Creative annotation software has been around for a long time, and dozens of different apps and platforms support it. In fact, not only do they support them, for many annotations is the headline feature!
Annotations allow users, clients or any stakeholder to make direct comments on visual or audio assets.
There are many platforms available (like Invision, Frame.io, RedPen) that are solely aimed at annotation features, usually just around one or two different asset types (images / PDF’s or video). They combine these annotations with comments to provide feedback on your work or project.
Annotations are great, they just don’t tell the whole story.
Why is this so? On the majority of platforms that offer annotations as a feature, a person would upload the file or image they want to get feedback on, then a group of people would annotate and give comments. You might be thinking what’s wrong with that? This process seems to be structured to deliver insights, but it really isn’t.
When someone who is giving the feedback begins, they have to start by annotating or giving comments with no real direction. This leads to people giving feedback on things that might not be relevant because they do not have enough context. This might be context around the project, campaign, or relevant information around what feedback you are looking for. Even worse, you could receive comments or annotations that say… ‘move this here… change this color… I think this could be better’. Not always the most helpful information.
For the person going through more than 10 people’s arrows, doodles and circles that look like a 3 year old drew them, reviewing these annotations from multiple people as the only method of feedback is time consuming and takes more effort than it should to get a high level overview of what is or is not working.
By design, annotation and commenting software are created in such a way that encourages feedback to be ‘short and sweet’. In some cases this is enough, but when you want to get serious about making your work better and getting proper, actionable, helpful, in-depth, constructive feedback they become more of a distraction.
With BigTeam we created the platform in a way to encourage actionable feedback, where annotations and comments are ‘side notes’, supplementary to the main questions asked to gather feedback. Annotations are great, they just need a little help to make them useful.