In the first part of this series, I wrote about the applications and services that we are constantly using for collaboration. However, as we conceive, iterate and perfect the products that we are designing and developing, there are several services in the background that make collaborating as team much easier.
CloudApp - GetCloudApp.com
We have been using CloudApp for some time now for the sharing of screenshots. The application has a setting which will automatically upload the screenshots that we snap and copy the unique url onto our clipboard. This allows for us to quickly share these screenshots through a chat or message without having to send files back and forth. This also helps to keep my Downloads folder a little less cluttered.
Recently, I have begun to use CloudApp much more extensively. The raindrop feature allows for me to easily upload a snapshot of whatever I am working on in Photoshop for instant sharing. This, along with the screenshot upload allows for Michael and I to discuss small iterations or to quickly explore a new possibility. Also, using the direct link allows us to embed an image into a Basecamp message. In addition to screenshots and Photoshop captures, the application allows us to share any other type of file by just dragging the item to the menubar icon.
CloudApp also integrates with some of the other pieces of software that we use on a regular basis. On our macs, we both use Sparrow for email. Attachments can be uploaded to CloudApp with a download link pasted into the message. I have also been using the Tweetbot applications across all of my devices, which allows me to set my image upload service to CloudApp.
Git - Git-SCM.com
Version control is obviously important to any project. We prefer Git and host all our private client projects on Bitbucket, and our public projects & tools on Github. This allows us to keep our source code up to date with each others changes. Also, since most of our web applications are Ruby-based, we created a couple Rubygems to expedite & automate the process of creating new applications. Using these ensures a consistent project layout from the beginning, regardless of who created it.
Forward - ForwardHQ.com
As mentioned before, CloudApp is a wonderful tool for sharing screenshots and on most days you will regularly find us sending a number of these links back and forth. However, there are often a number of things that an image can not tell you about a digital experience.
For this reason, a lot of our front-end prototyping is done in the browser instead. While often rough, these prototypes allow for us to see how the designed aesthetics and functions are working across different features and viewports. Forward lets Michael instantly share the local version of the application that he is working on via a unique url. I am then able to use the application and provide feedback as we discuss its current state. This is a wonderful tool that provides us with much more detail about the experience than a screenshot would.