One of the toughest things for me as a freelancer is the amount of time I spend managing client feedback. Often there is more than one person that I am speaking to, they have meetings with each other, separately with me, and we often spend a lot of time re-hashing the same feedback and discussions multiple times. If I was the boss of the world, things would be more streamlined, but as it turns out, I'm not, and client feedback and project management can be time consuming and messy.
Have you ever worked at a job (any job) where you feel like you spend more time emailing, explaining and repeating yourself than actually working?
Yep. Me too. As a freelancer, it's up to me to manage my time as best as I can and try to minimise the time spent on admin, so I can spend my valuable hours on designing rather than emailing.
When Concept.vu contacted me to do a review of their new platform, they definitely caught my attention! I signed up and gave it a test run. You can use Concept.vu to share audio, video and images with clients, which is awesome for me, since I do a lot of video work. The interface is really simple and intuitive, there's no fancy menus or complicated systems to figure out. To share your work with a client, you just:
1. drag and drop (or upload) your work
2. add overall comments
3. annotate comments directly on a specific part of the image
4. designate one client as the bossman (i.e. the approval fairy)
5. share with your client(s)
The Concept.vu interface is clean and easy to use.
You can see where the approval process is at a glance.
For the sake of research, I pretended to be my own client (hey, a girl can dream, right?) just to see what the process is like from the client side as well. It's really easy, actually. The client receives an email with a password to access the project (no account setup required!) They just log in, look at your notes and then add their feedback. Again, the client can add annotations to specific spots on the image, or they can add overall comments. Each time a comment is added/amended, you get notified, so you know when the client has done their thing. No more back and forth asking where the approval is at. Once everyone is happy, the designated approval fairy simply clicks the big green "Approve" button and you'll receive an email to let you know it's good to go.
Another great feature of Concept.vu is that you can add multiple versions of the same file to a project. You can address the feedback and upload another image as a new version, keeping all notes and versions in a handy dropdown menu (together) for future reference.
I've been using Concept.vu for a couple of weeks now and I'm loving it. I can see it being a really useful tool to keep projects running smoothly and (hopefully) removing a whole lot of email thread-searching for feedback and client review notes.
If you want to try it out, you can get a free trial for 30 days. After that, there are a variety of options from the Freeloader Plan right up to the Agency Plan for companies with 50 active projects going (phew, glad that's not me!)
Have you ever used a project management system like this? I'd love to hear your experience. If you don't use a project management system, what are your tips for handling client feedback, deadlines and communication?
Concept.vu has provided me with a 6 month plan in order to trial and review their product. As always, all opinions and words are my own (including approval-fairy™) and not influenced in any way.