Thanks to internet and broadband speeds, online freelancing has become a solution to earn some money, for thousands of professionals all around the world. Even though this can have some important downsides, if properly utilized it can connect an employer with highly trained professional who is willing to do a job for a fair price. This way, an employer can get help with its own project by choosing the best professional for that job, who will do that job at a reasonable price, which is something that today’s free market is created to do. On the other hand, this led to increasing popularity of online job databases, and well as websites which are specialized in online freelancing. This also led to appearance of software made to ease up online collaboration, which has become essential when it comes to communication between team members who might even live in different countries.
Today we are going to talk about an interesting collaboration tool, called Kickoff. We’ll review Kickoff for OS X available at Mac App Store for $28, there is also an iPhone version which costs $7 (no iPad version at the moment). Speaking of its pricing, it is important to note that most collaboration tools come with subscriptions, so comparing to that Kickoff is very affordable. But you also have to know that you’ll need to purchase a new license for every team member. This is not a downside nor its upside, since this just means that you’ll need to do some math and see which payment option is the most suitable for you.
What I liked about Kickoff at first, is its OS X-friendly design. I’ve used a number of group chats and collaboration tools, and in my opinion this application is one of the best designed. It is very clean and focused on two things: group (or individual) chat, and shared to-do lists.
Speaking of group chats, Kickoff pretty much resembles Apple’s Messages app, which means that you can start using it without any learning curve. Sent messages are on the right, while received are listed on the left side of a chat, along with pictures of people who are using a chat at that time. Since this is collaboration tool, exchange of files is really important and by using Kickoff you can do that right within its chat window, where images and videos can be even embedded. Other files can be easily shared as well, so speaking of that exchange and collaboration aspect, Kickoff works flawlessly. I would only like to mention that there’s no spelling check, which I found surprising.
Another aspect of Kickoff is ability to create and share to-do lists. You will be able to create lists and assign tasks to them, and to share tasks or whole lists with other members of your team. This is pretty much everything you can do, so I feel that this side of Kickoff needed a little bit more functionality. For example, I would like to see an option to add a deadline, or additional notes. This is pretty much basic to-do organizer.
Kickoff is probably one of the better collaboration tools available on OS X. It is nicely designed, and offers plenty of helpful tools to effectively communicate with your team. On the other hand, there are some serious downsides, as well as some things to have in mind before a purchase. This app is available on OS X and iPhone, which means that if some people from your team are using Windows or Android, they’ll be left behind. Also, a developer who made Kickoff has been recently acquired by another company, and it was confirmed that Kickoff won’t receive any additional features, but it will stay in the Mac App Store, and its service will remain live in the future.