The central hub of our daily communications since 2013. It’s connected to Figma projects, Zoom meetings, Notion docs, GitHub webhooks, and a ton of Slack bots to make our job easier. We also invite our clients to join Slack via Shared Channel if they happen to use Slack as well.
The best tool for online meetings, period.
Loom is not only a coincidence by name but also happens to be the most elegant solution for asynchronous communication. Let’s just say we’re obsessed with making tutorial videos internally.
Notion is our document center. We gave up the idea of using a centralized todo app a long time ago since we all have different preferences.
Switching to Free plan since we don‘t document a lot.
We use Gmail and Sheets. Exported CSVs from Timemator are uploaded to Sheets then send along with invoices.
We love Spark for being able to write emails together and discuss without getting stuck in reply-all hell. My favorite feature is Templates, which saved me so much time.
We recently integrated WeChat Work to our deal pipeline and added it to the contact page.
We installed the Standuply bot in Slack to automate standup meetings and weekly reviews.
Replaced with Roadmap.
We recently switched to Roadmap for project management. It‘s a timeline-based approach, which is more suitable for visual thinkers, you can really see what’s coming next and who’s working on what.
All of our legitimately paid fonts and top-secret multibillion-dollar contracts are safely stored in the good ol' box.
We‘ve tried many fancy new tools, but they have failed us. We signed up for Zoho one day and never looked back.
We use Harpoon to send estimates and invoices. But we ditched its time tracking because the mac app lacks features and updates. Instead, we use Timemator for much more accurate tracking.
Excellent customer service but too slow and cumbersome. Replaced with Zoho Books.
We have been paid customers of Basecamp for many years. As I mentioned, now we invite our clients to Slack. We still use Basecamp or Tower occasionally if the project requires a lot of sending deliverables and documents back and forth.
Too slow to use in China.
Octopus is so much more than a visual sitemap builder. It makes so much sense to track the progress of web projects when you can see the whole picture.
Not suitable for our workflow.
Our primary design tool. We used to have Sketch, Abstract, and Zeplin, but it was messy and expensive. Now everything is in one place instead of all over the place. We also use Ai and Ps for brand identity work occasionally.
Currently, Drama is our favorite tool for creating sophisticated interactions and animations. Although most of the time, we use Prototype in Figma. Before Drama, we have used Origami, Flinto, and Principle.
We’re all huge font nerds, and we enjoy using Fontstand to try out fonts for each new project.
We started using Dropmark when there weren’t many choices around for collection. Now, the market is crowded, but we stuck to it mostly because we forget to unsubscribe…
Overflow is an amazing tool for creating diagrams and flows. But Figma has replaced so many tools and saved us so much money.
Replaced with Figma
The best tool for designing wireframes and flowcharts.
Too expensive and not used often enough. Replacing with Figma.
Finally we can publish (and schedule) Instagram posts from the desktop. But weirdly you can’t boost your posts right from the app.
We’re a big fan of presentations, the best way to sell a design is to present it beautifully. Paste is super easy to use. You can focus on the content and let it take care of the rest automatically.
All of a sudden, collaborative presentation software is the hottest new thing. If you need more control over the details and layouts, Pitch might be the right choice for you. But for us, Paste is good enough.
It’s basically an online version of PowerPoint, not as convenient as Paste.
We value our visitors’ privacy as much as our own. That’s why we replaced Google Analytics and Gauges with Fathom, a privacy-focused alternative. No cookie consent popups, yay!
If you’re a subscriber of Dine News—which you should be—you probably have seen Revue, our email marketing service.
Smallchat is connected straight to one of our Slack channels, visitors on our website can talk to us directly from the page.
Simple and easy to understand analytics service.
Replaced with Fathom.
We use GitHub for all of our websites and client projects. Thanks to the generosity of Microsoft, we no longer need to pay for private repos.
The shiny new toy. Currently serves as our build and test platform for Jekyll and Gatsby sites, it’s super fast and a pleasure to use. We’re thinking about switching from AWS to Netlify for all of our websites.
- Approx. $10/mo
Right now, all of our websites are hosted by AWS, traffics are routed through Route 53, code is built with CodeBuild, files are hosted on S3, and served with CloudFront.
- Approx. ¥20/mo
We are in the process of migrating some of our services to Aliyun. It’s vital to our business to have a fast website for domestic visitors.
Everyone loves CloudFlare. From their robust DNS service with speed optimization to the powerful Workers that turns Notion page into a website with a custom domain.
We build our website using Jekyll and test internally with Fast.io.
Replaced with Netlify.
Other file transfer or storage tools have many constraints even to share one single file. That’s why we choose CowTransfer for unthrottled transfers.
Grammarly is a must-have tool for us to find and correct writing mistakes. We recommend it to everyone who works in an English speaking environment.
All-in-one easy-to-use online PDF tools, for those who can’t afford Acrobat.
DocuSign is the de facto standard in electronic signature services. We use it with our foreign clients and contractors.
Since we have been using more and more videos on our website and in client projects, Handbrake really comes in handy when dealing with MP4 files. Here’s our preset you can experiment with.
From time to time, we need to manually optimize image file sizes. Optimage is the best choice after trying almost everything else.
Manually tracking your time can be troublesome and easy to forget, also inaccurate from the employer‘s point of view. Tell Timemator which files you’re working on or what applications you use for your work, it will automatically start the timer for you.
Krisp is like AirPods Pro... but it also works for your microphone. It mutes background noise in any communication app. Perfect for a time like this if you’re also working from home.
Roam Research is a new kind of knowledge management tool. Yes, it’s not the prettiest in the world, but it stands out in so many different ways. I highly recommend you spend some time with it, it can be very rewarding.