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We’ve reviewed a number of collaboration tools including Canadian-based ConceptShare and Scotland-based Colaab. Today I took a look at Argentinian-based CreationFlow. CreationFlow is a Flash-based collaboration and project management suite.
You setup tasks inside of projects and then assign users to the tasks. The users can create reviews which is where you can draw (as shown below) to add notes to a review. I found the service a bit more difficult to get comfortable with than ConceptShare/Colaab, but once I got the hang of it, it is well designed. You can also switch the language to Spanish.
CreationFlow is more than just "stick up an image and get feedback" – it’s more like a team-based visual project management tool. It would work well for design agencies and other teams where client reviews are needed to approve tasks to continue with a project. I like the tracking component which makes it easy to confirm that a user accepted a design or other piece of creative.
I think their pricing model could use a bit of tweaking – they need to lower the number of users on the free plan to 1 or 2 (from 5) and introduce a pricing plan that’s less than their lowest plan currently at $50/month. Take the 5 user plan and set the price at $19/month or something similar. There’s just too big a jump from free to $50/month. Move them up the plans slowly I think is best.
My suggestion is to take all of the collaboration tools for a free trial with your team and determine which is best for your particular needs.
Scotland-based Colaab launched a month ago and the service provides online team collaboration. The tool is a full-screen application utilizing Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. The website and application are very slick and at the same time clean in design.
The Colaab team pushes the product as a way to complete design reviews and for teachers to interact with their students. Check out the image below of an x-ray with doctors collaborating on the diagnosis and treatment. Wouldn’t that be amazing to think that all of a person’s doctors could collaborate in real time on how to handle a health situation. What a change that would be from the experience I described a year ago with my mother. Other potential users include design agencies, artists, etc. The days of Fedex’ing a design back and forth for markup are over.
After you signup for an account, you create "workspaces" to house your collaborations. Inviting others to collaborate is as easy as sending them an email with a link.
If you have a startup, you should check out their blog post about "getting real". It’s based on a post from 37Signals and covers some of the Colaab founder’s thoughts on how they got to their current product release.
The computer I am on has a fresh install of Vista and Silverlight is not installed. It made browsing the Colaab site a bit tough – the team might want to look into offering alternatives for viewing their demo videos and checking out the signup/order page.
Moving from private beta to public beta today is ProofHQ. London-based ProofHQ is a collaborative editing suite that allows groups of people to provide feedback on a design or object. The service is similar to one of my favorite Web services, ConceptShare.
The concept behind ProofHQ is simple. You upload a design, graphic or object you want feedback on. Next you set who can participate in providing feedback and post the editing function on your blog or email participants to enter the ProofHQ site. Josh Lowensohn at CNET notes that, "what makes it a standout among some of the competition is its capability to integrate with other tools or workflows you might be used to." Josh points to 37Signals’ Basecamp project management service as one example. ConceptShare partnered with Corel and is integrated with some of their tools.
My suggestion to ProofHQ (same as my suggestion to ConceptShare last year) is to get out there and partner with creative agencies across the world. So many teams are spread out today and a tool like this could make revisions and design finalization quicker. While it’s not as sexy as a blog embed, the agency market is where the real money is.
Here’s how ProofHQ defines their business plan, "ProofHQ offers tiered monthly and annual pricing plans based on the number of end users, number of proofs, and storage per month – including a free account for users who need only five proofs per month. Anyone can sign up today for a 14-day free trial for any sized plan." I think five proofs a month is too many. As I’ve written about numerous times, if you offer enough for most users for free, they will never upgrade and pay.
Coming off their big country win in the online video usage today, Canadian design collaboration tool ConceptShare has launched an API. Co-founder Scott Brooks explains why they created an API, "We want to enable our clients large and small to leverage our platform to further improve their projects. The API will allow users to customize the ConceptShare experience for their organizations, teams and clients."
Looks like the first usage was from a design agency who wanted customers to submit files through a web form directly into a new ConceptShare workspace.
ConceptShare is making two major announcements today. A five-year partnership with Corel and V2 of the ConceptShare service.
This is the first major upgrade since the critically acclaimed web application launched in January, 2007. The project management interface has been redesigned to be simpler and cleaner, resulting in less clicks and a smoother workflow. Project workspaces have more vertical screen area, and a redesigned layout that is now completely customizable. The new user interface improvements are part of major framework upgrade that will allow ConceptShare to make modifications and improvements even faster in the future.
"Engagement from our community in the form of feedback, feature requests and recommending our product to colleagues has been key to our growth." said Will Pate, Community Evangelist for ConceptShare. "This is just the beginning of how we will engage our customers and partners."
CorelDRAWConceptShare.com is the first release in the five-year partnership between Corel and ConceptShare. It’s a perfect marriage between the two companies though there would be another graphics software company that might have given ConceptShare even more visibility. I might be mistaken but I believe this is Corel’s first entry into the Web space. Both companies are Canadian.
"We are enthusiastic about our partnership with Corel. The CorelDRAW version of ConceptShare™ provides us immediate exposure to millions of CorelDRAW users worldwide and will help to accelerate our growth into international markets,” said Bernie Aho, Product Manager and Co-Founder, ConceptShare. “This strategic partnership demonstrates a new model for relationships between web application providers and desktop software companies.”
I recently wrote about the value that Marshall brought to SplashCast Media. Today another "star free agent" has been picked up. This time it’s Will Pate joining ConceptShare. ConceptShare is based up there in the northern regions of Canada (you know the area where it snows all year) and Will is a canuck as well.
Will has previously worked with Flock and a number of other startups and currently co-hosts commandN with Amber MacArthur.
I think ConceptShare co-founder Scott Brooks made a great pick-up with Will as he has a large contact base and can help ConceptShare get some more visibility. Check out our review of ConceptShare from earlier this year.
Another great pickup was Forrester’s acquisition of Jeremiah Owyang. I believe we will see this trend continue as big co’s scoop up bloggers who have great reputations along with strong contact lists.
Jake reviewed ConceptShare back in December. ConceptShare is an online design sharing, mark-up and review tool. I wish this tool would have been available 10 years ago. I know that I could have used it on practically any web site I created. The days of scratching on a printout, drawing in photoshop or sending impossible to understand emails back and forth are over. To find out more about ConceptShare, I spoke with Bernie Aho and Scott Brooks, two of the three ConceptShare co-founders.
Highlights of our discussion include:
- Can you provide a brief background about yourself?
- Where did the idea for ConceptShare come from?
- How do you use ConceptShare to innovate ConceptShare?
- Can you share some information about your users?
- How do you monetize ConceptShare?
- Funded or self-funded?
- What’s next for ConceptShare?
- What has been the biggest mistake you have made since starting ConceptShare?
- Which Web apps besides ConceptShare do you believe is a star?
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