Creately, Just Smarter and Easier

Creately, Just Smarter and Easier.

It’s been less than a month since our release, and we’re back with yet another exciting upgrade to Creately! The team has been hard at work putting together some great ideas to make Creately even easier to use, so we hope you like whats in store.

New Look Side Panel

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We’ve got a new look on the side panel. Our UI was beginning to look a lil dated - so we’ve started work on a refresh. This week we’ve got a brand new look for our super duper Side Panel (where all the mojo’s at). Like what you see? Let us know.

Notes Panel

More interestingly, we’ve added a new Notes panel to make it easier to collaborate and communicate clearly in your teams. Those inline comments are great, but wouldn’t it be better if you could explain your diagrams and mockups by adding some notes to help the reader along.

Check out the new Notes button on the Side Panel - its not a heavy-weight text editor but you do get a Rich Text Editor to help you get your ideas into Creately.

Good News for Mac Users!

You Mac fanboys out there have something to really cheer about. We’ve fixed the horizontal scroll issues with Apple’s Magic Trackpad. Now you can use 2 fingers to scroll both vertically and horizontally in the Creately application. Try it out now!

Improved Smart KObjects

We saw the trouble you had in creating tables, tabs and accordion panes in your Web Mockups! Haven’t you always wished you could easily build a table in Creately or just change the number of tabs displayed in the Tab objects? Now you can.

The team’s been hard at work all winter (yes, we come from a land down-under), putting the final touches to a brand new Smart KObject framework to bring a new level of ease of use and flexibility to your Creately diagrams. This week we announce 3 new Smart KObjects - and many more will follow in the coming weeks.

Professional Dynamic Tables

We heard you say how difficult it was to add Tables in your Mockups, so we’ve added dynamic Tables to our KObject library. Now you can simply enter Text and the Table will resize itself. Simply drag-n-drop a Table from the left panel, and start to edit the Table properties to add Table Data. To create a new column, simply type a ‘,’ (comma) and for a new row, enter in a new row of data. This way, you get easy to use dynamic Tables for all your mockups and diagrams.

table-2

Multiple Tab Pages in seconds

You can now create multiple Tab Pages on a Tab Control quickly. We know how aggravating it is to insert a number of individual Tabs to create Tab pages. But, with the smart KObject improvements you can create as many Tabs as you might inside the Tab Control by simply editing the Tab Bar text. To add tabs, simply type ‘,’ (comma) and the Tab title, so “Tab1, Tab2, Tab3″ will create 3 Tabs in this order. Adding a ‘*’ to any Tab title marks it as the selected Tab.

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Collapsible Accordion Pane

Lastly for this week we looked at our Accordion Pane and decided it too could do with a makeover! Now you can configure your Accordion pane with just a few simple keystrokes. For example, the following Text will create 4 panes with the second one open and the rest collapsed:

accordion-2

These are just the initial few smart KObjects we’ve created. Expect a whole lot more smart KObjects in the weeks to come… Diagramming has never been easier!

Login to Creately now to check out the great new features, and let us know what you feel. We’d love to hear it from you!

With Love
Creately Team

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Top 5 Tools for Distributed Project Teams

posted21/05/10

Top 5 Tools for Distributed Project Teams

collaboration, startup, teams, tips

tool_selection

Here at Cinergix we’ve been working together from different office locations around the world to create, market and support the best online diagramming software - Creately. We spend hours sitting in front of our computers each day working across vast distances and timezones and it can sometimes be a challenge getting everyone on the team working together effectively.

So over the last year, we’ve experimented with a large number of online services to help us work better and support our customers in the best possible way. In each solution we looked for just the right amount of functionality to help us work better without drowning in too much process and too many systems.

Here we’ve distilled the top 5 tools (mostly online tools) that we’ve come to rely on to keep the Creately engine chugging along nicely. They cover everything from project management tools to customer support systems, but each one offers the ease of use and simplicity that we find so important in keeping our team focused on the job at hand.

