When working on websites and designing them with your team, there can be so much back and forth in emails and messages. It’s awfully difficult to keep up with long email chains that stretch out all over your inbox. Lots of team members means lots of email threads to keep up with. What to do?
This post has been updated in May 2021
Annotating on websites directly and collaborating right then and there can save the day! The users for these tools aren’t just website designers or web developers. They don’t need to collaborate just among themselves. They also need to work with other stakeholders. There are clients, design agency members, quality testers, product managers, heads of strategy and marketing – the list goes on and on.
So, here is an overview of some visual feedback and website annotation tools that could work for your collaboration needs:
Mopinion is an all-in-1 user feedback solution for digital channels that collects and analyses feedback from websites and mobile apps in real-time. With it’s easy-to-use interface, users can build, design and configure feedback forms how they like. Mopinion is not a typical annotation tool but it does allow you to capture visual feedback (feedback with screenshots) on page elements via a simple code snippet embedded into your website.
You can also target these feedback forms to specific groups of online visitors and gain insights into why visitors are not converting. Feedback can be visualised in customisable dashboards and charts for advanced analyses. To take it one step further, digital teams can share and take action on these feedback items in a timely manner with the help of smart alerts. Mopinion offers a variety of pricing packages for the digital enterprise of today.
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Usersnap allows capturing screens and annotating over them via a browser extension or code snippet embedded into the site. It can also be used as a feedback or bug tracking tool.
The tool also provides information about the browser and operating system that was used to annotate on the website. Annotations can be sorted into projects and team members can be added to them. Usersnap has plans based on a monthly or annual basis and for larger teams or enterprises, it provides custom plans and enterprise support.
Pricing: Apart from a 15 day free trial, paid plans for Usersnap range between $69 per month to $329 per month.
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PageProofer is like a “virtual sticky note” on the website. The entire team can annotate and leave feedback on the sticky note created using PageProofer. PageProofer code can be embedded into the HTML code and works across a number of browsers and devices. It works well for responsive websites too. Annotations left on the website can be assigned to team members and priority can be set.
A major advantage is the ability to work with Internet Explorer (8+), however, this comes with the trade off that PageProofer cannot work without being embedded into the HTML code, whereas a number of the other tools can simply be added as an extension.
Pricing: PageProofer also has a 15 day free trial and paid plans ranging from $20 per month for 5 users up to $125 per month for 50 users.
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4. JIRA Capture
Capture for JIRA is the website annotation tool offered by popular project tracking software, JIRA. Apart from adding annotations users can add testing and review sessions and file it as an issue in JIRA. The issues can then be prioritised and tracked by the entire team. Issues can also be sorted based on type.
Pricing:There is a 30 day free trial. Plans for JIRA start at $10 per month and go up to $30 per month.
Scrible can be used by installing a chrome extension and once that is installed, it can be accessed by pressing the red ‘s’ icon in the browser to pull up the scrible toolbar. This tool is targeted mainly at students. The annotations can be arranged in libraries and thus works well as a research tool. Scrible allows searching through saved items via a text search that indexes all annotations and bookmarks. These can be further filtered into webpages, bookmarks, papers, and documents. Annotations saved can also be shared via social media or permalink. Pro users can use tags to sort items.
Pricing: Plans for Scrible are sorted based on storage space used. The Basic and Edu plans are free while the Edu Pro plan is priced at $10 per year for primary & secondary schools. For colleges, the plan is available as $28 per year or $3 per month.
BugHerd can be installed as an extension in the browser. Like Usersnap it provides information about the operating system and browser from which an annotation has been added. The annotations can be filed as issues and managed by other collaborators. Screenshots for the annotation are automatically attached with every notification sent out to team members. Annotations are also arranged on a task board which helps organise issues. BugHerd also provides guest access, in case the annotations need to be shared with a 3rd party.
Pricing: There is a 14 day free trial. Past this, paid plans range between $29 per month to $180 per month.
Hypothesis is a lightweight option for adding website annotation with the aim of bringing “a new layer to the web”. Annotations can be added in public or separate groups by simply adding a website URL. There is also the option of using a bookmarklet.
Hypothesis gives the option to annotate or highlight selected elements. While there is no option to store annotations within the tool, the annotations can be indexed and searched through. Hypothesis is a free tool, supported by a non-profit organisation.
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Diigo allows collecting online resources and annotating on websites and PDF while browsing. These annotations can be shared, bookmarked, saved in a personal library, shared in groups or even archived. Diigo, like most of the other tools, works as an extension. There are free as well as paid plans. However, the free plan has ads and a limit on bookmarks as well as webpage highlights. There is also no option in the free version for image or PDF storage after annotating on them. Collaboration features are available in the Business plan. This also comes with an admin console dashboard.
Pricing: Plans for Diigo range between $40 per month and $10 per month per user.
Twiddla can work without an extension. Annotations can be added to a webpage, document or even an image. Entering a URL is all that is needed to get you going. Annotation tools include free hand drawing pencil, shapes and text. There is also an option to completely erase sections of the webpage.
Twiddla is available as a completely free service, although there are limitations to the functionality in that case. Once users upgrade and switch to the paid service, they have access to named user accounts, technical support, an option to hold simultaneous meetings and even voice chat. The plans differ with respect to the number of users that have access to the project.
Pricing: Paid plans range from $14 per month to $189 per month depending on number of users and meetings that can be scheduled. Technical support is also offered in the Pro, Team and Business plan.
RevNote can be used to annotate web pages and PDFs directly from the browser. The tool allows users to compare, contrast and build knowledge by highlighting important information, which can also be categorised by assigning labels. The tool allows users to take notes by adding comments or follow-up questions straight in the browser. The RevNote Highlighter chrome extension can be used to clip articles when found and simplify your research process.
Pricing: The explorer package of £1 a month enables users to execute 10 projects with a total storage up to 2 GB. The pioneer package of £3 a month offers unlimited projects and a storage of 10 GB.
All the tools listed above offer wide ranging functionality with respect to website annotation. It is important to consider the purpose for website annotation and size of the team when choosing a tool. Some are better suited to smaller teams, while others are better for larger enterprise teams.
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