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Leveraging Online Creative Feedback Tools in Remote Teams

December 21, 2023 | Productivity

Futurists and analysts have long predicted the rise of remote work, and it’s finally here! As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home – a further 28.2% work a hybrid model. That’s fantastic for people’s work-life balance but results in less spontaneous creative conversions. The result is a greater emphasis on online creative feedback.

No longer can you call a team meeting to review a new design. With hundreds (even thousands) of miles between team members, creative teams must juggle the challenges of disparate time zones and cross-communication to deliver a unified creative vision to clients.

How? Well, that’s what we’re exploring in this article. We look at practical strategies for providing creative feedback despite the physical distance. And we’ll touch on the potential opportunities from integrating your feedback tools with other project management and communication platforms. 

Online Creative Feedback is a Major Headache

Let’s be honest: delivering online feedback isn’t the same as doing so in person. There’s no body language, it’s hard to convey nuance, and you might not even know the colleague well. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Creative managers have the unenviable job of coordinating team members’ feedback across multiple time zones, ensuring feedback is concise and constructive, and then tying it all together into a coherent and unified creative vision.

Think of it as being an orchestra conductor – only instead of standing in front of the musicians, they’re organizing the band over their smartphones.

Little wonder that the use of specialized collaboration tools rose by 44% between 2019 and 2021. From real-time messaging tools to collaborative proof software, these new platforms are bridging the divide and helping creative teams provide valuable online creative feedback. 

Practical Strategies for Online Creative Feedback

How do creative teams navigate these challenges? How can they ensure the new online creative feedback tools deliver on their promise to streamline review and evaluation stages? Let’s look at three practical strategies:

1) Consistent Feedback Schedules

Some colleagues reply to emails or provide feedback at a glacial pace. Sure, we’ve all got busy lives and tons of work to complete. However, establishing a regular and predictable schedule for feedback is critical. 

Team leads cannot let designs and proofs languish unevaluated for weeks. Organizing online feedback sessions or setting project milestones and deadlines means everyone is on the same page. Most online feedback tools come with automated reminders. So, you can continue to ping team members that are holding up the schedule.

2) Use Visual Feedback Tools

Ever tried to deliver creative feedback via email? It’s a confusing nightmare. Reading through the comments, you’re never sure what the reviewer refers to. That makes editing and revising a design next to impossible.

Visual feedback tools solve this problem. 

Instead of providing vague, unhelpful online creative feedback, such tools allow reviewers to annotate designs and other creative outputs, pinpointing any problems or relevant edits. Through screenshots, markups, or video annotations, team members can clearly communicate their thoughts and suggestions. 

Moreover, by slashing the time between iterations, designers can upload revised designs to see if they match the original feedback. It’s a more dynamic and responsive design process.

3) Set Clear Guidelines

In-person communication comes with an unwritten handbook of dos and don’ts. Most of us know how to navigate the process without explicit rules. That’s not true for online creative feedback. 

Managers and team leaders should establish clear guidelines to guarantee constructive and effective feedback. The guidelines should outline how to give and receive feedback in a respectful, specific, and helpful manner. 

For example, vague statements about tone should be banned. Feedback should always be specific, providing examples of what’s going wrong and even ideas for how to rectify the issue. We’ve all read a review that says something like, “It’s great. But could it be livelier?”

Such feedback, while well-intentioned, lacks actionable direction. A more constructive response could be, “The color palette could be brighter, particularly in the top half. Maybe go for a more vibrant shade of blue or yellow.”

The difference is night and day.

Integrating Feedback Tools with Other Platforms

There’s something to be said about doing things the old-fashioned way. However, even the most ardent defender of in-person collaboration will admit it can sometimes be cumbersome and time-consuming. Perhaps the greatest advantage of new online creative feedback platforms is their integration with other tools.

Indeed, a major criterion for choosing a creative feedback platform should be its integration with your existing tech stack – namely, communication and project management platforms

Think about it: now you can automate reminders to ping team members via communication platforms; as designs go through each stage, it informs the project management system; and decision-makers can streamline the approval process, reducing delays in sign-offs and helping to maintain timelines.

In particular, integrating your online creative feedback with other platforms will:

  • Boost Productivity: You reduce time-draining communication barriers by fusing feedback tools with your existing tech ecosystem. This integration is a game-changer, propelling teams into a high-efficiency mode. It’s about turning days of emails and meetings into hours of focused, real-time collaboration, drastically speeding up project completion.
  • Spark Creativity: This isn’t just tool integration; it’s a creativity catalyst. The synergy between feedback platforms and your tools transforms the creative process into a rapid-fire exchange of groundbreaking ideas. It’s where instant feedback meets spontaneous brainstorming, sparking a level of innovation and creative excellence that traditional methods can’t match.

Bring Your Remote Team Together With Ashore

Remote work is here to stay. Only through new online creative feedback tools can teams hope to maintain valuable communication and fast delivery times. But this new challenge is also an opportunity. Companies implementing clear guidelines and consistent feedback schedules can boost productivity and spark greater creativity. 

All it takes is a little organization and the right tools. 

Ashore is an online proofing software designed by creatives, for creatives. Our platform streamlines online creative feedback for a variety of projects, including videos, audio recordings, images, PDFs, HTML, and live websites. On every proof, each comment made is attached to a specific location on a page, putting reviewers in a position to point to something directly and talk about it. Ashore also offers markup tools to further clarify feedback, ensuring that everyone understands exactly what is being discussed.

To make sure giving and receiving feedback is always a breeze, Ashore is jam-packed with the features you need. Tools such as version stacking and threaded comments keep you organized, while our built-in Loom integration and side-by-side version comparison ensure that it’s always easy to give accurate, actionable feedback on proofs.

Are you ready to bridge the gap remote work has undoubtedly created for your team? Sign up for Ashore today!

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