I’ve often needed to share a collection of images with others, to show off a project or get feedback. Unfortunately, the solutions I’ve tried haven’t been that good. I’ve printed images to make collections on boards that can be passed around the team members in a meeting. I’ve tried keeping the images on my computer, but then too many are forced to gather around a small screen. I’ve even tried a few different digital collections, but nothing has ever really given me a good opportunity to engage in conversations and share feedback.
Recently, however, I found out about a new web app called Marqueed which is made for this purpose and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Marqueed is a new, free web application made by a group of designers which allows teams to communicate visually, all online. It promises to be quite the useful application, but read on after the jump to learn more about how it works and how I feel about it.
Creating a Collection
When you first join Marqueed, you’ll want to set up a collection or two before doing anything else. Luckily, my roommate and I have been looking into building a spice rack so that seemed like the perfect collection to try out Marqueed. There is a space in the main screen that is dedicated to creating new collections simply by typing in the name of the collection you would like to make. Creating a collection is quite the simple process, even from the very beginning.
Once you’ve named and created the collection, it’s time to begin adding images to the collection. Marqueed offers a variety of ways in which to add images, ensuring that you can easily add images no matter your situation. First, you can upload images from your computer. This is great if you have any renderings or mockups to share, or if you simply have a collection of appropriate research images on your computer. If you have Google Drive, that’s another location to add images from. You can also drag and drop images from websites directly into the collection. Lastly, Marqueed offers a bookmarklet which allows you to save any of the images on any web page. This is the easiest method in my opinion, with drag and drop following at a close second.
As you’re adding images, you’ll have a few options to change in order to make sure that the information associated with the image is correct. When the image is imported, you are able to change the title, description, and labels (tags). You can also click on any images in the collection view in order to change this basic information via the image settings panel. The collection view is also the place to delete/rearrange images as needed.
One thing that you can’t do is link the image to another website. While this is maybe fine if you are sharing mockups or research images, it was quite frustrating as I was working. The images in my collection were from various DIY projects found online, so I’d love the ability to easily link back to the project from the image. This would also come in handy if you selected one of many similar images and want your co-workers to have the ability to easily look at the rest of the images.
The last step before you share your collection with your fellow team members is to double check the collection settings. This is where you can change the name and trigger email notifications for any activity within the collection. More importantly, this is where you manage who can see/interact with your collection. If you leave the collection private (the default option), then only those individuals that you invite can see the collection. If you choose to make the collection public then it shows up on your profile and anyone on Marqueed can see the collection. This is a great way to get feedback if you don’t have a convenient team to work with.
Viewing and Collaborating
Once the collection is complete, simply enter the email addresses for those you wish to invite to the collection on the collection page. If you have collaborated previously, you can enter their name and invite them within Marqueed to come and collaborate on the collection at hand.
Once you have some team members collaborating with you, there are two different tools to use in order to annotate and discuss the images. First is the marquee tool, the namesake for the application. With the marquee tool you can easily draw a rectangular box anywhere on the image. A comment thread is then created for that particular part of the image.
The other tool is the freehand tool, used when you need to draw on the image before commenting. The freehand tool is great for showing simple corrections on mockups, adding components to images and more. As with the marquee, once your drawing is complete a comment thread is created for that section of the image.
I really enjoyed the way that the collaboration tools worked within Marqueed. I have tried out (and reviewed) a fair amount of web-based applications which allow you to share images with a team and then collaborate on the images at hand. While there are definitely parts of Marqueed that don’t quite live up to some of the other applications, I think that the sharing and collaboration tools offered by Marqueed are among the best.
The tools are simple, but still feel complete. I don’t feel like I’m lacking in ways to communicate, but I also don’t feel overwhelmed with too many options. The communication tools are simple but flexible. While I’m not completely sold on every aspect of Marqueed at this point, these tools are enough to keep me coming back.
For being a fairly new application, Marqueed is off to a great start. The sharing and communication tools are amongst the best, at least based upon the various applications that I have tried out. In general, the site is fairly easy to use. I didn’t have too much trouble finding the tools that I needed. Marqueed seems to have found a fairly good balance, at this point, of what to offer. The tools available to the user are enough but not too much.
That balance, however, has not extended as well to the design in my opinion. At times, it feels as though the screen is so empty that a great deal of space is wasted. On the other hand, there are small segments that contain so much information it is overwhelming. In the collection view, for example, there is a great deal of blank space but the notification panel is crammed full of text with a ton of different formatting. The bar at the top also seems a bit cramped and crowded. It is often difficult to read and comprehend these areas. I think that while Marqueed is heading in the right direction, the design and interface could stand some general rethinking.
The design is a bigger issue for me, but in the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t take too much work in order to get it in good working condition. Other than that I just have small critiques, meaning that Marqueed is well on it’s way to becoming a great web application. In fact, once the design is a bit more thought out and you can link images back to a web page, I won’t have too many complaints. Marqueed is a diverse tool offering some incredibly well thought out features. It’s definitely an application worth checking out if you ever have the need to share image collections and then discuss the collections.
Maruqeed shows great promise, at least in my opinion. As always, however, I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. Have you tried out Marqueed? Do you use an alternative? Please share any ideas and opinions in the comments below.