16 Best, Online Collaborative Design Apps for Creative Feedback and Client Sign-off
With collaboration services being one of the most in demand in today’s web-specific market, there have emerged a considerable number of online tools that help to ease the process of creative work.
The project collaboration app segment isn’t an exception here in any way. Freelance designers need convenient tools for communicating with their clients and getting sign-off on creative projects. Also, teams require reliable instruments that enable their online collaborative design work.
Even in this quite narrow field, demands for what is really essential can vary, but still we can identify a series of features almost every designer would find useful in a design collaboration service, such as: support for various file formats, commenting options, project management features, client approval tools, and more.
To help freelance designers make up their mind on what is the best online collaboration tool for project sign-offs that fits their creative business scope, we have reviewed a number of web collaboration services. To decide on the right service for you, consider such features as:
- Intuitive Interface – to save time, it’s of vital importance to grasp how everything works from the first minute you open the app, and without needing to read through a heap of guides.
- Reviewing Tools – any kind of built in tools that help you emphasize your creative work or make a visual comment, for instance: pointers, highlighters, shapes, etc.
- Discussion and Commenting – ways to organize a debate for your team or receive feedback from your clients. Ideally they should allow for convenient discussion and prompt collaboration.
- Versioning – options to easily switch to previous editions of a creative file, enabling designers and their clients to track work as it progresses.
- Support for Multiple Formats – the more formats an app is able to process, the wider the field of creative work it can support. Support varies for graphics, web design, mockups, and video files.
- Sharing and Access Rights – apps should provide options for a designer to give access to authorized team members, as well as customers, and correspondingly to restrict files from undesirable intrusion.
- Accessibility – cutting edge technologies have given way to cloud apps easily reached from any location in the world with only an internet connection needed.
- Affordability – cost effectiveness is everything. Some apps stick to the freemium model, giving away a part of functionality for free, meanwhile the majority will allow you only a free trial, with the flexible pricing options offered according to the number of users and amount of storage space used. However, we’ve also managed to trace several applications providing completely free accounts as well.
Top Collaborative Design Client Feedback Tools for Your Freelance Business Work
Here are the best collaboration apps that make it easy to share, communicate and collaborate on creative work online. These collaboration services speed up the flow of communication with your clients, help you track change requests in the context of visuals, and keep a vital record of project discussions.
Rather than exchanging endless emails, these collaboration services will allow you to work more effectively with your clients. Whether you have a website, creative images, illustrations, or videos you need reviewed, there is an app below that is the right fit for your creative business.
If you need a centralized hub to discuss creative work, present visual concepts, and organize the many stages of a design process quickly, then consider one of these online project collaboration tools. Each design collaboration service has a unique business models fit for different freelancer budgets. And of course each one has a unique feel and toolset to consider. Let’s take a look.
- At first glance: stylish and convenient interface with a spacious, collaborative workspace for file editing and reviewing.
- Must-haves: markup tools, threaded discussions, commenting, real-time review notifications, roles and permissions control.
- Benefits: different visual comparison modes, various options on managing video assets.
- Compatible formats: image, video, interactive Flash, and multi-page PDF assets.
- At first glance: interface is centered around a dashboard with projects, clients, teams and tasks.
- Must-haves: projects, tasks, versioning, notes and conversations.
- Benefits: discussions on a video clip directly in the timeline, web-based presentations.
- Compatible formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, QT, AVI, MOV, MP4, FLV, MPEG, WMV, PSD, AI, and EPS.
- At first glance: workspace in the form of interactive and illustrative whiteboards.
- Must-haves: projects, file exchange, commenting, discussion, and text highlighting.
- Benefits: a scribble tool for sketch creating, an embedded video-chat, and collaborative design review tools.
- Compatible formats: text and spreadsheets formats, PDF, PowerPoint and image support.
- At first glance: workspace divided into a dashboard, calendar, tasks, members and co-sketch design tools.
- Must-haves: projects, portfolios, calendar, and co-sketching.
