Download these free web apps to multi-task better

A team of researchers has listed some web apps that help people work collaboratively and complete shared tasks online, often over long distances.

The results noted the evaluation of 20 popular apps for usability, including Google Drive, Skype, Doodle Poll, Gmail, Windows Hotmail, CoSketch and DropBox.

Lauren E. Marguileux and team from Georgia Institute of Technology selected only free apps with the highest web presence.

They assessed the functions of each app, learned how to use them and evaluated each separately for usability.

The team found that Cisco WebEx was best for synchronous text communication and "was in a dead heat with Google Hangouts for audiovisual communication".

Google Calendar for calendaring, Doodle for event scheduling and Zoho Docs for writing and editing were chosen best among the others.

The raters measured each app against 10 usability measures, among them visibility and feedback, user control and freedom, error prevention, flexibility and efficiency and aesthetics.

The usability scores were represented as percentages and each app's most prominent pros and cons were highlighted.

These rankings could help people find the apps best suited to their needs and optimal team productivity, said the study published in the journal Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications.

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