DabbleBoard – Sketching Saves Your Time

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dabbleBoard-logoCollaboration is the new way of doing business today.  Many businesses and task groups find themselves not only diversified in talent, but spread across the continent or even the world.  For this reason, tools that help the process, speed up communication, and make for faster coordination across multiple time zones and distances are essential and popular.

DabbleBoard.com is a Web-based app that takes your ideas, lets you sketch them out and share them with colleagues and team members.  From drawing simple A-B-C squares and circles to form a flowchart, game plan, or even an Ed McMahon play chart.

In short, DabbleBoard is a white board for online collaboration.

Aspects of your drawing, such as circles or squares, can be saved into your library for easy drag-and-drop use later.  The software intuitively notes your rough squares or circles and converts those to cleaner ones as well, making your flowcharts a little cleaner and your outlines a little more concise.

All of your work can be saved, shared, etc.  The most useful item is the collaborative option for real-time use.  This is what makes it better than, say, a Power Point or other presentation through WebEx or GoToMeeting.  It allows team members to actively engage in the process, all at the same time.

It’s a little goofy trying to do this at first, since each person can jump in whenever they’d like, but if coordinated with a voice conversation, it does help in many situations.  Especially if you’re working on a complex process involving three or four people representing three or four different schools of thought or disciplines.

In this way, for instance, a project manager could talk to the development lead, the graphics coordinator, and the marketing person at the same time and together build a flowchart and timeline for expected milestones and deliveries.  When the input requires the IT expert to voice his thoughts on how to progress, he can jump in and sketch it out or share a pre-made sketch of his thoughts.  The marketing person can draw lines and conclusions to show how the promotional venues could tie in with betas and pre-releases while the graphics coordinator could combine the development plan with the marketing expectations to show when specific materials will be ready.

This is an excellent tool, though it could definitely use some improvement.  The free-for-all aspect of the changes could easily get out of hand–especially with larger groups.  There’s no way to limit who can or can’t edit a graphic if it’s to be collaborative, so everyone in the meeting has access to make changes.  This also leads to some discrepancies with the change logs, since there is no precedence given to one or another edit during the process: first one delivered gets published first, regardless of who began drawing first.

There is an API for developers to utilize this with other apps.  Compared to Scriblink, DabbleBoard is probably the better option because of its better collaboration options.  So while it could use improvement, it’s a good one to consider if you need this kind of tool.

DabbleBoard is free to try with most options included in the free plan.  For higher-end use, however, a paid plan is definitely needed.  These start at $8/month and go up to the $200/month 100-user plan.  There is special educational and non-profit pricing available.

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Tech Guru

Passionate about the latest Technology. I enjoy traveling and Photography.

4 Comments
  1. zhyder

    September 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Craig, thanks for writing about us! Just a minor clarification, the paid plans allow you to control who can edit the drawings. So -for instance- the project manager could give the reins to the dev lead and then to the graphics coordinator, and so on.

  2. laura wilson

    September 24, 2009 at 9:15 am

    For web conferences you should try http://www.showdocument.com ,
    Great for online teaching and collaborating. I use it for working on my designs with other in my field.
    Its free and pretty simple – you just upload your file and invite others to view it together.
    – Laura W.

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    November 21, 2009 at 1:15 am

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