In a world of efficiency, where mobile technology and remote working is fast becoming the norm, we now have to cater to the – somewhat ironically – ever increasing demands of the flexible working life.

Those brainstorming sessions amongst colleagues are no longer easy when you have different time zones to consider. The idle feedback that came from chit chat at those now non-existent water coolers doesn’t happen. And delivery meetings where everyone bounced thoughts and ideas off each other, critiqued and collated their feedback in one go – are simply a figment of yesteryear.

And while flexibility and freedom is seemingly great for our work life balance. It has in fact had a marked impact on the design world – in a way that demands an answer.

The design feedback process has never been easy. But it’s interesting to see just how drastically the landscape of the design feedback process has changed over the last 5 years.  It was 2009 when I last recall having ALL design sign-off stakeholders in a room together at one time. 2009. And since then, we’ve been receiving disjointed feedback through email chains, phone calls, sticky notes, and Skype. Any number of ways you can imagine to receive feedback, but none of it cohesive.  And the result of this haphazard feedback? Things slip. Important feedback notes are missed. Timelines increase due to the ongoing back and forth nature of the conversation. Deadlines are extended (again). And budget is increased or a project is made redundant.

And we’ve all been there… a client calls describing their “feelings” to describe an area they’re unsure about on the Header they’re referring to as a Masthead. It’s difficult to visualise what they’re talking about, let alone pin down exactly what they mean. So with these issues being consistent year in and year out.. what can we do about it? Here are some collaborative tools available to help us get to grips with the changing landscape of the design feedback process.

Conjure

First and foremost, the team here at Neverbland decided to do something about it with Conjure. This tool provides a collaborative way to streamline the design feedback process. Letting all stakeholders pinpoint, track, and share feedback directly onto the designs themselves.

Smarter and faster design sign off

Whether it be feedback or signoff you’re after on illustrations, photographs, wireframes, or designs, Conjure will take care of it for you with it’s intuitive user flow and collaborative design. You can share your work with ease, gathering feedback in a logical format, allowing you to manage your creative workflow simply and in context. Keeping the conversation in one place, removing confusion and allowing you to deliver your best work.

Slack

Slack is another great tool that again focuses on collaborative conversation. Slack’s mission is to simplify team chats and instant messaging, making it easier to follow the flow and topic of conversation. It’s fast being adopted by the Startup world as a replacement for Skype, Gchat, and even email. Integrating seamlessly with a host of external apps such as Google Drive, GitHub, Trello and many more.

Smarter and faster design sign off

Trello

And speaking of Trello.. it’s fast becoming the leading collaborative project management tool on the block. A web-based application, Trello is is highly visual, free, and intuitive. You can create a project board, create tasks within those projects, and assign tasks to appropriate members of the team. Add some deadlines, notifications, and a super intuitive user flow and you have yourself an extremely savvy workflow process.

Smarter and faster design sign off

It’s clear from all Startup success stories that collaboration is key, and these three tools are brilliant for providing clarity of vision. Keeping expectations across team members consistent, and tracking feedback in line and in context, means you can spend less time being busy, and more time on the important things.