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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!