Online Collaboration Tools for Remote Teams

Top 6 collaboration software tools used by successful virtual teams

Effective collaboration in remote teams requires rethinking the processes and interaction between team members. Traditional in-person work together activities such as brainstorming sessions and meetings using whiteboards, sticky notes, are not available. This is where online software tools come in – they make it easier and faster for everyone on the team to collaborate from their own locations.

We followed case studies of tech giants like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and Deliveroo. No matter, if you are running a small distributed team or a global company, here is a curated list of essential team collaboration software tools you’d need to work efficiently.

Invision

Website: https://www.invisionapp.com/

Tagline: Design better. Faster. Together

Description: Invision is one of the best design collaboration tools used by thousands of teams around the world. It is a design platform with built-in tools and features that allow teams to create high-fidelity web and mobile prototypes and collaborate on them in real-time. For example, InvisionCloud helps to keep the entire product design workflow connected. InvisionStudio is a powerful screen design tool that allows to design, prototype and create animations, all in one place. InvisionFreehand allows teams to quickly create, discuss, and save notes on design.  InvisionBoards simplify the management and presentation of design assets, provide a flexible space to share files, and collaborate with team members throughout the entire design process.

Used by: Airbnb, Amazon, Netflix, Lyft, Eventbrite, WeWork, Uber, Grabhub.

Testimonial: “InVision is one of my favorite products. The experience is flawless, little details are executed beautifully, and it keeps our remote team in sync throughout the design process.” Nick Francis, Co-Founder and CEO, Help Scout.

“InVision allows you to collaborate, experiment, and test much more effectively and efficiently.” Andy Law, Director of Design, Netflix.

Price: Invision has a Starter Plans that allows creating only 3 prototypes for just $15 per month. Professional Plan allows creating an unlimited number of prototypes for one user for $25 per month. There is also a Team Plan that allows creating an unlimited number of prototypes for teams of up to 5 people for $99 per month.

Pros: Powerful, allows seamless collaboration for design teams. Invision offers a number of integrations with software tools like Jira, Confluence, Trello, Slack, Sketch, Photoshop, and Dropbox Paper.

Cons: Not reported yet.

Mural

Website: https://mural.co/

Tagline: ‘Think and collaborate visually. Anywhere, anytime.’

Description: Mural is a creative tool aimed to solve a collaboration issue when working in a distributed team. It allows team members to brainstorm remotely, gather and organise ideas into digital boards, create content maps and visualising ideas and workflows.

Used by: IDEO, IBM, Intuit, and more.

Testimonial: “Mural is my favorite online whiteboard. It works the best for online collaboration with the team, remote brainstorms and visual analysis of anything you need. I use it all the time together with the team for mapping customer experience, analyzing user studies, visualizing funnels, discussing personas and more.” Anna Iurchenko, UX Designer, Stanfy.

Price: The Starter Plan for small teams is $12 per membership per month. Larger teams can choose a Plus Plan for $20 per membership per month.

Pros: Blank canvas allow visualizing ideas; a handy voting feature helps to streamline decision making within the team.

Cons: Not reported yet.

Teamviewer

Website: https://www.teamviewer.com/

Tagline: ‘Improve team collaboration between colleagues anywhere in the world, with seamless communication and remote device control functionality.’

Description: Teamviewer is a cloud-based software tool that allows team members to collaborate in real time across the globe. TeamViewer is not only a remote access tool; it also allows remote teams to create and record demos, give interactive training, hold video conferences, collaborate with whiteboards, communicate via text chat and more.

Used by: Philips, LUSH, Microsoft, Ford, Avaya, T-mobile.

Testimonial: ‘It’s cost efficient because you don’t have to travel back and forth, it’s time-saving because you have immediate access to the display, and it’s high performance because you can change everything.’ Franck Racapé, EMEA Sales Director, Philips.

Price: A single-user license is $15 per month. The multi-user license is $25 per month. The corporate license is $50 per month.

Pros: Very easy way to use; secure connection between computers, fast file transfer between computers.Available across various platforms and operating systems, such as Windows 10, macOS, iOS, Android 7, and Chrome OS.

Cons: High pricing for small and medium-sized companies.

Conceptboard

Website: https://conceptboard.com/

Tagline: ‘Visual online collaboration for creative and remote teams — getting projects from initial idea to final approval.’

Description: Conceptboard is a visual collaborative software tool for virtual teams. It provides a virtual whiteboard where team members can easily visualize ideas and create drafts.  Conceptboard also allows files upload, and video and text chat to keep everyone in the same room.

Used by: Adobe, T-mobile, Ogilvy, 99Designs, Gold Rush, White Image, and many more.

