As much as some people hate it, there will always be times where you might have to collaborate with someone else. While working with someone else might make it easier to get ideas and finish faster, it’s going to be a nightmare if you don’t have the right tools for working together.
Who would want to have dozens of windows open while trying to explain some website to a fellow worker? It seems that there have been a lot of people who have been frustrated by working with others because there are quite a few tools out there to deal with this problem.
The tools that are going to be mentioned are all free to use and do not require you to install any programs at all. Just visit each site and you’ll be ready to work.
This tool has been mentioned before in the Make Use Of directory, and it’s probably the fastest to set up. All it requires is for you to go to the website. No extra clicking, just start it up and invite people to join you. Scriblink is basically a giant whiteboard where you and your fellow workers can get together to jot down ideas. While it may seem silly to draw on white space, you have the option of uploading images, which you can later mark up.
You also have very useful features such as saving what you have, printing everything out, or sending it to for your boss to see. The chatbox makes it easy to communicate with others without having a separate IM window open.
You can also have the option of chatting via VoIP. However, I do not have a microphone or a webcam so I am unable to test this function out. If you try this feature out, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Scriblink is a very simple to use way of communicating with other people.
Twiddla is currently my favorite way of working with others and has also been previously covered here at Make Use Of. It’s simple to use, and you don’t even have to register which makes everything faster. This site has a plethora of features. One of the most notable features is that you can visit other websites within Twiddla and mark things up. This is extremely useful if you want to show a worker something you found and is much better than sending the link via mail or something similar.
Here you can draw freehand or use many different shapes to get your message across. You can post sticky notes as well as images you upload. Like Scriblink, you have the option of saving your work and can chat with others via voice or IM. It’s also very easy to invite people to your Twiddla. Just give them the link along with the password (if you choose to set one) and they’ll be able to work together with you. This is a very handy tool with many features that every business person should use to work with others.
As much as I love the tool, I’d like to warn everyone about some problems I’ve been having with Twiddla. I’m not sure if Firefox 3 is causing the problem or if Twiddla itself is causing the problem, but I’ll sometimes lag out or Firefox will remain frozen for a long time. The app runs fine in Internet Explorer, but I hope this “˜problem’ gets fixed because I really don’t want to use IE just for this site. Anyway, it’s definitely worth checking out.
The final web app I’d like to cover is one called Vyew. Vyew is a nifty site that seems a bit more complicated than both Scriblink and Twiddla, but has a ton of great features you’ll love to use. I’ve just recently discovered the site, and I’ve pretty much fallen in love with it. As soon as I can figure out how to use all the available features, I’m sure I’ll be using Vyew more than Twiddla.
Vyew includes most of the features from both Twiddla and Scriblink, including the option to draw, chat, and print out your work. With Vyew, you will get those options along with many others. Here are just a few awesome features.
- The folks at Vyew have made it possible for you to be able to share your screen with others. This way, your co-workers will be able to see exactly what you’re doing.
- You can upload much more than just images. The upload feature supports documents, PDFs, Powerpoints, and even FLV videos.
- You can take screenshots of your desktop if you’re too paranoid for screen sharing, which works just as well.
- There are many plugins that you can add to your Vyew. These plugins include a graphing calculator, Flash Video player, MP3 player, polls, and more.
- An innovative feature called the Vyewbook makes it easy to separate your different meeting. One could be for your boss, one could be for your friends. It all depends on you. Within each Vyewbook, you can have many different pages on which to have content. One page could be for all the pictures, and the other could be all the videos/music.
I have tried every of those features except for the screen sharing because I can’t find anyone to share my screen with. The other features work fabulously, and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed when you use this tool. Granted, it is a little confusing to figure out at first, but looking at the demonstrations really helps.
While Vyew is completely free to use, you’ll get extra benefits if you pay. Without paying, you’re subjected to some ads and limited to 20 users (which is still a lot). You will only be able to have 5 Vyewbooks with 50 pages. You’ll be able to have more users and more Vyewbooks if you pay, but most home users should be content with the free offer.
This tool really is awesome, and I hope you guys enjoy all the features. Just take a few minutes to find all the features. Some are dugg really deep and it took me a while to find all the great things.
Hopefully, these three tools will be able to help you in all sorts of different collaboration problems. You have Scriblink for the simple tasks, Twiddla for most other uses, and the powerful Vyew to tackle even your toughest jobs. I hope you’ll find one you like and stick to it.
Do you know any other great collaboration tools I might have missed? If so, please tell me about it in the comments.
(By) Ken Burkes, who is an active web surfer that diggs, stumbles, and blogs in his free time. Being too lazy to get a blog of his own, you should stay up to date with Make Use Of to find more of his articles.