Online annotation tools for collaboration and getting feedback for web design and development projects are reviewed in this post. They are very useful for commenting, review and debugging with client and as well as with the team members. There’s always a feedback stage in the web design process which requires intensive interaction. What in particular should be changed, improved or fixed? Using online annotation tools you can dramatically reduce time spent on reporting bugs, change requests and improvements. Have you tried any of these tools on real project? Do you have a favorite not mentioned here? Please add your opinion in the comments.
Diigo is online annotation and bookmarking tool. You can highlight and leave annotation as a sticky note for any element on the website. Comments can be collapsed to the icons to avoid the mess. Tags can be used to better organize the process. Privacy control options are private, public, or shared with a group. Diigo allows to annotate password protected websites, has extension and bookmarklets for all browsers as well as powerful notification system.
ShiftSpace is an open-source annotation tool made as Firefox plugin that allows altering web pages with different tools. ShiftSpace allows users to leave notes, highlight text, change images, and edit the page source. For web surfers with the plugin, modified pages are marked with a small ShiftSpace icon (§) in the bottom left side of the screen. Modified pages are called “shifts”, and if made public, are shared on the ShiftSpace website. Users can subscribe to the shifts of users they like via RSS.
Awesome Highlighter is the very simple and easy to use annotation and commenting tool. It lets you highlight text on web pages and then gives you a small link to the highlighted page for sharing. You can choose color for your notes.
Notable lets you quickly and easily annotate and give feedback on design, content, and code on any page. It allows you to capture visual, code and copy notes for future commenting in number of ways. You can capture logged in views and code via a Firefox tool button, upload a JPG image or design mock-up from your desktop, type in a URL to fetch a screen grab, capture on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Notable also includes features to capture web page flows, track design changes as well as flexible permission and notification system.
SharedCopy is an AJAX based web annotation tool that allows users to mark-up, highlight, draw, annotate, cache, sticky-note and share any website. SharedCopy annotations are public by default by could be kept secret. There are RSS notifications for new comments. No signup, download or installation is required. SharedCopy works with Twitter, Basecamp out of the box and it has APIs to integrate it with your own online services.
The Commentor enables flexible annotation and easier assessment of graphic material. It helps in gathering all the comments of the project team members in one place. The drafts made by designer can be assessed by the manager, the art-director and the client. Comments are automatically attached to the corresponding areas of the mock up. All the different versions of the mock ups under discussion are kept in record.
WebNotes allows you to annotate websites with a virtual highlighter and sticky note tool and share them via Twitter, email or special link. Annotations could be organized into nested folders .There’s no need to install plugins to view shared notes. Paid version of WebNotes includes PDF support, multi-colored highlights, and report generation.
Twidla allows you to create your private or public commenting whiteboard and upload for review any image or open online website. Twiidla provides drawing tools, tools for placing shapes, media, text, documents on a whiteboard, live chat. No registration or plugin installation is required to start online annotation. You can try many features in the free version but it’s quite limited for professional use. Paid plans start from $14/month.
Google Sidewiki is a browser sidebar that lets you annotate and read information alongside any web page. All you need is Google account to sign up. All annotations are placed in the sidebar. They can be related to the page as a whole or to the certain blocks of the page. There’s no build in notification about new comments, though Google SideWiki has its own API which lets you set up this feature by yourself. Site owner’s comments are emphasized with different color.
Reframeit is annotation service with many useful features. You can annotate the whole web page, selected text or an image. You can define comments as public or private. You can even assign group access to the comments. There’re a few of comments display modes and also filtering feature. Instead of registration at Reframeit, you can use your OpenID provider (Twittter, Facebook). it also has flexible notification system including RSS, option to reply to comments and comment Intranet pages.