Ever had a project you wanted to collaborate on with people on the other side of the country, or even the world? There are a few decent free programs out there to do this but CanvasDropr offers a whole new, visual method to do it that, while currently in Beta, is already shaping up to be one of the best.
CanvasDropr is an online collaboration tool (or perhaps better called a system) that works on a fairly simple concept of sharing a virtual space or ‘canvas’ among a group of people that can all view and edit it in real time. Each person needs to sign up for their account and create a log in, once they’ve done so they will have access to the project’s space and see everything that happens on it.
The canvas itself is, at first, a blank space on a web page, but you and the other members of your group can drag and drop items from the menu on the left side onto the canvas and edit or view them in any way you choose. CanvasDropr is full of options for manipulating and tracking those changes, as well, including a zoom feature that basically makes the canvas space infinite in potential size, a tracking list to show who did what to the canvas space at what time and date, as well as a nifty option to get desktop notifications when someone makes a change to the canvas while you’re not viewing it.
Items that can be dragged or created on the canvas include such varied things as basic text lines or boxes, to more complex captions for individual items, YouTube (or other source) video blocks, hand drawn figures or symbols using the simple brush drawing interface, images from a number of different sources, and even files and content directly from your own system. As if those weren’t enough, CanvasDropr also offers options to add content lists from nearly any other source on the web you can think of, as simply as pointing to a URL.
Each content item appears on the left side menu and can then be drag and dropped onto the canvas space where ever you choose. Once placed onto the canvas space, each item can be edited by anyone else in the project group whenever they need to do so, and those changes are also tracked so you can reference the person who did the editing for further clarification. Additionally, there is, of course a basic chat interface at the bottom of the canvas space so you can explain what you are doing as you are doing it, and get explanations in the same manner. When the project has been ‘completed’ it can be played as a presentation on your computer and actually synchronized between all members of the group so you’re all seeing the exact same thing at the exact same time. All of this, and CanvasDropr is even compatible with DropBox now!
CanvasDropr is one of the best ways of collaborating online with others that I have seen, whether your project is for business, pleasure or something in between. It has powerful options that are simple to use, costs nothing, and puts out a polished and easy to distribute finished product that will (hopefully) show the results of your hard work in the best possible light. It even has a useful, albeit brief, tour/tutorial mode that gets your project jump started in mere moments. Personally, I can’t wait to see the finished result when they get out of Beta phase. Until next time, my friends.