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At first peek, web app Teambox looks like another collaboration tool: it’s a Basecamp rival that facilitates collaboration and notifies team members of additions and changes to your projects. Both come with a simple, user-friendly interface. But Teambox has one bonus; it lets teams create unlimited projects for free. Teambox charges for branding, installing it on your own server and subscribing to maintenance plans.
The dashboard has details of all your current projects. Every project consists of messages (discussion forum), lists (tasks), pages (wiki), people (contacts on the project) and chat. In less than 10 minutes, I created two projects and added content for each.
Teambox feels easier and more intuitive than Basecamp. Not once did I need to peek at the help file or the Textile (text formatting) reference; the tips on the page were enough. Even after using Basecamp for a while, I still needed to look up its Textile reference.
Basecamp’s interface is nicer than Teambox’s, though; it’s sleeker and more eye-pleasing, with a dash of color. By contrast, Teambox’s interface contains little color and it doesn’t look the same in all browsers. For example, it uses a serif font in Google Chrome (s goog), making it a harder read than the sans-serif font displayed in Firefox. The project dashboard formatting could stand some improvement, too.
Web workers, especially those working solo, might prefer Teambox just because it’s free. You can freely create a project for every client and add those clients to the projects. However, if you need to build a complete extranet, complete with branding (which you have to pay for with Teambox), Basecamp is still the collaboration tool of choice. Furthermore, Basecamp has been around longer and has third party apps that work it. I’m sure Teambox will add new features as it develops a following and continues to grow.
You need to determine your own needs and chose the applications that best meets those needs. For a freelancer like me, Teambox fits my bill if I need to collaborate and manage projects with clients.
What team collaboration app do you use?