Thanks to @Hiraash for his suggestions and I hope you’ll find these tools useful for your project teams. If you’ve got any other suggestions that you think will be useful for other web startups and project teams, we’d love to hear from you.

Wrike

wrike

Wrike is a web-based project management tool, and the great thing about it is that it comes with a fantastic Gantt chart view that knocks the pants off any other web based PM tool. @Chandika is a big fan cos he loves the fact that the Gantt chart view gives everyone a good idea of the inter dependencies across the projects we work on here at Creately. Unlike most other recent web-base PM tools that have a strong social collaboration angle, Wrike offers a solid PM tool in the same vein as MS Project, but its pricing is a tad on the high side.

Team Viewer

teamviewer

TeamViewer is an easy to use screen-sharing application that’s Free and works really well. I’ve tried sharing my screen with Skype and other web-services but none have performed as well as TeamViewer. Everyone I’ve recommended it to loves it. And it doesn’t just stop there. Teamviewer lets remotely control another computer - even through firewalls. This is an essential tool we use everyday at Creately. Thanks to @Aslam for bringing this to the team.

Creately

creately

For the uninitiated, Creately is a web-based diagramming software that comes with built in tools for easy, secure collaboration. With an extensive library of shapes, Creately supports many diagram types. Naturally we use Creately in-house - mostly for concept diagrams, flowcharts and mockups. Its great for getting those ideas nailed down quickly in a diagram - and really helps bring clarity to the team.

PS - We released a beta version of a Creately Plugin for the Fogbugz platform this week, which makes it easy to add any type of diagram to your Fogbugz cases and Wiki to clearly explain requirements to your team. You can check it out here.

Zendesk

zendesk1

Zendesk provides a customer support portal solution includes email support with a built-in knowledge base. We chose it for it elegant interface and the ease with which we can track support support issues and deliver the type of customer service our customers talk about. It also worked great for providing 24/7 round the clock support that is being handled across 2 locations. There are a host of other customer support systems out there that actually deliver more functionality at a lower price, but we’re sold on their “Love your Helpdesk” theme.

Pivotal Tracker

pivotaltracker

Pivotal Tracker is a story-based project planning tool that the Dev Team here at Creately swears by. It is based on the Agile software development methodology and support sprints, velocity, etc but can also be used for other types of projects. If you’re a fan of Agile development - then you’ll love PT, as we affectionately call it.

Best part about PT - Its completely Free (as in beer).

What do you use in your teams? Have you tried any of these tools, and have you found them effective in your business?

@Charan

Image by mr.smashy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Creately.com Reshapes Project Management | Young Upstarts

Creately

Creately founders (from left) Charanjit Singh, Chandika Jayasundara and Nick Foster.

Creately.com is a project management tool that helps teams manage and deliver their projects. Positioned as an easy-to-use collaborative diagramming application, it has built-in features for built-in reviewing, easy collaboration, comprehensive diagramming functions and shapes for just about any type of diagram.

Creately was founded two years ago by Charanjit Singh, Chandika Jayasundara and Nick Foster and started as a vision for a new visual way to work with complex data. They submitted their idea to the Melbourne University Entrepreneurship Challenge and, lo-and-behold, won. Soon the team put together some money and sent Chandika off to Sri Lanka to form a development team. On their end, Charanjit and Nick got  down to planning the nitty-gritty that needs to be done for a startup to be successful.

A Visual Collaborative Project Management Tool

Creately

Web-based Creately.com works in-browser, which make it convenient for project teams whose members are constantly on the go.

The web-based application works with a browser and allows project team members to share, review and update project designs easily. Creately’s central repository with an extensive library of object sets, templates allows for ease-of-use. Essentially, users can work on visual artefacts that are part of any project that someone else in the team undertakes.

“Most of today’s team collaboration software is purely text-based. Creately is the missing link in the plethora of text-based collaboration platforms that have seen a dramatic uptake in the last few years,” posits Charanjit. “We also felt customers would benefit from having rich diagrams that contained data and behaviours, that could be manipulated visually giving them a very rich and interactive interface to overcome the problems of information overload.”

