Protonotes Improves Client Communication

Protonotes: HTML prototyping collaboration tool. - Mozilla Firefox (Build 2008092414)There are few things more frustrating for a remote web worker than trying to get concrete feedback from a client who can’t quite explain what they mean. This is particular evident – at least for me – in web development and design engagements. Having someone at the opposite end of a phone line saying “no, this bit right here doesn’t line up on my browser” leads to comedic but non-useful conversations. I’ve mailed a lot of screenshots back and forth in my time to get around this.

Protonotes offers a free service that is designed to make collaboration around a web site prototype simple for remote teams. Signing up takes only a minute and an email address; they send you a snippet of javascript. Then you include that javascript in the web pages deployed to your staging server, and anyone who visits gets a toolbar with the option to create or destroy little yellow sticky notes. The whole team can view these, edit them, and move them around as part of a visual discussion right on the page.

By default, the notes are stored on a server that belongs to protonotes, but you can configure it to use your own MySQL server if you prefer. You can also set defaults in the javascript to control the toolbar appearance and whether notes are displayed on the page by default. All in all, this is a simple and useful service if remote web design is part of your job.

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