Computer sales have gone up by 220.5 million around the world from 2000 to 2011 (statisticbrain.com).  Chances are if you’re reading this, it’s likely not because some thoughtful soul printed this website out and handed it to you.  At this time last year, comScore – an internet technology company that measures peoples’ interactions with the digital world – released the 2012 Canada Digital Future in Focus report.  They found that Canada leads the world in online engagement; spending an average of 45 hours per month online.

Canada leads the world in online engagement; spending an average of
45 hours per month online.

So if so many of us are online, why aren’t we utilizing more efficient means to romp around our digital playground?  How much of that time is spent doing things the hard way, the long way, or looking for something we can’t find?  Here are just a few ways we can make our lives easier online.

1. Utilize Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboards these days can sometimes look like the control panel of a nuclear submarine.  So what do all these keys even do?  Here are just a handful to get you started.

Ctrl + F (pc)  ⌘ + F (mac)
Open ‘Find’ in any program

Alt + Tab (pc)  ⌘ + Tab (mac)
Quickly switch between tabs in a program.  To move backward Alt + Shift + Tab

Ctrl + Backspace (pc)  Option + Delete (mac)
Delete a full word at a time instead of single characters.

Page Up, Page Down (pc)  ⌘ + Up Arrow / Down Arrow (mac)
Move a whole page up or down.

For a full list of great keyboard shortcuts for PC users, check out Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows.  For a full list of keyboard shortcuts for Mac users, visit OS X Keyboard Shortcuts.


2. Use Social Media Dashboards

91% of adults online use social media regularly, according to Social Skinny.  Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the smattering of other assorted social media sites that are popular, we often end up on several websites throughout our busy lives.  So isn’t there an easier way to manage all these accounts?

Hootsuite

Hootsuite

Supports for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  Plus content apps like YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and a whole whack of others you can add for customization.

Hootsuite

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck

This dashboard is perfect for you if you’re interested in a trimmed-down dashboard with specific support for only Twitter and Facebook.

Tweetdeck

As social media becomes more of a staple of online activity, and new hub-style resources come up, we are presented with more opportunities to make our time online more well-spent.


3. Make Use of Online Tools

Showing off a list of all the fantastic tools available online would be quite a list indeed, so we’ll just overview a handful of favorites.  Feel free to use the comment box below to tell us about some great tools you make use of!

For Designers

ColorPic

ColorPic

This tool is great if you’re doing a lot of color-matching or if you want to grab the hex or Pantone color in a design you like.  Grab palettes of up to 16 colors at once and use four advanced color mixers to select a spectrum of possibilities.

ColorPic

Balsamiq

Balsamiq

I won’t tell you that drawing wireframes by hand is a poor choice (I myself often prefer the organic feel of a no. 7 and graph paper), but if you are in the habit of creating wireframes for clients – and you’d like those wireframes to be highly-interactive and available in a cloud format – this is the software for you.  Whether you’d like to download the software onto your desktop or use the cloud version online, Balsamiq has the flexibility to cater to your work style.

Balsamiq

Here are a few more for Designers!

  • Dafont - Archive of freely downloadable fonts
  • Google Web Fonts - Hundreds of free, open-source fonts optimized for the web
  • Vecteezy - Free Vector Art
  • Brands of the World - The world’s largest collection of freely downloadable vector logos
  • Awesome Fontstacks – Bundles of matching, free, failsafe fontstacks with ready-to-go CSS code

 

For Developers

Sublime Text

Sublime Text

A sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose.  The user interface and the intuitive features of this text editor make it a top choice for developers.

Sublime Text

Foundation by ZurbFoundation by Zurb

A highly responsive, front-end, grid-based framework.  The code used in this framework is semantic with included Javascript plugins for stronger, faster jQuery using Zepto.

Foundation by Zurb

Here are a few more for Developers!

  • ProCSSor‘Prettify’ and format CSS files on the fly
  • Favigen – Favicon generator
  • HTML Ipsum – Gives you lorem ipsum snippets with HTML markup for testing CSS
  • Fillerati – Filler text for your mockup sites from the authors Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Edgar Rice Burroughs or Lewis Carroll
  • CSS3 Button Maker – Exactly what it sounds like (use with the caveat that rounded corners and gradients are not supported by older browsers)

There are many ways that we can maximize our time online to make our lives easier.  We’d love to know what tips, tools or resources do you use – let us know in the comments below and we’ll be happy to add yours to our list!

 

Caryn Humphreys (5 Posts)

Caryn is our resident UX Designer and Front-End Developer. You'll find her participating in group discussions about designy-type things on LinkedIn. She likes her coffee double-double.