Testimonial:Conceptboard makes us much faster since we need way less on-site visits. It’s a fantastic tool for anyone that has to present and discuss topics over big distances.” Ralf Schindler, Mission:Media.

Price: The Simple plan for small teams is free. Business plan for teams in small to medium-sized organizations is $28,50 per month for first 3 users and $9,50  per month for every additional user.

Pros: Flexible and easy to use.

Cons: Not reported yet.

Dropbox Paper

Website: https://www.dropbox.com/paper

Tagline: ‘Team content collaboration. Easily collaborate, edit, and share content with team members.’

Description: Paper is a collaborative workspace for remote teams that allow working with different types of content in one place. It allows embedding rich content like video, sound, photos, charts, tables, and others. Paper provides a variety of ways for team members to work effectively in real time, to assign tasks, write comments, and more.

Used by: Adidas, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Invision, Deliveroo, Doist.

Testimonial: “In Dropbox Paper I’m able to keep entire documentation of my project in only one page. With Paper you can quickly create smooth navigation, and such features as creating checklist, lists, tables, inserting pictures and other types of files are integrated well and works great together. They fully satisfy my needs when creating different types of docs like from project documentation to articles.” Vasyl Slobodian, Designer at Basetemplates.

Price: Free.

Pros: Clear design, easy onboarding, and real-time commenting. Available on web, iOS and Android.

Cons: Not reported yet.

Cloudapp

Website: https://www.getcloudapp.com/

Tagline: ‘Work at the speed of sight’.

Description: CloudApp is an online collaboration app that allows capturing, record, annotate, and instantly share screenshots and videos. CloudApp’s screen capture feature allows teams to visually communicate ideas, share feedback, and collaborate with colleagues. It also allows to upload large files of any type and turn them into easy-to-share links with optional password protection and expiration dates, and Visual Search feature allows to easily browse all content.

Cloud App provides integration with many popular software tools such as Sketch, Slack, Asana, WordPress, Google Docs, Trello, Quip, Zendesk, Github, Medium, and more.

Used by: Uber, Facebook, Adobe.

Testimonial: ‘‘CloudApp saves me a lot of time. I use it almost every day to share design ideas, annotate visual bugs, capture GIFs or videos, and show quick workflows and animations. Sometimes I’ll share wallpaper designs with the design community. CloudApp lets me see click statistics, which is quite useful to know which designs are most popular.” Alex Muench, Designer at Doist.

Price: The pro plan for individual users is $10 per month. A Team plan is $9 per user per month. A Business plan, which provides advanced security and features for larger teams, is $18 per user per month.

Pros: Visual Search feature, fast screen recording. Available for MacOs, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and Chrome.

Cons: Not reported yet.

Case Studies

Invision and Zapier

Zapier is a web-based service that allows users to integrate the web applications they use.

Zapier is a completely remote company with 135+ teammates over 15 different countries. The team uses both synchronous and asynchronous methods of communication to collaborate and get feedback on their work. They usually present their work and ideas during the Brand Friday check-ins.

Source: Invision blog

 

According to Julia Elman, Director of Design at Zapier, “The InvisionBoards serve as a way for our remote team to easily collect these trends, add comments on each image for discussion, and refer back to them as we look towards scaling our ever-growing brand presence.”

Mural and Hanno

Hanno is a small product and marketing studio specialising in digital health that helps clients strategise, design, build and launch websites and apps. The company works with many clients from around the world and often with remote teams, that makes it difficult to organize and hold brainstorming or collaboration sessions. To address with the challenge, the company started holding remote workshops – online meetings for a group of participants using digital platforms and tools.

According to Leila von Alvensleben, UX Designer at Hanno, “Synchronous visual collaboration encourages teamwork when collaborating remotely, just as it would if we were all in the same room. We use Mural to explore different themes and make everyone share their visions, both visually and verbally. This ultimately helps us guide the client to define and agree on their brand collectively.”

Dropbox Paper and Design Milk

Design Milk is an online magazine dedicated to modern design, art, architecture, interior design, furniture and decor, fashion and technology.

Design Milk is a distributed team that relies on digital tools to collaborate on projects that have many contributors. To bring together a team of remote designers, project managers, and editors and keep everyone on the same page at every stage of the creative process, the team needed a cloud-based ecosystem with a simple interface and their choice was Dropbox Paper. According to Vy Yang, Associate and Travel Editor at Design Milk, “Dropbox Paper made it easy for us to collaborate remotely and keep the flow of the project moving.”

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Aleksandra Smelianska

Aleksandra Smelianska

I specialize in user research, product and marketing strategy, helping companies understand their customers better and create products that people love. Passionate about building communities and organizing events, from large tech conferences to small meetups.
Contact me: alexandra.smel@gmail.com.

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