Finding the right tool: Whiteboards

The story so far: About 4 weeks ago, I set out to find a proper helper to both depict the thought process that goes into developing a specific site element – in my case, the footer area of a shop.

My findings so far:

Either collaborative whiteboards are not the tools I think they should be, or most of the competition didnt understand what they are, and either just built the basics and then stopped … or overloaded them with anything but the kitchen sink, to turn them into an shiny-looking excuse for not using Trello plus any kind of project managament tool in the first place.

Online whiteboard types:

The different types of white board I found can be roughly sorted into 2, maybe 3 categories:

  1. The online sketching board – primarly built for usage on tablets or touch-enabled devices, to add and enhance presentations or doing simple brainstorming
  2. The task list – essentially just a different visual presentation of the classic “what is to do” list, with enhanced post-it notes, sometimes with extensive project management enhancements; but IRL, a pinboard
  3. The ‘I wish I was a vector editor’ application – in a few cases, the application interface reminded me strongly of function-reduced, downsized vector or presentation editors, like Inkscape or LibreOffice Draw

The online sketching board

Most of these get the essential part of a whiteboard done – which is scribbling down some graphical stuff, taking a few notes, etc. They are built more or less for the usage on tablets, touch-enabled devices and also digitizer tablets, eg. tablets like the iPad (Pro), or convertible devices like the Lenovo / ThinkPad Yoga, Microsoft Surface or Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

A few offer importing your own images, and sometimes also media embedding. Sometimes, there are export options, too. But you just could take a screenshot and be happy ever after. Interfaces vary, from looking rather dated (like mid to late 2000s), up to current “en vogue” flat visual styles.

Selected candidates:

Conclusion: They are what they are – simple up to really decent helpers for online tutoring and enhancing an existing presentation, on specific types of devices.

The task list

– Stormboard
– Miro

The ‘I wish I was a vector editor’ application

– ConceptBoard
– AwwApp

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