The Art of Whiteboarding
Visualize and manage your ideas during virtual meetings with these 4 tools.
Even as people have started returning to work from offices, it seems like online conferences and meetings will not go anywhere anytime soon.
Despite being hailed for convenience, recent studies have found that virtual sessions actually stifle creativity due to many physical and digital communication barriers. Most information is conveyed through speech or text in such meetings, which are prone to misinterpretation. After all, humans perceive visual information better.
That’s why, in offline meetings, participants tend to use the whiteboard technique –visualizing their ideas on paper or whiteboard– to help communicate their ideas effectively. It also encourages collaboration, as other participants can add their own ideas or suggestions to the previous ones. Finally, all these activities are documented on said whiteboard or papers and could be revisited when needed.
So, can whiteboarding be embedded in online sessions?
Virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Team, and Google Meet provide built-in whiteboarding tools. But, depending on your team size and session objectives, those tools could be inadequate. For example, features needed for an online product planning session and a stakeholder meeting would be different, so the host uses two different tools for each.
Whiteboarding tools are indispensable in DKatalis, where we implement a hybrid working arrangement. So, here are some recommendations from us (not in a particular order):
When we talk about online whiteboard platforms, Miro immediately comes to mind. First, it’s available on any device (iOS or Android) and web. Second, it provides prebuilt templates for many use cases, be it for retrospectives, UX design planning, or even creating a wireframe for apps. After choosing the appropriate template, users can add shapes, texts, and “sticky notes” to share their ideas.
Another plus point from Miro is that it’s integrated with a wide range of productivity apps, such as Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, Jira, etc. This platform allows many different teams in a tech company to collaborate.
The downside is that Miro can be too flexible and confusing due to its many features.
At a glance, Stormboard looks simpler than Miro in terms of display. The platform champions a sticky note feature, which expands into a whiteboard when clicked. The platform also has pretty decent built-in task management features to help the whiteboard session run smoothly.
Essentially a big sticky note reserve, Stormboard is ideal for a small to medium-sized team needing collective brainstorming and a simple visual task management tool.
However, due to the simplicity of its features, the platform can be pretty rigid during cross-team collaboration.
Mural is intended for a large group and cross-team collaboration, which provides decent flexible whiteboard features. The platform can house multiple whiteboard areas that you can set as a standard blank board or choose from various prebuilt templates.
Aside from cross-team collaboration projects, Mural also allows “personal” boards with different access levels. For instance, the design team board can only be edited by its members, while other teams can only view it. There are also other supportive features, such as timer, chatbox, and voting session.
However, as the team expands and adds more items on the board, Mural will become painfully slow and sluggish, hindering the session’s flow.
It’s the sole built-in app representative in this list and suitable for teams that embrace simplicity and convenience.
Automatically embedded in Google Meet, there’s no need for users to switch between apps during the meeting. All they need is a few clicks to open a whiteboard.
Apt for a small team session, Google Jam provides basic essential tools such as pen, sticky notes, text, and shapes for participants to align visually on ideas and tasks.
The downside is that it’s only good for the reason above. Google Jam doesn’t adequately support more complicated sessions like retrospective or customer journey discussions.
Are you always on the lookout for tools that make your work more efficient? You’d be a great fit for our team! Join us in making the next life-centric digital solutions!