Out with the old, in with the new…

Deletes & Downloads — 2016

BROWSERS: SPEED/ MEMORY USAGE/ UNINTERRUPTED WORKFLOW

Chrome — Vivaldi — Safari — Firefox

Chrome has always been my favorite. Being a die-hard Google fan. I’ll love anything they create. I left Safari as soon as Chrome was released, probably ±2008/9. But a few months ago, I decided to test out a few others. You can read about one of these endeavors here. On the whole, I left all of them for Firefox. I’ve found [ Well actually my friend in IT showed me ], that Google Chrome uses a ridiculous amount of memory compared to Firefox. My machine gets unbearably slow, and ruins my flow.

This year, I’ve learnt it’s better to limit the number of tabs and browser windows. Not only because of the memory, but also the levels of productivity. The more tabs you have open, the less you will get done.

So, based purely on speed, the delay driving me insane when Chrome is open…And which doesn’t occur when using Firefox…I am closing Chrome [ but not deleting it ]. I’m sorry Chrome but I am sticking with Firefox for now.
Just try counting how much memory Chrome + Chrome Helper actually uses

ULTIMATE SOCIAL NETWORKING APP

WhatsApp + GBoard — Telegram — Google Allo

Telegram is awesome. Mostly for the stickers. Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Freddy Mercury & Kurt Cobain…what more could you ask for?!

Do you know how awesome it is to reply with anyone of these:

But the ultimate reply for anything, is this…

Freddy “THE MAN” Mercury
Some more legendary stickers

The interface is beautiful as well. It just feels better to use because it’s so clean. I honestly felt this app was made just for me, when I first used it.

Deleted it however, as nobody else would convert to Telegram, I only had 1 person I convinced to try it out…1 just wasn’t enough. Why couldn’t my entire social circle be early adopters instead?!

I then tried Google Allo, “Virtual Assistant” blew me away! I decided then, this is the one I’m keeping. But as expected, no one else would download it.

Everyone really should be using this instead of WhatsApp

I lasted ±1 day, adamant that I didn’t need to chat to real people, and I could just chat to the AI. [ I really didn’t want to delete this app ]. I’m sure sometime in the near future, this will be a reality. Where we could have deep conversations with a bot who actually understands our likes and dislikes. With good conversation, who really needs much else? And if the conversation is intelligent, perhaps sprinkled with some humor, then maybe no one will care if it’s AI and not human.

GBoard was my solution to try to pimp WhatsApp. This allowed me to Google within WhatsApp, and send animated Gifs. Unfortunately the Gifs were static in WhatsApp at the time of download, so that was pointless. It’s only a ± a month ago that Whatsapp has reached the level of GBoard, where Gifs can be added to your message [ it’s just a mission to access this feature ]. But, the Gifs actually work now.

Google in your keyboard…why not?!

Personally, I’d rather swop the placement of video call and Gifs in WhatsApp, only because video calling would be one of those “hardly use features” for me. I’d put videos on the same level as “send location”. I want my Gifs to be on the main chat screen. In the keyboard preferably, like GBoard.

GBoard now deleted, as WhatsApp fulfills my gif needs for now and since they added the video calling. I haven’t used it as yet, but it’s nice to know that it’s there. WhatsApp only wins because everyone I know uses it. But mostly because the AI in Allo wasn’t witty enough to hold my attention [ One day it will be…I’m sure of it ]. Let’s face it, we can’t use a social app without having all our contacts on it. If only, everyone could use their preferred social app and communicate to anyone without having to be on the same platform. Just like email.

Hopefully everyone will eventually realise just how awesome Google Allo is, get rid of WhatsApp… then the universe will be as it should.

Or maybe someone will remix Allo & Telegram, then WhatsApp will be long forgotten…yeah, that mixture would be nice. Or someone would just create a way for me to mix my favorite apps together to create a personalised super app.

On the whole, if you care more about aesthetics, Telegram is the most beautiful. Usability, Allo wins hands down.


SPEED, EFFICIENCY & THE FREEDOM TO CREATE WITHOUT FEAR OF CHANGES/AFTERMATH

Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop — JustinMind — Sketch/Invision

Let’s say, Illustrator + Photoshop got married, bred and had a super baby… That baby would be Sketch. I thought I’d never betray Adobe, by using another application. I was going to be an Adobe fan until I die. I mean I’m even older than Photoshop…I grew up with Ps & Freehand MX. Stuck with Adobe Illustrator from the beginning.

Around 2015 I found JustinMind. This is a really easy application with a clean interface. I really loved using this. At the time, it was ideal, as the Developer I worked with used it too. Today, it doesn’t work to use software that no one else is using, as it limits collaboration, which in turn limits feedback and results in diminished quality.

Thus I had to decide to move to either Marvel, Adobe XD or Sketch.

But from all the research on Sketch, I was sold on how much better my workflow would be. And making my life easier in general. So, I just had to test it for myself. Turns out, it really does make my life easier!

