Volerro: Teamwork Simplified

Collaborating online with a team is still in its infancy. You’ll need to daisy chain a few different apps to get done things with as little friction as possible. There isn’t yet a “one app to rule them all” in sight. When you have to switch back and forth between multiple apps to collaborate, the focus and productivity levels take a hit.

I’m like curious George when it comes to discovering apps. I’m only too happy to try them all as and when they are launched. Except when it comes to team collaboration apps. It’s one vertical that still feels like snake oil and if you remove the branding and fancy copy, almost all of them have the same set of features.

Volerro got my attention with the bold proclamation that it can help users create, refine and distribute content. It’s the creation part that got my attention. No app is better in that aspect except for Google Docs. So, I had to try out this app and benchmark it against the competition.

Pricing

Subscription Plans

Subscription Plans

It’s very clear that Volerro is targeting the enterprise and business segment of the market. When subscription plans start at $99 a month, there is hardly a chance for smaller teams to afford it. But, charging what they feel is right is the decision of a developer and I do respect that. There is always the 3 projects only free plan for casual users.

Getting Started

Usually it will take me a few minutes to figure out the workflow of an application. Thanks to the project creation wizard that shows up launch, I was able to create a project and all associated stuff in three easy steps. Handy tooltips avoid confusion whenever there is jargon displayed on the wizard.

Creating a New Project

Creating a New Project

Basically, after creating a project you can start adding multiple boards (or workspaces) to start adding files to share with your team. Invite people to lend you a hand with the project before you are done. It’s quick, simple and painless. The dashboard is clean looking and the large thumbnails for projects are quite good to look at. Did I mention that you can add your own thumbnails for extra effect?

Kanban boards are quite popular these days, thanks to Trello. Boards of Volerro look and work in the same manner. If you ask me, I would say that the look and feel of Volerro’s boards are way better.

A Full Blown Project with Multiple Boards

A Full Blown Project with Multiple Boards

It was downright awesome to drag and drop files into the boards. The delete icon is way too tiny and is difficult to spot. In addition to files, notes with your thoughts can also be added to the mix. It’s interesting that there isn’t an option to create and assign tasks. May be the developers didn’t want Volerro to be just another project management app in disguise and stay true to team collaboration? However, the notes features can be used as a workaround when you need to create tasks.

Preview and Collaboration

It’s now time for the crucial part of the evaluation. I uploaded a bunch of popular file formats – images, PDF files and MS Office Documents. Apparently, file types aren’t a problem as Volerro supports audio, video and even multilayer Adobe Illustrator files.

The sad thing is, you cannot create documents using Volerro (but they do claim to let you create documents in the home page). But, their annotation feature is a dynamite and you can it as much as you want to express your feedback. I wish it was a bit more smoother to demarcate the annotation area. Tiny, but unmissable pins keep all annotations under wraps. You can access them all in one go from the right side bar.

Annotating a Document

Annotating a Document

Team members can pitch by either by annotating side by side or by replying to your comments in the sidebar. The versioning feature of Volerro is something that’s worth a mention. As someone who has toiled by creating multiple version of a same document in Google Docs to ensure that I can always go back to a previous draft when I mess up.

Simply upload a new version of a file or document using the Replace button and collaborate away as before. Extra attention is given to folks who use wide screen monitors. Options to zoom in and out and fit to screen are valuable additions to better utilize the screen real estate.

The clean layout of Volerro goes for a toss in the preview and collaboration screens. The display of page numbers and board names in that mode is downright tacky.

Final Thoughts

Volerro is pricey. It’s good and has lot to offer. But, starting straight up with a $99 a month plan is exorbitant. Even pioneers like Basecamp have come down to affordable per project plans to get a foothold in the vastly untapped casual user market. A discounted tier with a limited number of projects and team mates will open up a lot of opportunities for team Volerro.


Summary

Volerro simplifies the way teams collaborate to create, refine and distribute all types of digital content.

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