my favourite app: 45 of the best from 16 people

Apps. There's thousands of them. But which ones are worth looking at? We asked some bright people what their favourites were. Here they are. Some for work and some for life away from work.

by Dan Slee

A good app can be a real help so we thought it would be a good idea to ask our community for some of their favourites.

There's a real range and what's striking is the range and variety that people swear by.

Me? If I was to list a top five of most used apps it would be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, android film making app Kinemaster, Guardian, email list app Mailchimp, Trainline for rail tickets and English Heritage and Google cardboard for things to do with children. I did have games. But games on your smartphone is just a mammoth distratction so I binned them.

But what is on other comms and digital people's phones?  

"A good app imitates but doesn’t try to replicate the website – not too cluttered or over-burdened, and going straight to what I need without making too many assumptions. Trivago’s app’s landing page is a slogan and a search box; there are the same extra options as the website, but they’re hidden and ‘pulled in’ with a single tap. Clean and simple." - Joe Chapman, information and management project co-ordinator at Aberdeenshire Council.

"The app I can’t close down just now is Super Biz Stone’s latest venture. It gives you space to tease your creativity, even when you’re not the most creative person ever! It provides a creative framework by offering sentence “starters” and image suggestions. Structured creativity - it’s a beautiful paradox." - Tracy Playle, founder Picklejar Communications.

My favourite app is Pinterest.  I like collecting unusual images for use in my slideshares, but I also like woolgathering and rummaging through the couple of dozen themes scrapbooks I’ve collected.  They’re a great source of ideas for all kinds of things. - Alastair McCapra, chief executive, CIPR.

"On a trip to LA recently, fell in love... with Uber. Fast, cheap, cheerful and the chance to meet attractive strangers on shared rides. What's not to like? But for me, this is is the app that has finally shown me the power of digital to disrupt and then transform." - Paul Masterman, public engagement manager (interim) Office of the Crime Commissioner, Staffordshire.

"Money makes the world go round and here is why I love the Barclays App I found. All my accounts in one place, saving the need for any face to face.Everything I need is here plus a map of cashpoints near. In just the click of a button and a 5 digit code, I really can get into money mode. Moving dosh between accounts is fast, as is viewing payments present and past. I can pay the minimum payment on my credit card, poor thing has been hit hard. It has all I need to manage money on the go, my little app friend is really in the know. Just a few reasons why I love mobile banking, it isn't just about giving hubby's account a spanking."  Lorna Perry, digital services and innovations manager, Shropshire Council.

"The app: Coeliac UK’s app for its members, which has replaced a big book listing lots of foods that are gluten free and therefore safe for coeliacs to eat. It’s got a useful eating out guide too. The Coeliac UK app has made my handbag lighter and a bit less crowded. And I’m no longer the woman leafing through a 300 page book in the supermarket aisles, searching for foods that are gluten free. A few screen taps, a scan of barcodes and I'm all sorted. Brilliant!" - Claire Tulloch, founder, Ingredients PR

"BBC IPlayer radio (regular IPlayer too) is the essential commuter's friend both professional (Today etc.) and personal (feeding my now not so secret Archer's habit). Day to day professional, practical, out and about; Twitter (does that count); and Network Rail live running info - watch the dot move (or not) Thomas fans! Having fun creating videos with Magisto (free version), easy/auto edit, photo and film with soundtrack." - David Rose, head of media monitoring, Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet Office Communications.

"Nuzzel. A cute little app that could become your new best friend. Nuzzel helps you source and share great content and stories without having to trawl. Simply, it shows you the most shared links by people across your sociall networks."- Mike Carhart-Harris, senior communications officer, Dorset County Council.

"Essentials: TwitterHootsuiteFacebook Pages ManagerPublish (to schedule to Instagram), Voice Memos for audio. For relevant news & blogs: FlipboardFeedly & NuzzelPodcasts & iPlayer Radio for audio. For organisation: Todoist and Evernote – with IF feeding into Evernote & OneDrive backing up all my photos, videos & documents. And, since the Comms2Point0 Video Skills Workshop I use iMovie for making video on the go." - Gemma Melling, communications officer (media), Knowsley Borough Council.

"Why wait another minute to start making your life better? Why indeed! As someone who verges on Decidophobia daily, I love the way Unstuck helps me through life's little challenges, preserving the sanity of close friends and family." - Caroline Roodhouse, marketing and content strategist, Alive With Ideas.

"Spotify is my favourite toy. As a runner, it's amazing to be able to create new playlists all the time, and its 'Running' tool matches music to your pace. Trouble is, my 9-year-old has discovered she can control my tunes by playing Spotify from her phone. So my soundtrack veers wildly from cheesy '80s rock, to the 'Frozen' soundtrack. Disconcerting." - Deborah Kilpatrick, senior communications advisor, Stirling Council.

"IMDB - as a movie fan I can get cinema times and trailers to all the current and soon to be released films, as well as cast profiles. Amazon: I'm addicted! As a Prime member I get streaming films, next day delivery. I order weekly from dog food, to school clothes! Strava: this is my regular cycling app. Competing against friends and others for the best times whilst out cycling. Amazing features for the non-premium version. Snapseed: incredible photo post processing app from Nik Software. I have the full PC suite of Nik apps and this is impressive in comparison." - Phil Woodford, associate director of corporate affairs, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

"Spotify has completely changed my relationship with music. With a few taps of an app I can call up a favourite 80s hit, track down the newest house tune or discover a playlist to suit my mood. I can share stuff with fellow music nerds, and I’ve freed up phone storage by streaming and not buying my music." - Lindsay Narey, communications executive for Metropolitan.

"I have a very good friend who just happens to be a fellow civil servant. She gets the work hard, focus on the job work ethic, but reminds me constantly that we all need time out. She introduced me to the 365 Big Day app. A breakthrough in technical and all that the world of apps has to offer? Maybe not. A reminder that whilst work can sometimes be all consuming we all need something to look forward to? Definitely." - Victoria Ford, head of communications, HM Courts and Tribunals Service.


"My favourite app is flipboard. It’s a magazine stylee news digest that pulls together the day’s news and social media updates that you can literally flip through. It makes it really quick and easy to catch up and it has a good mix of informal and formal content across a variety of platforms  including video, photos and news sites." - Emma Rodgers, strategic manager, Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.

Picture credit.