“We believe there is latent demand for visual interfaces that make working with data and disparate systems easier and more interactive.”

At a most basic level – Creately aims to make communication clearer. “Providing a collaborative diagramming platform which is easy to use and integrates into your existing ways of working helps our customers get their message across to team members and customers – saving them time and money.” Charanjit says the real value of Creately comes to the fore when it is integrated into a service like Google Docs or even SocialWok.

But the team at Creately has a larger vision for the company. They’ve built its underlying technology – even patenting parts of it – that deploys smart shapes (which Creately calls Knowledge Objects or KObjects) that reflect the status and changes in data, properties or behaviors. For example, you could define a KObject to represent network connectivity – when network connectivity experiences a change, the smart shape will change correspondingly to give users a visual form of feedback. “This allows us to quickly build domain specific shapes with built-in intelligence that will be useful across many industries,” explains Charanjit.

Understanding Your Customer

The last two years have been exciting for the team. They introduced Creately at DemoFall ‘08 and TechCrunch50 in 2008, and finally launched to the public late last year, earning favorable reviews from the technical press.

One of the key challenges the team at Creately faced was trying to understand their target customer – who they are, what they want and how better to serve their needs. For this purpose, they make extensive use of surveys, customer idea forums, as well as online tracking tools such as Kissmetrics, Google Analytics and CrazyEgg. They’ve even experimented on their pricing. In fact, Creately started by targeting regular consumers, but along the way found that corporate and business users were more willing (and able) to pay for such collaborative project tools. Since then they’ve made a strategic decision to focus on business customers and fine-tuned their go-to-market strategy accordingly.

Today, every new customer Creately wins is an achievement and should to be celebrated, says Charanjit. “Every customer touch point is monitored, measured and improved because we want our customer to not just get a software application but experience the Creately difference that we’re very proud of.”

Charanjit says the fast changing technology landscape is both a challenge as well as an opportunity for agile startups. “Everyday we are faced with new opportunities in our space, and it can sometimes be challenging to stay focused on our game plan when everything around you is changing so quickly.” They have recently launched an API and are now working with some large collaboration platforms to build direct integration into Creately.

Creately is funded with money from friends and family, and the team is working hard to keep costs low. Charanjit admits, however, that in order to fully achieve their vision they would need external funding. “This year we plan to raise money from angels and VCs to take the product to the next level. We want to build a self-sustaining company but also understand that when a market opportunity presents itself – you need to do what it takes to capitalise on it.”

Peer Support Group

Charanjit is currently signed up in the first cohort of Founder Institute Singapore. He says that the Founder Institute program is one of the better things thats happened for the local Internet entrepreneurship scene. “I’ve always felt the biggest challenge in Singapore is not the lack of support from the government or the lack of capability in our people,” Charanjit explains. ”It’s the lack of mentors and like-minded peers that an entrepreneur needs to surround himself for success.” He says he doesn’t know anyone in his peer group who’s also ventured down the entrepreneurial route, which can be a stumbling block.

“A lot of what I’ve learnt at Founder Institute I have personally experienced over the last 2 years and having mentors and peers to discuss our challenges has been a real boon. We have also found it to be a great place to network and meet some great guys.”

Views on Entrepreneurship

“I love Singapore as my home. But I… would never have started an Internet start-up living here.”

Starting a business takes passion, courage, the right peer group and sheer hard work, says Charanjit. “The ability to chart my own destiny through my own willpower and create something new that can contribute to the advancement of society are the key attractions for me.”

“I love Singapore as my home. But I will be the first to admit that I would never have started an Internet start-up living here,” he says.

Charanjit believes that the world would be a lesser place without entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurs are the grease that oil the wheels of commerce and enterprise,” he says. “Entrepreneurship lets me exploit my passion for technology to build something that can fill an under-served need – and do it better than the next guy.”

“Being an entrepreneur means building something that is at least an order of magnitude or two greater than the self – creating value for my business, employees, community and myself in the process.”

