There's a task that's universal in the vast majority of office work environments: reviewing documents, especially with a group. We do this all the time in marketing — with agencies, in team meetings, and when presenting mockups, brochures, and web pages to executives. In most cases, the process is woefully inefficient.
Here's how most teams do it:
- Use comments in documents using desktop software, then email them around. This can get messy if it involves multiple reviewers. Additionally, your comments may not always be self-explanatory, so they can be confusing. Another problem is that (with the exception of PDFs — but only if you are using Acrobat Pro), your comments are limited to text. When the reviewer or the document is more visual, they may have to resort to method #3, below.
- Use screen-sharing tools to annotate a document during a group meeting. In theory, this is a great method for group reviews. Some applications even let multiple people mark up the onscreen document simultaneously. The problem comes in after the meeting is over. Once your team logs off, your annotations are lost (and often, so are the decisions and points made in the context of the meeting). Also, you're out of luck if an important reviewer can't attend the meeting.
Mark up and circulate paper documents (gasp). Besides the fact that this is not very eco-friendly, it's almost impossible to accomplish in a group. It also involves deciphering reviewers' chicken scratch (trust me, you don't want to decode mine). When you have multiple reviewers, this borders on insane. Either you have multiple versions circulating, or you have multiple comments scribbled all over one version of your document. I've also seen this done where the reviewer marks up a paper document (usually a PDF), scans the document into the computer, presents it via screen sharing, and then emails the scanned document to the author (a web agency, for example). Barbaric. I thank the powers that be that this method is going the way of the t. Rex.
Enter Prysm's annotation method (cue applause). Finally, there's a way to review documents with a group in a civilized way and preserve the record of your labor.
Here's how it works: Upload your documents to a workspace. Pull them up during a meeting and annotate them onscreen. Use different pen colors and widths to differentiate types of annotations or for multiple participants. The annotations are saved along with the document. You can give others permission to access your annotated document (and add their own annotations) asynchronously or in real-time. Alternatively, you can take a snapshot of your annotations and email them directly from the
That's it. Done. Finito. Don't you just love the future?
Prysm's annotation feature has other uses, as well. For example, it's akin to (and often better than) using a pointer during a presentation to emphasize areas of the screen. However, unlike a pointer, you can save and/or snapshot and share the areas you've highlighted.
Once you've gotten accustomed to Prysm annotations, you may find that you have a difficult time going back to the old-school methods. This is definitely the case at Prysm. We are spoiled by this cool technology!
If you'd like to try out