Getting feedback from clients on your mockups and partially completed projects can be a frustrating ordeal if you rely on email. Your client might not notice the email attachment, or they might not even be able to open it if they don’t have the same apps installed that you’re used to using, such as Photoshop. Then, you’ll be swamped in a torrent of Reply All emails, and the odds that something will be lost in the process are incredibly high.
Luckily for web designers (and other creative professionals as well), a number of services exist to allow designers to easily share mockups with clients online. QwikVu is a newer service that exists primarily for web designers to share their mockups and web designs in an online gallery. It aims to simplify the creative communications process, so let’s see if this is what you’ve been needing to make it easier to deal with your clients.
The Designer’s End
Before you can ever share your design work with your clients, you must first setup a gallery. Like everything on QwikVu, it’s simple to get started. To set up a gallery, first simply enter the information. Choose a title, unique URL, background color, alignment and even set up a password if necessary. You can also choose a client at this time, whether from a saved list or by creating a new client. Lastly, upload the pictures and after about 2 minutes you are almost finished.
After entering all of the information you must complete step 2 which is just as simple. Step 2 involves editing the images. This is the step to add titles, re-arrange the order of the photos, add and delete photos and much more. After completing this step your gallery is ready to be shared with clients.
Once the gallery is complete, you can share the gallery you just created with the client(s). When you are ready to share, simply navigate to the gallery screen, and click the “share” button. There are two easy options for sharing – first, you can email from within QwikVu, which defaults to the designated “client” for the project. You can also choose to share the unique URL for the gallery, emailing the url to many individuals with just one email. The client then receives a link and is able to easily view the gallery.
Now, it is time to wait. Once the gallery is set-up and shared, the “gallery” page becomes your home-base. From this page you can easily view and edit the existing gallery. This is also where you receive any notifications of views and client notes on the gallery that you shared.
The Client’s Perspective
The client experience begins the moment that you share the gallery with them. Clients receive a simple URL to click and are able to instantly view the gallery. The simplicity you have seen in the designer’s end of the site is definitely translated into the client’s end. No accounts are necessary, and the client is able to quickly and immediately view what you have sent. Additionally, the images you have uploaded are presented in scale, in the browser, ensuring that all of the clients are able to see the correct version of whatever you have created.
Navigation is simple within the gallery. Clients are able to either click through the images one by one or utilize the thumbnail navigation panel. These two viewing options are simple and easy to find, ensuring that there is no doubt that clients can navigate through all of the images. In addition to navigating the images, there are a few more things clients can do. First, they can download all of the images – while the point of QwikVu is definitely to ensure that clients are viewing images correctly, sometimes they might need to download the images. Clients can also share the gallery themselves from directly within the viewer, in case a co-worker or someone else should see the images.
Communication and Critiques
One last, notable feature exists within QwikVu and that is the ability to communicate via notes within the gallery. When a client view the gallery, one of the options in their gallery toolbar is the ability to add a note. The form is simple, requiring just the note and the name. Once the note is entered, the note can be dragged around the gallery, to be placed wherever is appropriate upon the image of choice.
The idea behind the notes system is a great one – but I’m definitely puzzled as to why the system isn’t at least a bit more robust. QwikVu definitely makes an effort to stick to the idea of simplicity throughout the site, but the notes might be a time to abandon at least a bit of the simplistic mentality. I’ve tried a number of different sites to share mock-ups with clients, and up until the notes issue, QwikVu is the easiest and nicest site that I have tried.
I believe that QwikVu should consider adding some additional features to the notes and communication system. This system could simply be the ability to reply to notes, or a sidebar communication system that opens up when necessary. I think that there needs to be the ability to communicate within the system in the same way that we can (or at least try to) communicate via email correspondence. At this point, this is definitely the most notable lacking feature in QwikVu, at least in my opinion.
As I said earlier, QwikVu is a great system to use. It is well-designed, intuitive and definitely takes the burden of responsibility off of the designer in order to make sure that mock-ups are viewed in browser and to scale. The simple control features are generally a great benefit to the system and it is easily the most user-friendly mock-up sharing program I have tried to this point.
However, the communication and notes issue really sticks out like a sore thumb. If the point of QwikVu is to help eliminate the need for messy email communication, then the communication system built into the gallery simply must add some additional features. I want to see QwikVu become a truly inclusive program, and I am excited for the day that (hopefully) happens.
All in all, QwikVu is definitely worth checking out, even if it’s not quite up to the standards I hoped. The site offers a free option that is a great way to try out the site, and for just $39/year you are granted the ability to upgrade from 2 live galleries at a time to an unlimited amount of live galleries. It’s definitely a great value, and the essentially unlimited trial really allows you the opportunity to delve into the app and give it a real go.
Have you tried QwikVu before? Are you willing to check it out or do you have an app that you really like to use for this purpose instead? As always, share your thoughts in the comments below!