Stuck at Home? These Apps Will Help You Make The Best of Your Time

Giorgia Lombardo

30/04/2020 8 min read DESIGN DOGS

The use of apps in quarantine has understandably sky-rocketed. We all have time on our hands — maybe for the first time since childhood — to play, to learn a new skill, to connect with loved ones who have been off our radar for some time. Some apps have been bobbing around for years, waiting to be downloaded, and now, finally, their usefulness and value is really appreciated.

Designers are now being faced with the opportunity of a lifetime to collaborate in unusual and unique ways with other kindred creative spirits to help us make the best of our time.

So, what are the apps that are helping us connect and use the time we have the best way we can?

Here’s a list of some of our favourite apps and platforms.

Social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing! Stay in touch with your friends

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Houseparty. From The Sun

Throw a virtual party on Houseparty

Houseparty is a social networking app that allows up to 8 people to video chat at once in a “room.” You receive a notification every time friends open the app so that you can join chats with friends and friends of your friends too. Houseparty also has a series of mini games available, like Heads Up!TriviaQuick Draw, and Chips and Guac.

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Netflix Party. From The Latch

Watch a movie with your friends on Netflix Party

Netflix Party is a new creation by Netflix that lets you watch the same show or film with friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds a group chat so that you connect with your friends while watching Tiger Ki…ehm, any show you like.

Why not expand your knowledge and learn something new?

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Enki app. From Google Play

Learn coding with Enki

You’ve always wanted to learn coding, but you’ve never had the time or didn’t know where to start. With Enki, you can learn the basics of and level up in coding languages and productivity tools. The app makes you read the theory, test your knowledge, and lets you put it into practice right away.

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Tinycards by Duolingo. From Techcrunch

Choose a small topic to study with Tinycards

Tinycards by Duolingo is a free, fun app with community shared flashcards that help you memorize anything, from the most trending memes to the Periodic Table of Elements. You can learn using existing cards or create your own set. The app understands how you learn and reminds you when your memory is about to let you down.

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Pocket Casts. From The Verge.

New to the world of Podcasts? Pocket Casts will help you find the content you’ll like

Pocket Casts is a beautifully designed app that offers podcast listeners more control of their listening experience through features that make discovering and organizing podcasts much easier. Curated by experts, Pocket Casts’ recommendation will help you find the content you’ll fall in love with. And if you have commitment issues, this is the app for you as Pocket Casts allows you to play without subscribing.

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Notability App. From Notability’s Instagram profile.

Master your sketchnoting skills with Notability

Combine handwriting, photos and typing in a single note, using a wide range of note-taking and sketching tools. You can even add and annotate PDFs, markup images, and combine sketches, outlines, and type. Notability is a creativity tool perfect for remote collaboration; it allows both written and verbal comments to and from your team! No more angry comments, now you can directly shout at your team mates!

Or help your kids learn Maths with Dragon Box Apps

You’re at home with kids, and they need to learn algebra and geometry but you don’t quite remember Euclid’s Theorem. Don’t worry! This multi-awarded series of games will save your life! Each app offers an interactive and engaging experience to give children a powerful digital learning experience. The DragonBox Method and its apps are already used in Norwegian schools, in grades 1 and 2.

https://gph.is/g/ZnK0OKX

Your trip to France has been cancelled. What to do?Travel virtually and visit museums and art galleries!

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The Museum of the World — British Museum, London

The Museum of the World is an interactive website that allows you to experience different times, continents and cultures. See the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies and discover objects from the British Museum’s collection from prehistory to the present, using the most advanced WebGL (Web Graphics Library) technology available. This project is the result of a partnership between the British Museum and Google Cultural Institute.

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Google Cultural Institute

  • Musée d’Orsay, Paris — You can virtually walk through this gallery that is home to many famous works from French artists like Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin.
  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul — Google’s virtual tour will take you on a journey to discover South Korean and International Contemporary art in this popular museum.
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam — Here you can visit virtually the museum with the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, that includes paintings, drawings, and letters.
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence — You can wander around this gallery, built in the 16th century, hosting the art collection of one of Italy’s most famous families, the de’ Medicis.
  • MASP, São Paulo — Explore the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, where the artworks are placed on special clear frames that make the artwork seem they are hovering in the air.
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From Artland

Artland App — Discover (and buy) art online

Artland App brings art galleries closer to art lovers, and collectors closer to each other. This platform allows you to discover and explore contemporary art exhibitions in 3D located around the globe making you feel like you are right in front of an art piace. With the ap you can also connect with artists and fellow art enthusiasts.

The sound of the clock ticking, that tempting chocolate bar on the table, the washing machine to empty, your kids running around the house. All this can make working from home almost impossible. These apps can help you find focus

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From Forest App

Forest — Stay focused while growing a digital forest

Forest is an app helping you put down your phone and focus on what’s more important in your life. If you leave the app open and don’t touch your phone, a digital tree will start to grow. A tree takes 30 minutes to grow, but if you leave the app the tree will be killed. The app also allows you to see how you spend your time and what activities you dedicate your time to. Forest App doesn’t only grow digital trees. In fact, this company has partnered with Trees for the Future, a real-tree-planting organization to plant real trees on Earth. Every time users spend virtual coins in Forest App on planting real trees, the Forest team donates to Trees for the Future.

Brain.fm — Music designed to stimulate your brain

Brain.fm is a special music service designed for the brain to stimulate focus and relaxation within only 15 minutes of use. This company uses a patented A.I. engine to create functional music to help you focus, relax, or fall sleep. This technology elicits strong neural phase locking, which allows you to lock in on the task at hand, blocking any potential distractions. The project, recognized by the National Science Foundation, is the result of research and tests conducted by a group of scientists, musicians and developers. This app will definitely support you in everyday activities, from getting more work done to feeling more rested.

Isolation and working from home could give you “cabin fever” and make you feel like you’re going stir crazy. Remember that you’re not alone!

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From HearMe.App ‘s Instagram page

HearMe.App — Overcome an isolation-induced mental breakdown

Self-isolation and quarantine can get really overwhelming when practiced for a very long time. Companionship of any kind can make us feel better during these times. HearMe.App is an app that anonymously connects you with empathetic HearMe Listeners from anywhere in the world, in under a minute, for free. Not everyone needs therapy, but sometimes we all need someone to talk to. This antidote for divisiveness is made to encourage the diverse expression of yourself, in an anonymous exchange, without judgement.

Stop, Breathe & Think — Find inner peace with meditation

This cute and beautifully designed app was born out of Tools for Peace, an American non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching meditation to youth. The app analyzes your mood through a short survey before you start any exercise, to lead you through guided meditations based on the results. After the meditation session the app checks in your mood again, noting your physical state and emotions, so that it can keep track of your progress. The app also allows you to select different voices and lengths to your meditation.

Down Dog — Stay flexible and practice Yoga at home

Down Dog has made all of their apps — Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout — free for new users until June 1st, so that anyone who wants to practice at home can do so. Length, focus on a body part or function, type of music, speed, instructor can be customized to create the best possible exercise to meet your needs. Down Dog features Chromecast support, both in the mobile and web apps, allowing you to see the poses on a bigger screen. And if you want to exercise outside, you can save a practice for offline use on the mobile apps.

Design Matters 21 will take place in Copenhagen on Sep 29–30, 2021! We will explore new movements in digital design, and an amazing cast of digital designers will share their stories, expertise, and learnings.

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