Being a Content Developer, one ongoing issue I battle is content reviews. Reviewers always want to know how I want their comments – written on a hard copy, or commented in Word, should all the comments be written in a single document or separate? To be accommodating to my reviewers I normally tell them whatever is easiest for them., so I end up with 5 – 10 separate documents. I am lucky that typically all my reviewers are located in the same office, and can ask clarifying questions at any time. I realize this is not the optimal scenario, but my current group of reviewers is small, I have worked with them for years so they know my review requirements and I don’t waste too much time resolving comments in the different formats.
ReviewBasics.com has created a web-based content review tool that resolves content review issues. ReviewBasics, currently in beta, allows content to be posted and reviewed online. A variety of formats such as documents, video and images can be uploaded to a workspace, and reviewers are invited to give feedback on the content.
ReviewBasics is an offering from SharpStyle Labs, Inc. From the SharpStyle website:
ReviewBasics is a powerful feedback gathering platform which allows professionals accross (sic) many industries to exchange ideas, gather thoughts, and review various types of creative, interactive, motion, and written content. Easy to use tools allow authors to create secure workspaces, upload draft versions of their work product, and invite reviewers to provide comments and feedback. Once invited, reviewers log onto a secure website and use simple click-and-drag tools to leave comments. The review process is simple, quick, and does not require any software to be installed.
Using ReviewBasics is very straightforward. All you need is a web browser with Adobe Flash installed. To review content the following workflow is used:
- Accesses Author Portal
- Create review space
- Upload content to review space
- Add email address of reviewers (Only reviewers added by email will have access to the workspace)
- Provide instructions for reviewers
- Review and confirm setup of review space
ReviewBasics sends out invite emails to reviewers
- Link in email initiates reviewer feedback process
- Reviewer logs in
- Selects content to review
- Gives feedback and completes review
- Author verifies content reviews
- Feedback from different reviewers can be hidden or displayed
- Comments are resolved
Types of Content
In the demo that I used the following types of content can be reviewed:
- Websites – Collect feedback on website design, navigation and usability.
- Images, Concepts and Photos – Collect and organize feedback on one or many images.
- Documents and Presentations – Create an online secure workspace for gathering feedback on documents.
- Video – Gather granular feedback on multimedia files. Play, pause and comment on any or every frame of the video.
The interface for reviewing content is intuitive to use and is comprised of the following areas:
- Main Canvas area – Displays the content to be reviewed and any feedback that has been added.
- Tools Area – Left hand side – Use tools from this area to provide feedback and comments on the content in the Main Canvas area.
Additional Review Tools – Left hand side / Bottom
- Comments History – Display a chronological history of your comments. Comments can be edited, deleted or hidden from this area.
- Content Pages – Displays thumbnails of the content to be reviewed. Select a specific page to display it in the Main Canvas area.
- Author Instructions – Notes the author has left for the reviewer to set expectations for the review.
- Reviewers Feedback – Area to collect notes the reviewer has concerning the content.
The following screen shot, displays a web site with comments. Notes have also been added to Reviewers Feedback.
The Tool Areas can be minimized, to maximize viewing of the content under review.
For additional screen shots and summary.
The screen shots below are for reviewing images and documents. The interface is the same but when multiple pages are available, they are displayed in the Content Page(s) Tool Area. Click any page in the Content Page(s) and you will jump to that page. A highlight tool is included in the tools for reviewing written content
With multiple pages available, the Reviewers Feedback text box, is specific to a page of the content.
The two screen shots from the Document Review interface illustrate the difference of the Tool Area being minimized or being displayed.
The next screen shot is for reviewing video. You have the ability to play the video, and then comment on any frame in the video. As you add comments, the frame is displayed in Content Page(s), as well as noted on the video timeline. You have the ability to move forward / backward 1 or 5 seconds to be able to pick a specific frame to comment.
Keeping in mind ReviewBasics is in Beta, I will note the only issues I encountered while using the program.
My desktop, running Microsoft Vista, locked twice while using the review tool. Once before my system locked, I checked the task manager and noticed IE was using over 500 MB. The program typically seemed to run in the 100 – 150 MB range.
Note: I did not encounter any problems running ReviewBasics on my Windows XP laptop. I did not work as much in the program on my laptop as on my desktop.
It took me a while to figure out that you could Edit Element Properties. This needs to be more clearly addressed in help. You can change the opacity of the shapes, or the direction or width of the arrows. You can edit element properties for each type of review object. I also think you should be able to change the opacity of the highlights in written text.
I found the interface intuitive and easy to use. I was able to start reviewing content after a very quick tutorial. Help is easy to access.
I like that you can minimize the Tool Areas, to maximize the content displayed in the Main Canvas area.
A reviewer can leave feedback using multiple methods, and the content developer can select which feedback should be displayed.
I am a huge fan of applications and tools that are easy to use and have good features and functionality. Having the ability to easily collaborate online is a definite bonus. Being a Content Developer, reviews are an ongoing issue that I have to deal with, and I think that ReviewBasics is an application that streamlines the review process and makes it easier to manage.
If you do any type of content development that requires reviews, ReviewBasics is worth reviewing.