I am a huge fan of moving more toward the web and away from native software. There are a variety of reasons for this, and I have realized the more we start to move away from software and to the web, the more we are going to need tools to edit on the web. I can think of two recent examples of this, where a friend of mine sent me a link to a new blog he is trying to write as well as students sending me essays online. Having tools to edit these pages online would be so helpful.
This is where a tool like Scrible comes in very handy. It is a toolbar that gives you a variety of options to edit webpages, save them, and then send them off. Scrible opens up a lot of possibilities for the web and it gives us the chance to give instant feedback.
Marking Up The Web
Currently, Scrible offers a small group of tools that you can use to edit webpages. At the moment all of the tools center around editing text in a webpage. One of the tools that Scrible offers is a highlighting pen, where you can pick a variety of colors to make the text stand out. This is a great tool if you are reading an article online and you want to highlight text that is important.
Secondly, you can change the color and the style of the text within a webpage. These are great tools to use if you are editing text of a website. For example, I was asked to critique a blog post and these were great tools to have to help edit it. I could bold, underline, italicize, and strikethrough text, as well as change the color of it.
Lastly, none of these tools are powerful if you cannot communicate to the person why you highlighted or bolded a word. This is where the notes feature comes in very handy in Scrible. If someone is asking for your feedback, you want to be able to let them know why you think a certain word or group of words shouldn’t be there, or if they need to add more. Or if we need to take notes on something that we are reading online, this is a great way to do this. Notes can be placed anywhere on a webpage and in a variety of colors.
Sharing and Saving
Now, what good is it if you markup a website or highlight important text and cannot save or share it with others? Scrible provides you with these options to share and save your edited web pages, which really makes this tool even more useful.
When you are done editing a page, Scrible provides you with a permalink that you can either share on social networks or to email to someone to show them your feedback. Scrible also provides you with an email feature so that you can email someone your edits straight from the toolbar and not have to copy and paste the link into an email. The nice thing is that if you send the edit to someone else who uses Scrible, they can also make changes to the page and add their feedback and then send it back to you. This opens up more possibilities for this app as a great collaboration tool.
In order to save your edited web pages, you first need to create an account with Scrible, then they can be saved. On scrible.com, you have your own page where you can see all of your pages that you have edited and saved, as well as other pages that maybe others have sent to you.
The iPad Version
Since I started using Scrible last year, I had always thought this would be great to use on the iPad. But I was wondering how they were going to make that happen, and to my surprise as I was getting ready to write this article, they had just came out with an HTML 5 version of the toolbar that you can use on Safari on the iPad. It works as a bookmarklet, so you can run it in the iPad’s browser even though you can’t install extensions.
As I was testing it out, I found that I could utilize a lot of the same functionality that I found on the web on my computer. I could highlight, bold text, and even make notes as well. The toolbar for the most part seemed to work really well, and I found that I could do just about everything with Scrible on the iPad as I could on the web. Best of all, you can do it directly with your finger on a touchscreen, which is a great way to quickly markup a site.
Scrible has been in beta for quite a while now and they are definitely taking their time developing the application. I like the functionality of the toolbar, but I would love to see more tools added. For one, it would be nice if there were shapes and arrows, as well as a blur tool. I think by adding these tools, the app would appeal to a wider margin of people.
For the most part, the toolbar works well and I like what it does. Right now accounts are free since Scrible is in beta and it’s uncertain if they will be offering paid accounts in the future. One thing’s for sure: as we rely on the web more for collaboration and work daily, tools like this will be an increasingly valuable part of our toolkit.