or build Trello boards to record, plan, and update stakeholders on progress.
Our design process relies on our ability to create rich, interactive, rapid prototypes. To do so, we rely on pushing Sketch designs into InVision, the prototyping tool built for designers, which accelerates mockup turnarounds and ultimately improves the efficacy and quality of the testing process.
Our design team uses InVision to ease collaboration between our Krakow and London offices. Commenting directly on designs within the apps allows our teams to address to perfect minute details in wireframes, and easily share the decisions of internal and external stakeholders.
‘InVision has become an integral part of our design workflow, providing us with a dynamic platform to share our work directly from Sketch, prototype ideas and receive feedback both internally and externally.’ – Mark (Director, Experience Design)
Last but not least, the instant messaging platform from Slack Technologies finishes off our list. Slack replaces internal emails, lightening up inbox usage and easing file sharing. At Branchspace, we create separate Channels for each project to create shared view of progress and drive synergy amongst teams.
In a remote work environment, instant communication is key to feeling connected to the office. As standard procedure, we notify our office channels when working from home, and set statuses to online or offline to stay visible with key stakeholders. App integrations with Google Drive, Office 365 and Dropbox allow for simplicity in file sharing, and our marketing and sales team get a real-time view of leads through the HubSpot integration. When words aren’t enough, Slack also offers voice and video calling so you can pick up conversation directly.