Collaborate and Feedback on Designs with CAGE

It’s a reality that those who are web designers need to work together with a client in order to generate a successful design. We have to discuss with a client what they’d like changed, and then change it (although, we should always write it into our contract to avoid any frustration when you get a client from hell).

CAGE is an awesome collaboration tool that allows you to manage projects and share images (whether they be a screenshot of a web page, or just an image of something else) of your work (i’ll be looking mainly at using this tool for web design today, but the tools are available for whatever type of image you upload). Your team and/or your clients can login too and add comments to highlighted areas, furthering the collaboration abilities of your design team.

Projects

CAGE is organised into projects. These projects can be for anything – web design, graphic design, even just something simple like a document – and each can have multiple images. For example, multiple pages of a web design, or multiple versions of a logo. One can then reorder these in any manner they want.

If you want to simply swap to another project, that’s as simple as clicking on the project chooser at the top of the selection page.

Select a page in a project in CAGE.

To upload an image, there’s a friendly “Upload” button in the top-right that allows you to select an image file and upload it. You can also set a name to help distinguish the images, or revisions of the images. Additionally, there’s sharing features with a public link (and optional password protection), although we’ll get onto that a bit later.

Tagging and Collaborating

Of course, CAGE is not an image hosting service. Instead, it houses simple, yet useful, tools for tagging parts of an image and starting a discussion on it’s contents. When you launch an image, a precision cursor appears allowing you to immediately select a specific area of the image to commence discussion on. It’s super simple!

As soon as you draw over something on the page, you are prompted to annotate it with a note. Once you’ve kicked off the discussion, another user (or yourself) an add further details to it.

Of course, this is all done by sharing the project itself. To do so, one only has to click the iOS-style sharing button at the top-left and copy out the public link to send in an email, share on a social network or post on a internal corporate intranet or similar (as I did). By closing down an image and returning to the selector screen, it’s also possible to toggle on a custom password to keep prying eyes from checking out your latest design. Alternatively, you can universally turn off notes and conversations for that project. In the settings modal, these options can be changed to a different default state if you don’t necessarily want to modify the options for each project.

To test it out, I dropped a link to a screenshot of Web.AppStorm in our internal chat and enlisted my editor, Matthew Guay, and fellow writer and CodeCanyon reviewer, Philo Hermans to share their comments on the latest design. The communication was seamless and comments were just added to the individual overlays. The option to respond remains, allowing me to continue the conversation right within CAGE.

Each discussion is associated with a particular area or elements, meaning that you don’t have to waste time searching through your email looking for mentions of that area. Instead, everything you want is just there, at the hover of a cursor.

Collaborating on the navigation menu of this very site.

Revisions and Sets

Revisions and Sets are two features apparently coming soon to CAGE. Of course, we don’t know exactly that these features will consist of and how they’ll integrate, but the idea of better managed revisions seems promising. Being able to have an archive of past revisions will be especially useful when looking back on your progress.

Presumably, the revisions feature will allow you to upload a new version of the product in question, with a fresh canvas for further collaboration. I don’t know if this will be an actual feature, but being able to toggle on the previous tags to a new revision would be awesome, just to check what type of progress has been made on the feedback given.

Revisions and Sets are apparently coming in the next major update.

Other Points of Interest

CAGE has a small modal settings window that drops in, allowing you to modify some of your default states (such as choosing whether comments or password protection should be enabled by default. Otherwise, you can invite members of your team by email in the team panel with no limits, so they receive a formal invitation to come and offer their feedback.

One can also upload a profile image to help to easily distinguish comments added to the tags on the images.

Adding members to your CAGE collaboration team.

Design and Interface

From a design perspective, CAGE is one of those nice-looking apps. It features many trends of the current web design landscape like noisy backgrounds, so it looks pretty nice. Like the functionality of the site, the interface is pleasingly simple with few options to modify.

The UI of CAGE.

Conclusion

CAGE is a very useful application that has a lot of potential. The only hindrance I see is that, for the moment, only image files can be uploaded. Imagine the possibilities if you could actually run a live website in a frame in the app? Other than that, I still think there’s a lot of space to grow CAGE into bigger things, such as including features like live chat or even screen sharing to help collaborate while you actually edit. That would, though, detract from the beautiful simplicity of the application.

CAGE is very useful, and, perhaps more importantly, is free with an unlimited amount of people able to join your team. Once the revisions feature hits, this is going to just become even better than it already is.

What do you think of CAGE? Have you had a try-out with it yourself? Are there any similar applications that you use for the same purpose? Let us know in the comments!


Summary

CAGE is very useful, and, perhaps more importantly, is free with an unlimited amount of people able to join your team. Once the revisions feature hits, this is going to just become even better than it already is.

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  • http://www.heymonkeydesign.com Lenny Terenzi

    I’ve been playing with CAGE for a LONG time now and it has come quite a long way. There are so many of these services out there now but CAGE just feels effortless to use.

  • Paul J

    I recently started using CAGE a week ago. It’s been nice, and the things it’s been lacking I have been told will be released in an update this week. looking forward to the updated release. And I definitely recommend this app to designers needing to get feedback from clients on concepts.

  • http://jarederickson.com Jared Erickson

    Love Cage :-) was exactly what i was looking for.. didnt over complicate things and it just works

  • http://www.eevince.com Brandon Green

    I’ve been using CAGE since its beginning and throughout each major release it seems to only continue to impress me and my clients. New features are continually added – useable and simple features, making this the BEST Project Collaboration tool out there! If you haven’t signed up for CAGE yet, do it. http://cageapp.com

  • http://cohenspire.com Andrew Cohen

    I’ve been using CAGE to deliver my comps to clients for a long time now. It’s built a lot of great features on without being overly complex and obnoxious. It’s slick and does the trick, sign up and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Caleb Ogle

    I love CAGE. Been using it for a few months now and have added it to my workflow at our agency. Clients love using it, designers love using it…everyone wins. The team is pretty great about updates/fixes and answering support questions. Have had a great experience so far!

  • mikemost

    giving it a test run it appears to be a light adobe acrobat pro. It allows you to create annotations/comments on an image and collaborate on that image via notes.

    I see that obviously it provides a location for imgs to be stored and perhaps additional imgs will be uploaded via a collaboration workflow but other than that am I missing how it would resemble a basic annotation workflow on a PDF?

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