The image link says it all; get Flowcast.
Offsite collaboration can be a pain for website development that requires a remote client or team to review any changes and provide feedback. Need to change a font size? Well prepare to sit back for days, even weeks before communication from the client reaches the developer, for the change to be implemented, pushed lived, then relayed that back to the client. One solution that I have fortunately come across is Flowcast, a revolutionary software that enables faster, more efficient feedback regarding website design and structure. Flowcast is close to home (for this blogger at least), they are a startup company currently being incubated at the DMZ at Ryerson University. This is not a product endorsement, their software came up in conversation where I was frustrated with website design feedback, and Flowcast was mentioned as a remedy. I thought I would try it out, have been hooked ever since.
This software is lightweight, efficient, and does its one thing, really well. I do admire their bold slogan that is pasted on their homepage; "shareable click-and-type sticky notes for your website. No more screenshots, ever." (Except, I included some in this blog post) If you have ever built or designed a website, or even had to provide feedback for a platform, webpage, or social media profile, you know the complete and utter frustration of cutting out screenshots and pasting them in emails. This intuitive software removes all that clutter and provides a seamless environment to post those "stickies" in the editor section. The true value of their Flowcast is in their incredibly simplified process to provide feedback for design and copy changes that must be reviewed. It almost has a Google Docs-esque feel to it, where you can make live changes on any website. Rather than simply having a dialogue between one party and the developers, you can share your editing link to executives, the marketing team, and sales department.
The Flowcast website matches their product very well, with minimal design. Their page outlines how the software is used, it clearly tells you the price, provides a link to their email for contact, and a login link for current subscribers. The cost for using the service is on a monthly subscription basis (no option to pay yearly, yet). You pay $9/month. Not too bad, should I buy this or Netflix, this or Netflix, oh come on, we both know I will be purchasing both. I can proudly say that I have been using their services since early beta testing, and hence received a lifetime promotion of 30% off regular pricing.
Let me guide you through a test drive of using the Flowcast software:
We start by signing in to the software (at this time, you can login using your GitHub account).
Your dashboard contains all the editing links that you have previously created, along with your account details at the top right corner (at the time, it only allows you to access your billing details. For all other inquiries, you must email them directly). You can enter in any website that can be accessed (try not to use pages that required an additional login to access, the notes might not show up for reference later). The 'Environment' dropdown menus has 3 options, all of which are for personal preference to categorize the stage of development that the website is currently undergoing. Select one and hit the 'Get feedback' button.
Success! We have successfully created our very own Flowcast editing link for the Plaid Shorts (this is an endorsement) website. You can choose to email the link to whoever needs (or wants) to provide you with feedback on your website, or you can just copy-paste them the link.
Just a quick step back to the dashboard once a link has been created. You have the option to password protect your links. This could be handy to keep that Grandma's Birthday Celebration website you've been working on a secret until it's perfect.
This is the screen that is displayed for first time visitors using the Flowcast editing link we created moments ago. It provides all the instructions you need; use the 'Notes' section to create feedback buttons, and 'View' to interact with the website regularly.
This is the page as seen through the 'View' section, note we a badge icon above the 'Notes' section with the number 5. Let's click on that.
Woah! This website now has a complexion resembling that of a teenager, no need to worry, this section allows for the user to click on any section of the website and provide feedback.
We noticed the font is different on the top right of the screen, let's notify our developers to change the font. We click on the section and add a little comment to describe our frustrations. Look at that! We received a reply (we have two Sam L.'s here), a great example of how all the discussions can be contained to this software. No more emails on top of screenshots on top of messages.
And we're done, nothing more to it. Now let us look back as those tough times we had cutting those screenshots, sending it to the developers or designers, having them rip it apart, and then email you back. Although these departments seem closely related, some teams can be further segmented into front-end and back-end developers, print and digital designers, and so on. This nifty software compiles all concerns and discussions regarding website iterations into a simple environment. One final note that I may add, would be to allow notifications once an edit is made to a link, this could shorten the timeline between feedback and implementation. Right now, we would have to email the development team that we added changes, but hey, they're still in beta. I look forward to see what lies ahead for this already intuitive software. We're not only limited to a business approach here, professors could even use this tool to provide quick feedback on blog posts like this one.
#EID100 #Module3 #Software #Review #Flowcast