Squishing Design Ping Pong

I love email. Well, I say love, what I actually mean is that it's my primary form of communication at work. Email can be great, especially if its well-crafted, but beware of what you send. Sometimes it can go badly wrong.

One of the things that email really sucks at is the collaboration between client and designer and I can't believe I haven't thought of trying to find a better way of handling this process before know. Fortunately, the collective wisdom of the planet-sized brains on the uk-netmarketing email discussion list were on-hand.

Thankfully my post asking for online collaboration tools to alleviate some of the usual pain in this process, yielded a crop of really handy tools:

  • Conceptshare -  slick-looking paid-for tool (with free trial) that looks like it'd do a great job of simplifying the process of annotating designs. Allows various levels of annotations on designs in a shared workspace. (suggested by Wayne Scott)
  • Thinkature - web 2.0 application that allows uploading of screenshots, annotation and live chat (including voice-chat), fairly basic features, but a free app, so who's complaining? No plug-ins required as it's AJAX based. Nice.
  • Adobe Acrobat - the full version has a feature which allows reviewers to add comments to a PDF, with the comments showing as a separate layer. Requires the full version, which is about £200. (suggested by Ed Wills)
  • SnagIt from Techsmith - utilitiy for taking screenshots. Has the handy feature of being able to scroll and capture, allowing screengrabs of web pages longer than a single screen. We've used this tool internally for a while. It's well worth the £20 fee. (suggested by Sean Dillon)
  • Webex and Netviewer - suggested as ways to collaboratively review screen-based designs and importantly live interaction. I'd have thought this would be a winner for reviewing web 2.0-style apps with design/development companies. (suggested by Peter Browne and Miko Coffey).

We're going to give Conceptshare a whirl, although Thinkature looks like it'd do a pretty decent job as well. Anything that alleviates the pain of trying to write design annotations as a text document will be a blessed relief!