Back in June last year, we took a look at Cage, a design collaboration tool that we awarded a full 10/10. Since then, big changes have been happening resulting in the all new Cage, a beta product and the subject of today’s review.

Cage is a collaboration tool that allows you share images of designs with others and then have them feedback on them. Or, that was the premise of the original Cage. Now, you can manage tasks, use Cage for video projects, have designs approved and more.

The Basics

Once you’ve signed up for your Cage account, you’ll enter the dashboard, a home for all your various projects. To add a new one, you need only hit the blue “Add a New Project” button. A modal window will appear and you’ll need to give the project a name and then choose the project privacy type. You can choose to keep the project limited to just your internal team, or allow clients to get involved too.

During the setup process, you’ll also pick your team members so not everyone need have access to the project. This is nice, although it’s a pretty basic privacy feature that you’d expect an app like this to have.

Then, it’s just a matter of dragging in the relevant files for your project. You can add files in the png, jpg, psd, mov and avi formats.

Setting up a new project in Cage.

When you’ve setup your project and uploaded your deliverables, you’ll get a project dashboard. Here, you can upload additional files and tweak project settings, including inviting in extra team members and/or clients. You’ll also get a project overview, showing you statistics like the number of outstanding tasks.

File Review

When you’ve uploaded a file, it’ll have a place in your project that you can open it in to do things like viewing (naturally), adding feedback and approving.

One of the fundamentals of reviewing files, brought through from the original version, is the ability to highlight specific aspects of the file and flag it up with a note. To do so, you need only drag out a selection over the area of the file in which your issue lies and then associate a note or task with it. If you go ahead and add a task, you’ll be able to assign it to a specific team member and give it a due date.

Adding feedback on a file.

You can also approve files here, which allows you to mark a revision as being okay for production! This will mark them with a comically big “approved” stamp and give them the appropriate flair in your dashboard.

Approving a file, complete with custom popup text.

Tasks

As mentioned previously, tasks can be added to files by creating a selection and then adding a task to it. You can assign it to a particular member of your team, and then set a due date. Pretty fundamental stuff there.

When you hit up the “tasks” link at the top of the Cage app, you’ll be presented with a calendar that hosts the various tasks dependent on when they are due for. If this view is rocking it for you, you can switch over to a task list which shows tasks in a list, organised by the file they are associated with.

Conveniently, you can filter tasks to just, say, the overdue ones if you need a more concentrated list of things to do.

A task, in a list.

Videos

You can use the new Cage with videos too, by uploading them as deliverables in the mov or avi format. Just like images, you can view them, approve them and create notes and tasks from a frame.

It’s nice to have this extra support, meaning Cage can now be a viable tool in the development of video projects too (without needing to take still frames or link to external media).

Final Thoughts

Cage has come a significant way from when we reviewed it last year, even though we gave it a perfect ten-out-of-ten back then. The addition of video support is really great, but I particularly love the integration of tasks which means it can be taken as an all-in-one project management solution.

The original project we used during the review of Cage back last year, now in the current version of Cage.

The UI got an update too, which is pretty nice although nothing revolutionary over the quality of it’s previous iteration. It’s certainly gained a fair bit of attention too, with the app’s homepage noting companies including Facebook, Pixar, Ralph Lauren and Virgin Media have been using the service, which is still provided for free.

Cage is even better than the critically-perfect version we reviewed last year, and is still worthy of a look, with no reason not to since it’s completely free, with an unlimited number of people able to join your team. If you tried out the all new Cage, be sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


Summary

The new version of Cage brings a number of new features to the app that we awarded 10/10 last year.

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  • http://twitter.com/sulcalibur Suleiman Leadbitter

    It seems almost ideal. If only it incorporated a standard to do list and milestones similar to Basecamp then it would be the one stop solution. However at the moment a task can only be added it seems once a file has been uploaded. Some tasks haven’t got a file yet, those tasks may even be ‘make that file’.

  • Riyaz

    Cage isn’t free?

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