The internet continues to amaze me all the time, and that is one of the reasons why I love it so much. What really gets me passionate about consistently using the web is the ability to do things in a virtual world that before wasn’t possible. Take for example the topic of collaboration. In years past, you wouldn’t dream of being able to have a company or business where the people who work at it are all in different states or countries.
A perfect example of this is Web.Appstorm, where although I have been writing for them for almost a year now, I have never met my editor or the other writers face to face. Yet, we are able to work together and produce quality content for all of you to read.
So where am I going with this? Well, the internet has given us the opportunity to have no boundaries when it comes to getting work done together. One web app to help with this, called Dispatch, has given us the ability to collaborate on documents and other things regardless of whether we work in the same building or miles a part, and all we need is an internet connection.
Creating a Dispatch
The main goal of Dispatch is to give you the ability to collaborate on documents and other files with people. There are other web apps that do this, but what makes it stand out is the fact that it lets you connect to a variety of different cloud services, mainly Dropbox, Google Docs and Contacts, Box, and Evernote. The reason why you want to connect to these services is that you can now take files from them and be able to upload them to Dispatch to collaborate on.
When you are ready to create your first Dispatch, you give it a title and then you can upload any document from the cloud services mentioned above or you can choose to get a file from your computer as well. Other than uploading documents, you can also put a link up or you can write a note to the people you are collaborating with.
Speaking of collaborating, Dispatch is all about working with others, and you can invite people by putting in their email address, or if you have synced your Google Contacts, you can just type in their name. Once you are done inviting people, they will then get an email to join you. What I didn’t like was the fact that if team members that you invite want to be able to be a part of a Dispatch, they had to go through the process of signing up. I understand that there may not be a way around this, but it would be nice if they could figure out a way so that people can interact without actually joining, or at least give them the option.
When you are collaborating, you can view the document in Dispatch, download it, or view it in the service that it was uploaded from. From there, you can also add comments and have a dialogue with the people you invited. A part of me felt like I wanted more features when it came to collaboration, but I couldn’t necessarily point my finger on what I wanted.
As I was using Dispatch, I honestly felt torn about the quality and usage of it. On the one hand, I could see the potential for it because I definitely could see me using this in my every day life as a teacher and I could also see using this in other areas of my life as well. For the collaboration features, although I felt like it needed more, I definitely could appreciate the simple nature of it and liked that it didn’t overwhelm you with features that you weren’t going to use.
All that to say, with the amount of features that they provided, I wish some of them worked a little better. The one thing that really bothered me was the fact that no matter what document I viewed in Dispatch, there were funky lines running through it. I am not sure why that was, but it was a little annoying. Also, I liked the idea of being able to view a file from the cloud service that it came from, but when I would click on that option, I wouldn’t necessarily be taken to the document.
As a collaboration tool, I really liked the overall concept of Dispatch and what it could do. What it has going for them is the fact that I can connect to a variety of services to get documents from and pull into the app. This gives the user a lot more flexibility and ability to use Dispatch from just about any computer with an internet connection.
I think if they are able to resolve some of the issues I talked about above, I can see it being the “go to” app for collaboration. I know the developers are actively improving the app, and I look forward to what is in store for the future. Dispatch is free to use and I am unsure if they will ever charge for it or not. So, if you are looking for a way to collaborate with others on a project, don’t let distance stop you, try out Dispatch and let the internet work to your advantage.