Making the most out of these fantastic feedback powerhouses
Giving feedback on webpages can be a cumbersome process, even more so when it comes to larger teams with differing inputs. Every piece of feedback (and there is always lots of it) results in one more email chain, spreadsheet, meeting and phone call for you to follow up on and keep track of. That’s where a website annotation tool comes in handy.
To help us all with this pesky problem, website annotation tools have become a saviour for many of us. By allowing anyone to give feedback on web projects in team-friendly ways, it’s hard to imagine the world before them.
We sat down with our wonderful in-house developers Richard and James to get more insight into how these tools work, and how to get the most out of them going forward.
INSIGHTS INTO THE WORLD OF WEBSITE ANNOTATION TOOLS
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
‘So, what exactly is an annotation website tool ?‘
Website annotation tools, like BugHerd, are the easiest way to give feedback on your web projects.
Simply point & click on any part of a webpage to attach a comment, just like when you comment on a Word document. Once you make a comment, your entire team is also able to see it whenever they visit the website.
The collaborative aspect of annotation tools is a huge part of what makes them so invaluable for teams of any size. In the past we used to communicate through spreadsheets and emails, but nowadays all the information we need is right there on-site.
It really makes a world of difference.
An annotation tool helps you to attach pieces of information to specific elements of your website, in-situ.
So whenever you have a comment about a certain element on a website, you can easily place the feedback right on it. The best part? You can tag the team mate who is responsible for the change needed.
Our team has been using BugHerd’s annotation functionality for a long time. It has always been extremely handy to know exactly what I need to do, where I need to do it, and who needs to make the change.
SETTING UP ANNOTATION TOOLS:
‘How does it work on a person’s website? Is there a lot involved in the set up process?‘
Every time you visit the site, the BugHerd sidebar will appear (Note: the sidebar only appears for people you add to the project.).
From there, as part of the signup process BugHerd walks you through how to install the browser extension and setup your first project. In BugHerd, each website you want feedback on is set up as a project.
That’s all there is to it. You’re ready to start annotating feedback on your website.
It’s as easy as installing a browser extension.
But there’s also the option to add a snippet of code to your website, so users don’t have to install anything if they’d prefer not to.
One of the best things about modern annotation website tools, is that they’re not only easy to set up but quick to do so as well. You and your team can get started the day you sign up, instead of waiting for a specialised install for each individual machine to be done.
FIGURING OUT THE WHAT:
‘What can I use annotations on my website for?‘
Annotation tools like BugHerd are great for gathering feedback from anyone involved with getting your website out into the world.
Commonly this will include:
- Members of your team like marketers, designers, developers and QA engineers.
- The clients you’re building the website for who want to pitch their ideas on page content, page designs and more. Annotation tools save long back and forth email chains from ever being a problem for you.
- Others within your business who need to have input on the website such as Senior leadership, Legal, Customer Service and more. The transparency these tools bring plays a big part in keeping everyone on the same page.
Overall, annotation tools are built for anyone who works with websites. Their simple to use nature means they’re perfect for everyone to pick up and play with.
Annotations are great for information that needs context
BugHerd is most often used to surface UI bugs, UI improvements, spelling & typographical errors and messaging concerns. It’s these kinds of feedback opportunities that make the most out of being on-page.
But really, it’s all about getting the information your team needs to them in the most efficient and helpful manner.
By giving your team every piece of information they need, as well as point out where it’s happened, you’ll help them get the job done faster. That’s the beauty of it.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
‘What makes for a great annotation tool? Are there any stand out features that you think all tools should have?‘
Great annotation tools are easy for people to use, especially non-technical folks.
They also automatically capture all the important metadata information like a screenshot, browser details, OS, CSS selector information, screen size and more.
The value comes from attaching each individual piece of information to every single piece of feedback so the issue is easy to understand and resolve. All without you having to do anything extra.
Designers love knowing all the visual information you don’t think of, and developers love that they don’t have to ask about the gritty details whenever they get feedback.
A fantastic annotation tool needs to be unobtrusive but very streamlined.
Basic features like screenshots, member assignments, comments, due dates are all required at a minimum. All without jumping out at your face about it.
The best website annotation tools create these little ‘micro-moments’ where they have exactly what you need, right when you need it, without even realising it could have been missing.
It’s the experience of seamless utility that makes for a great website annotation tool.
‘What sets BugHerd apart from other annotation tools?‘
BugHerd sets itself apart in a number of ways.
- BugHerd is by far the easiest to use annotation tool available. Every step from installation to task management is made effortless for any team size.
- It captures all the information you need automatically, without having to do anything you wouldn’t do naturally.
- Most importantly it’s the only annotation tool available that also offers a fully featured task board to triage & manage your entire team’s feedback all in one place.
No more emails, spreadsheets, and screenshots to collate and organise. Feedback never goes missing when you use BugHerd.
BugHerd is not only great for reporting issues, it’s great for actioning items too.
Your entire team can easily use BugHerd’s kanban board – ensuring your projects are reviewed, worked on and polished for the final delivery. Each step of the production cycle is documented automatically.
Even better is that you can assign levels of importance to each task, give a team mate the responsibility to solve it, and leave comments on cards (both public or private) to give each card more utility.
It makes actioning a change effortless from identification to delivery.
‘Any closing thoughts or tips for those looking for a new annotation tool?‘
Annotation tools are about more than just giving feedback.
When it comes to finding the next annotation tool for your team, think about the following:
- Is this tool easy to get started using for both yourself and the team?
- Will my team be able to start using it quickly too?
- Does it give everyone all the information they need, as I provide it?
- Where does my feedback go once it’s been made? Can I manage it with my team easily?
Each point is important to feedback, because each time you answer yes to one of the above questions you have removed a roadblock that usually gets in the way of making the best website possible.
For example, you might find a tool with a slick interface that gives your team a wealth of information. But without a place to manage the feedback automatically as it comes through, it becomes tough to keep track of everything as it happens.
Give it a shot first.
It’s hard to know when an annotation website tool is right for you and your team without first giving it a shot. I think there’s a lot I could say here about what makes our annotation tool so fantastic, but without giving it a go yourself it’s hard to prove.
One big reason I love what BugHerd does, is that we are confident in what we offer. We literally offer everyone 14 days to try out the tool, without having to prove their credit card details. That’s how well it speaks for itself.
Even if you decide the tool isn’t right for you, I’d say stick with those confident enough to let you try before you buy.
In the world of annotation tools, there are a wide variety of options you can choose from. It can be hard to recognise which tool has everything you and your team needs to better manage your web projects.
BugHerd is an annotation website tool that provides you with a powerful & easy to use extension, that solves more than just feedback. Point, click & annotate feedback directly on websites to make comments (rather than messy spreadsheets), manage feedback with the kanban board, and much more.
You can try it for yourself, by signing up here.
It can be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll never want to go back to the way things were!
Thank you for reading this article! If you enjoyed this conversation about annotation tools and what makes them great, we’d love to hear from you over on our Twitter! Look forward to seeing you there.