Even though you have managed to gather a dozen of excellent designers and build your agency around their superb work, something seems to be amiss: deadlines are being breached and clients – despite being satisfied with the overall result – are unsatisfied with communication, collaboration and a “vibe” they are getting from your team.
Your designers, on the other hand, are frustrated as well: emails often remain un-replied, and it usually takes forever to receive clients feedback. This practice results in project bottlenecks that put additional pressure on the team, thus creating stress that could and should have been avoided.
If your agency has communication and collaboration issues, you could opt for one of 7 tools provided below. All of them are unique in their own way and can provide your young company with the momentum to improve and perfect your team and client collaboration.
Slack is a collaboration tool that became very popular with small as well as large businesses – over 75% of Fortune 500 companies are using it as a mean of remote teams communication. Whether by laptop, tablet or smartphone, team members can discuss tasks and problems in chat rooms or via instant messages. Also, you can create channels that allow the company to track team conversations and projects. And if you take into the consideration that Slack integrates with apps such as Runscope, Dropbox as well as Google Drive, it becomes blatantly obvious that this collaboration tool is one of the most flexible ones on the market.
GoVisually is a free tool that allows you to make notes and place comments on any part of your design project. As a designer, you can collaborate with your client and revise projects online – without the use of the email. Similar to Photoshop, this tool will apply a layer for each user on the same page, and switching between different versions of the same document or project is simple as ever. With GoVisually, revisions are uploaded quickly and easily, so there is no time wasting when it comes to feedback gathering.
Single solution for collaboration within the team as well as clients. Active Collab is powerful yet simple project management software for designers that will enable you to keep your projects on track, tasks in check and you clients included in the process. It comes with a load of different features like flexible task manager, team collaboration, time tracking as well as invoicing and its sole purpose is to make your life simpler. Keep your design projects within time and budget by checking who works on what and what’s running late. You can also give clients access to your design projects: by being included they will provide you with a constructive feedback more often, thus increasing collaboration as a result.
If you want to present your clients with active prototypes that imply animations, gestures and transitions, a web-based and mobile app called InVision is the right choice for you. By using this tool, created particularly for designers, you will receive client’s feedback instantly and by including them in the project progress tracking, allow them to stay in the loop. With InVision, you can import design files from Sketch or Photoshop, animate design assets, and preview prototypes on mobile devices. It can be used as a presentation tool, an asset manager for projects, and as a place to create galleries as well.
Zeplin is made for both web designers and developers with the purpose of creating style guides for your projects, including guidelines for colors and fonts. It allows you to collaborate with your team, generate assets, and keep up to date specs for each project. Even though Zeplin includes basic communication capabilities, it also integrates with Slack if you need “something stronger.” This app is a great option for flexible teams who want an abundance of automatically generated specs. On the other hand, it might not be the best choice if your team is rigid or unwilling to try new tools and different approaches.
Red Pen is created exclusively for designers. It allows you to receive comments, annotations, and opinions from your coworkers or clients, simply by dragging and dropping your designs into a dashboard and inviting them to join the app. Red Pen enables teams to annotate any aspect of your work simply by clicking on it. Also, it organizes your designs according to projects and supports an unlimited number of collaborators. One of it’s best features, however, is keeping a track of the numerous versions so you can always roll back to earlier version of the design if you ever have a change of heart.
Used primarily for web design sharing, Cage will help you provide the client with the best design without too much hassle. For starters, you can break your workload down to simple to-do lists with deadlines. Afterward, upload your design and receive feedback from clients and colleagues: they can pin comments directly to the part of the design they are concerned about or give their approval if the design is satisfactory. Apart from that, Cage includes the ‘revision’ function, which allows the client to keep tabs on your progress and track every aspect of the project. Overall, it is a simple but handy tool that every design agency should add to its arsenal.
Using this seven tools will not magically solve all of your agency’s organizational problems, but will be the first step towards process optimization. And finally, it is important to remember: when introducing a new software to your company always keep your employees in mind: new tools are there to help them increase productivity and collaboration, and not induce stress or frustration.
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