Our Top 13 Apps of 2016

By Kaylin R. Staten

December is a natural month of reflection, with the ending of another year and the creation of goals for the next New Year. While the following apps will likely be staples of Hourglass Omnimedia in 2017, our 2016 couldn’t have been as productive without the inception of these apps into our overall daily activities and organization. 


The cornerstone of my organization begins and ends with this little app called Evernote. I organize professional and personal notes in perfectly labeled notebooks, from book ideas, to-do lists, articles I need to read later, client meeting notes, and more. I scan print magazine articles and recipes for later, discuss ideas in audio files. Evernote is connected to each of my computers and devices, making it easy to access my files on the go or when I really need them. Plus, the elephant logo is adorable. 

One thing to be happy about? The fact that Evernote changed its mind about implementing a new privacy policy. Our notes will be private, for now.


Social media is a cornerstone of our society, and my clients and I have to be ever-present on a multitude of social-media platforms. My favorite is the photography-centric Instagram. It’s the happier version of social media, with photos of people’s pets, vacations and the stereotypical food photos. 2016 saw a revamping of the icon and overall look of Instagram, which made it a clean, concise version of the app many of us use several times per day. Shoutout also for implementing “stories,” reminiscent of Snapchat. 


I’m a writer by trade and by heart. The ScrivoPro phone app (and its parent computer program, Scrivener) is a writer’s dream come true. Writers can organize all of their projects within the program: books, short stories, scripts, poems, lyrics and more. Research, photos and other artifacts can be inserted seamlessly, and the manuscripts look professional and carefully thought out. It’s one part Microsoft Word, one part writer’s fantasy. (I’m writing this blog post using the Scrivener program on my computer, the "parent" version of this family of software.)


Videos with one or a few moving elements are all the rage. The first time I saw one, I thought, “How do I make one of THOSE?” Easy. Download Cinemagraph on your smart phone or computer to create your own Flixels. Begin with a video and use the tools to choose the elements you want to highlight and move during your Flixel masterpiece. There are filters and other options. One tip is to use a non-shaky video for a more consistent video look.

Hanx Writer

I am a typeset aficionado. My first foray with a typewriter was at my family’s machine shop in the early 1990s. I’m sure Granny changed several ribbons after I was finished playing with her typewriter that she used for actual work but I used for playtime. This app, created by actor Tom Hanks, showcases vintage typewriting right in the palm of your hand. The keyboard keys look like an old-school typewriter, and I am a sucker for any beautiful typewriter font. The keyboard extension is also a steal for $0.99 and can be used in other phone apps and text messaging. 


This photo app is my FAVORITE, and not just because I am the Queen of Shutterfly Freebies. I need a reliable platform to store my precious Paris and family photos. Their photo books are also high quality and allow for creative direction while also maintaining normal book guidelines. If I could be the PR professional for Shutterfly, I would.


When I was in London, I kept seeing LALALAB. advertisements in the tube. When I returned to America in October, I ordered some of my iPhone and Instagram prints. I received gorgeous glossy 4x4 photos, nostalgic replicas of vintage Polaroid photos. This app is perfect for anyone wanting to print out their social-media photos and create beautiful masterpieces in their abodes and offices. 


I create books of everything. I am a master chronicler, and ChatBooks allows people like me to print their Instagram photos and captions in a perfectly bound 6x6 book. I made one to highlight my love for my angel cat, Oreo, and I made one for my fiancé to showcase all of our Instagram posts. These books made wonderful gifts or add nostalgia to your own bookshelves. Create a “Year in Review” or choose a topic. The possibilities are endless, and the soft-cover books feel professional and beautiful. 


For those of us who don’t want to give out our cell-phone numbers at the drop of hat for our small businesses, Sideline is a lifesaver. You can choose an additional number — for free — as long as you use the app at least once per 30 days. Call and text to your business owner’s delight. You can even set up voicemail options and receive transcripts of your voicemail messages. The pro version eliminates advertisements, but if you can ignore them (they are like white noise to me), then the free version will be more than enough to fulfill your extra phone-number needs.  


One of my main vices is any beauty product. For $10/month, you can receive five beauty-product samples in a curated makeup bag. I love snail mail, and I love getting little surprises every month. The app also conveniently lets you watch tutorial videos, review products and change up your beauty profile. 


This app has saved my life more than once in 2016, and I only use the free version and pay for upgrades when I want a specific design element. If you don’t have time to create your own social-media graphics, this app is pure perfection. Canva has thousands of options for each social-media size, and you can use the sizes to make your own graphics from scratch. Don’t reinvent the wheel… download Canva and start busting out content at a high rate! It’s a time-saving addition to your professional app repertoire. 


Dropbox is my choice for cloud storage. I have lost files one too many times, and while external hard drives are a PR girl’s best friend (especially with a MacBook with little local storage), they still aren't foolproof. Dropbox is easy to use, and like most of my choices, I can marry Dropbox to all of my devices to ensure that I don’t miss a beat while working the days away. 

And… my guilty-pleasure app is… The Kim Kardashian Hollywood game. No explanation necessary. 

Copyright © MMXVI Hourglass Omnimedia, LLC

This post was originally published on Dec. 20, 2016.

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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