- Benefits: section for posting small ads and auctions.
- Compatible formats: claims to support all file types.
- At first glance: workspace divided into Main, Upload Files, Projects, and Calendar.
- Must-haves: projects, version control, image and video markups.
- Benefits: one plan is free.
- Compatible formats: images, PDF and ASF, AVI, WMV, MOV, MPG, MPEG, MP4, M4A, and FLV for video.
- At first glance: quite a limited collaborative design toolset with the minimum needed to have your work reviewed by clients.
- Must-haves: visual comments, portfolios, notifications, and versioning.
- Benefits: free account.
- Compatible formats: only image files.
- At first glance: stylish, intuitive and uncomplicated interface. The workspace is centered around proofs, images, or PDF files you might want annotated from client feedback.
- Must-haves: commenting, email integration, and document support.
- Benefits: free account and unlimited number of members.
- Compatible formats: GIF, PNG, JPG and PDF.
- At first glance: easy to use collaborative design and annotation tools. A Dashboard with projects and statistics of stages, pages, notes, replies, and people.
- Must-haves: projects, stages, concepts, notes, and commenting.
- Benefits: multiple options for discussion and permission control.
- Compatible formats: JPG, PNG, and GIF.
- At first glance: stylish interface, but the download of a special plugin is required.
- Must-haves: note exchanging, commenting, sketching, and versioning.
- Benefits: app for both Mac and Windows, as well as built in capturing options.
- Compatible formats: images, PDF, and PPT.
- At first glance: simple toolbar with basic instruments.
- Must-haves: projects, commenting, versioning, sketch editor, unlimited collaborative sharing tools.
- Benefits: integration with Basecamp.
- Compatible formats: JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PSD, BMP and multipage PDFs.
- At first glance: not the most intuitive interface.
- Must-haves: threading, versioning, documents, design collaboration, and to do notes.
- Benefits: free trial to get started.
- Compatible formats: JPG, GIF, BMP and, PNG image files. Also support for PDF, DOC, SXW, TXT, RTF, CSV, PPT, TSV, ODP, and more.
- At first glance: very simple interface with all the collaborative design tools needed for an image review project.
- Must-haves: commenting, reviewing tools, email and desktop notifications.
- Benefits: creating a PDF project summary and free access without any registration.
- Compatible formats: image files and PDF.
- At first glance: dashboard with all the information and design collaboration tools users need to manage their online reviews.
- Must-haves: custom branding, email notification, and markup tools.
- Benefits: interactive scheduling, video and URL proofing.
- Compatible formats: PDF, Illustrator, Balsamiq, Image, Video, Audio files, as well as Web Pages.
- At first glance: friendly, transparent and vivid interface. Well thought out collaborative design toolset.
- Must-haves: projects, sharing, and commenting.
- Benefits: very stylish layout templates, free account, simple navigation to your project from your iOS or mobile device.
- Compatible formats: JPG, PNG and GIF files.
- At first glance: convenient workspace with transparent interface in spite of the functionality abundance.
- Must-haves: commenting, markup tools, and real time discussion threads.
- Benefits: preview of very large files (up to 2GB) in seconds; integration with Basecamp, Central Desktop and SharePoint, as well as marketing tools such as WebNative and iSave.
- Compatible formats: 50 file types supported, including PDF, Adobe CS, PDF, Word, Powerpoint, GIF, PNG,and JPEG.
- At first glance: uncluttered interface for design collaboration and client sign-off.
- Must-haves: collaborative discussions, project stats and statuses, galleries, and feedback on designs.
- Benefits: convenient galleries to showcase your works and special sign-off tools.
- Compatible formats: multiple image file types supported.
Having read this review on collaborative design apps for creative feedback and client signoff, let us know in the comments if you are using any of them for your freelance work. What features do you find most useful? What services do you recommend in this niche? Or are you looking to try one of the creative review solutions featured here? What do you feel is the best collaboration app to fit your design business needs?