Sketch was one of the most intuitive transitions I could’ve expected. It has by far saved me so much time. I love the fact that it’s still vector, because I’ve always preferred Illustrator over Photoshop. There’s more beauty in clean cut lines than in tons of overused effects. That’s just preference, it’s not law. By using Craft + InVision and creating symbols out of everything, I no longer dread changes. I thought I needed Zeplin, but if you’re using InVision Inspect, you don’t really need Zeplin.

Unfortunately, silly me, the first time I started working in it, I wasn’t allocating styles to objects, just created symbols out of everything. Ended up having 127 text styles and I have no idea how many colours. [ All of which look the same by the way ]. I then tried Style Inventory plugin…[ Think I used it wrong ]…

The Symbol Organizer plugin is cool though. It put all my symbols in alphabetical order based on the labels I had given each item. And in a specified number of columns and rows. Neatly grouped in a logical order…All buttons grouped in one place, icons etc.

Despite starting incorrectly, fixing it isn’t an issue. It’s nothing in comparison to trying to correct mistakes in Photoshop. Now, it’s just a matter of replacing colours to remove duplicates. Which is easily fixed with Craft Library.

On the bright side, I was saved by labels! This has made sorting through tons of symbols quicker and easier, by just using good naming conventions from the beginning.

eg. saving as “ Material/Light/Checkbox off”
Current plugins used…only ±4 of them

At least I have today to complete colour & style clean up and prepare template/ pattern library for team. Goal for today “Good Sketch Hygiene”. Without cleaning up the document using Craft, whoever else has to work with that file after me, will hate me. I don’t want to be “that” designer who has a messy file, giving hell to the next designer/ developer.

Sketch wins in part also due to Principle. The interactive capabilities of Principle compared to Flinto are exactly what I was looking for. Easy to do and realistic when viewing. Flinto is very limited in comparison. And I don’t want my creativity limited. My lack of coding skills is enough of a limitation.

If you’re using Windows, I suggest you give JustinMind a try. It’s awesome and available for Windows and Mac. Unlike Sketch & Principle which is Mac only.

COLLABORATION

InVision wins this round. Mostly because it’s the existing solution for current team I’m working with. However, besides this, it really is a keeper. Workflow feature is a simple solution for project management. [ I love simple solutions that anyone can use ].

For collaboration, if using JustinMind — There is Atlassian & Jira integration

For personal project management, I still use Trello & Punchtime. And I speak to myself in my Slack groups — as no one in my team wants to use Slack. Slack is also cool for searching on Team Sketch, when I get stuck on a problem.


CONSTRUCTIVE GAMES

Duo Lingo — Elevate

Not deleting this one from my phone…I’ll keep this forever

Duolingo gives you everything a good teacher should give you. Triggers to enable all your senses, so that all the information is absorbed without difficulty. I may be trying to learn German for almost a full year now, and haven’t gotten very far; I’ve only passed 1 checkpoint. However, I remember everything I’ve learnt up to this point.

The use of various methods of learning, from recording speech, writing/typing answers and selecting from images alternating in German and in English questions/answers, makes the experience memorable, and the learning easier. This is one of the longest running apps to remain on my phone, and I still have no intention of ever deleting it.

I can honestly say, I suck at maths. But by using Elevate my percentages and estimations have actually improved. Just try it and see for yourself. Awesome animation and sound design. It makes you want to keep playing. The information is communicated simply and elegantly and remains colourful and fun throughout…Trust me, this is a game, you can play everyday! This app makes me want to become an Instructional Designer. That’s how cool it is. The reading and writing games are the most exciting, and it’s the first time that I don’t skip the maths games. They’re actually fun too.

I don’t like wasting time. I previously believed games are played when you have nothing to do. I am never bored and always have something to do. So games feel like they detract from important tasks and goals. However, not Duolingo & Elevate. They are games with purpose. Educational games just make more sense. Learning and having fun at the same time, while increasing your efficiency. Elevate beats time wasters like Candy Crush any day.
Designed to improve focus, speaking skills, processing speed, and more.

STORAGE + COLLABORATION + SYNC BACKUPS

Google Drive — Dropbox — Box — Drive

I left Google Drive, because I ran out of space, and needed to take a break from adding more paid subscriptions to my already long list.

Drive, Box and Dropbox I use, based on whichever team already has one of them set as a standard. It’s so much easier just using whichever solution the team uses, so that you don’t have to worry about manual backups.


In conclusion, this is what has worked for me this year, based on features which I require and value. Namely, quality, speed, collaboration and efficiency. I’d never tell anyone to leave Adobe.

However, for what I need to do, at this point in time, the above apps are the best I’ve found to maintain speed, productivity and limit rework. [ Bear in mind, that I haven’t tested Adobe XD as yet, so I might convert back to Adobe in the near future, if I find this to be better ].

To a certain extent, it’s also great to challenge yourself learning a new software. By creating and learning something new each day, the work seems to have more purpose and the number of wasted days decreases.


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