Lately, I’ve been using Slack for client communication and Skype for when sharing screen is necessary. I also hop on regular phone calls, although I dislike how it can interrupt the flow of coding. Email, however, remains my favorite way to work and here’s why:
I can easily expand on what I want to say.
If a developer I’m collaborating with has a question, I can include color-formatted code examples, screenshots, or other related files. Granted, Slack offers similar capabilities but I find its chat-like interface too abbreviated for some discussions.
I have more time to form my reply.
I’m methodical by nature, whether I’m coding a website or emailing a client. I like to take my time choosing words to ensure it’s exactly what I want to say. Another example is when replying to a code question, it can be very useful to do a quick Google search or check StackOverflow.
When I’m on the East Coast working with West Coast clients, the 3 hour time gap doesn’t always allow for instant communication. Emails allow me to comfortably send and receive messages at any time of the day.
I work primarily in code all day and the biggest struggle I deal with is interruptions. When I’m “in the zone” troubleshooting code, it’s not easy to stop without losing my place. For this reason alone, I love email. Clients can send questions or comments and I will review them as soon as I’m in between code edits.
Keeping a record.
One of the main drawbacks I find with phone calls is it’s difficult to keep a record. When a client calls and talks for an hour about the edits they want done to their site, I have to quickly type notes on my computer at the same time and hope I got everything. There’s no “paper trail” directly from the client with phone calls. For example, if a client asks for a certain edit and then later changes their mind, it can be difficult to recall the entire conversation. If that same discussion was in writing, I would be able to easily show the client exactly what was agreed to.