Back in the old days, when you were working on a project, all team members had to be on location in order to work together, share ideas, and perform tasks. That was an age of face-to-face interactions where things without one’s physical presence were not possible to do. But thanks to the advent of the internet, people who are in different parts of the world can easily connect with one another. Resultantly, collaboration between individuals who are far apart is made possible by the internet.
However, such remote online collaboration can soon become difficult to manage if the number of team members involved is large. The project leader can quickly lose track of emails and find it difficult to remember which task was assigned to whom. Sharing ideas is another process that suffers. In short, online collaboration can be a big mess if it is not handled properly. Fortunately, you can indeed handle it properly using a web service called Ginger.
What does Ginger do?
Ginger is basically an online application that aims to facilitate online collaboration between parties that are far apart. While there are numerous web services that attempt to tackle this task, they are often cluttered with a large number of features – so much so that it becomes a complicated matter to even use these services. What Ginger does is focus on the key aspect of collaboration: discussions. Using this web service, team members are able to view project updates, view new discussion topics, participate in ongoing debates, provide their own ideas, indicate their stance on ideas by voting up / down comments, and more.
Usability and Interface
You begin using this nifty application by first creating an account on it. This can be done either by signing up through your email address or by logging in via a connection through your Facebook account. In any case, you have to create a team once you are signed in. This team is of course the people with who you will be collaborating on your projects. You can create a team by providing the name of your organization and then specifying the team name, a description for the team, and then the email addresses of your team members. Once you have completed this step, the people whose email addresses you added are sent an invitation email to join your team. They are added as soon as they click on the link emailed to them and after they sign up.
With the team on board, people who log in get to see the latest discussions on their Dashboard. If you want to explore the application on your own, you can do so using the demo team and posts provided. The Dashboard shows you the latest discussions along with the information about the latest update in a discussion.
A small box in the right pane of the application also displays the recent activity of your team on the Ginger website.
You can click on an existing topic in order to see the posts that team members have made under it. A new message can be added on top to become a new addition to the topic. Other options include voting a particular post in the discussion up or down.
You can also have your reply directed towards a particular post in the thread. This can be done by simply clicking on the Reply button in the footer of each message post that is present in the thread.
While you are typing down your reply, you should keep in mind that Ginger supports the Markdown language syntax in order to assist its users with special formatting. A section about the details of the formatting options displays the specific syntax of Markdown that can be used on the site.
Once you have typed your reply in response to a post that is present in the thread, your reply appears nested into the discussion. This helps a reader quickly grasp the order of replies and understand what is going on. You can also introduce new topics within a thread by introducing a “fork” i.e. adding a new title in the middle of a discussion. The Dashboard then displays this newly initiated title too.
Of course, if you find that the topic you want to discuss is not present, you can always create a new topic of your own by adding a title and body to the topic.
As you can see, discussions are competently handled by the app’s interface; this handling provides users with easy and convenient communication.
So what is the cost?
Ginger offers a free package that supports the creation of three teams along with four team members. 1 GB of storage capacity is also offered by the free account. The premium accounts begin from $19 per month and they offer bigger numbers for teams, team members, and storage capacity. All accounts on the site come with a 30 day free trial plan.
If you have worked with multiple people online on the same project, then you are aware of the many pains one takes to be on the same page with his / her team members. To have a web application that facilitates convenient interaction between its users definitely helps eliminate this problem. Because the application provides a major service with minimal flaws, you should definitely check out Ginger.