He’s acutely aware of the risk of failure – starting on the entrepreneurial journey in his mid-30s, with a new family to boot. “The support of my spouse has been instrumental in me taking the plunge – and for all the blood, sweat and tears – I could now never not be an entrepreneur for the rest of my life.”

“The daily challenges, constant learning and striving to make the ‘impossible’ happen are worth far more than the risks.”

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Top 10 on-line tools for Web Developers | tripwire magazine

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The Design & Marketing team at Creately love using on-line tools and it helps us to build a better product. In this article I want to share some tools that we find particularly useful for web designers. So here goes our Top 10 Online Tools for Web Designers.


Iconfinder

iconfinder_1

IconFinder is a great online resource for web designers, it helps them search over thousands of web icons by keywords or browse them by icon sets and tags. Finding icons with IconFinder is really easy as it gives you an option to filter results by icon size, background color and download any icon with one click in PNG or ICO format. No sign up required to download icons. Shoutouts to Martin for a great job.

Dafont

dafont_1

Dafont is an excellent website which allows web designers and just about anyone to browse fonts easily by alphabetical listing, by themes, by author or by popularity. Dafont allows you to upload your font and allows it to be downloaded. Most of the fonts are free to download.

Creately

creately_1

No list on Web designer resources would be complete without our very own Creately application. Creately is a web-based collaborative diagramming application that launched publicly in Oct 09. Creately comes with the best capabilities to make collaboration between team members easier and better. Today, besides supporting many diagram types it’s very focused on the Web Wireframes, Sitemaps and page flows that are used by web designers and developers everyday. Creately comes with free and paid plans, go give it a try!

Pixlr

pixlr_1

Pixlr is a popular advanced photo editing software, this is a close alternative to Adobe Photoshop. However, it can handle most editing work that designers do on a day-to-day basis. You can use layers and an array of filters and effects. This is available for free.

Color Scheme Designer

colourschemedesigner_1

Color Scheme Designer is an online tool which looks modern. It offers a wide range of tools to help designers arrive at the alluring colour palette they really want; and with sophisticated web based interface this is just too good! The best part of this is it enables exporting your colour palette to several formats. Try it- it’s free!

Brusheezy

brusheezy_1

Brusheezy is a very cool site which offers a whole lot of free Photoshop brushes and patterns for download. The best part of Brusheezy is that is Web Designers are also invited to contribute their own brush sets. This is a great one for all Adobe Photoshop users.

ColoRotate

colorotate_1

ColoRotate is a web-based service that allows designers to view and edit colors in 3D. This application shows the multidimensional nature of colors and the relationships between colours. ColoRotate also gives designers the ability to edit foreground and background colors as well as creating and adding to color swatches. This is a free service to play around with!

Net2ftp

net2ftp_1

Net2ftp is a web-based FTP client with all the functions of a standard FTP. This has the ability to manage websites using a browser. Users can edit code, upload and download files, copy,move or delete directories recursively, rename files and directories without installing any software.

Wufoo

wufoo_1

Wufoo is an application that allows you to generate a wide variety of forms. Some of the forms available include contact forms, surveys, invitations, quizzes, and planners. There are even templates available that will give you a starting point for your forms that you can then customize as you desire.

BrowserShots

browsershots_1

BrowserShots is a tool which makes screenshots of designs in different browsers. Designers have to simply submit the URL of the website and select the browsers h/she would like to get a screenshot from, and press submit- simple as that. This is a free service – Try it today!

If you enjoyed this post – give these 10 web applications a try today! These are the top 10 web applications for designers that we use, but if you think we’ve missed out on any other application which deserves to be here, please leave a comment below.

Author : Indu Kandasamy

Indu Kandasamy is the Marketing Maven at Creately.com, a collaborative diagramming software for teams. When she’s not working on marketing strategies for web start-ups, she paints and loves to create designs for printed textiles. You can read more of her writing on the Creately Blog or follow her on Twitter: @creately @induja

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