The ultimate guide
to website feedback tools

Ten plus years ago web feedback tools didn't exist. Developers and designers relied on traditional bug tracking software like Jira, spreadsheets, documents or some combination of all three to try and report, track and manage feedback and bugs on websites. What a hot mess! 

Times have changed for the better. Today there are a variety of feedback tools to assist teams designing, building and testing websites. From design collaboration tools like Figma to website widgets like HotJar to fully featured feedback tools like PageProofer, there's a feedback solution for any website need.

What every feedback tool is trying to do is simplify the feedback process and shorten the feedback loop from reporting to resolution. In a world of rapid prototyping, continuous deployments and instant notifications website designers and developers need tools that can simplify their jobs. Follow along as we look into why teams need a good visual feedback tool and what to look for when picking the right one.

“The alternative is email hell or having really shoddy communication. I can trace just about every client problem I've ever had down to poor communication, and any tools or processes in place to counter that are a win in my book.”
quote from Brennan Brennan @ Right Message

Why does your web team need a website feedback tool?

The feedback challenge developers, designers, project managers and clients face can be broken into three critical factors: collection, context, and collaboration. 

First, how to collect all the feedback into a single place. Without a robust solution you start to get feedback in email, spreadsheets, docs, PDFS, project management tasks. Not having all that feedback scattered around multiple channels but rather consolidated in a single place is a huge win. 

Once you can funnel the feedback into a single channel the next critical factor is context. Browser type, operating system, screen size, URL, screenshot, the element in question, if the feedback contains more details then better decisions can be made on how to deal with it. The more context and detail that can be automatically added to feedback without the reporter having to think about it (and enter it) is a tremendous benefit. 

Finally, collaboration and management. Designing, building, testing and reviewing a website is team activity. There will be many parties involved that each have a stake in the final outcome. The feedback needs to be easily managed, quickly assigned and simple to collaborate on. As feedback is passed back and forth between team mates, clients and other stake holders you need to ensure the handoffs are seamless.

“PageProofer is a fantastic tool for our development toolbox. It eliminates the need for multiple spreadsheets and pdfs to track change requests, and gives us and our clients one simplified point for feedback creation, tracking, and sign-off.”
quote from Joe grassia Joe @ Atomic Mouse

What to look for in a website feedback tool?

The primary features that you should consider when evaluating the various options:

  1. Ease of use - It has to be simple for teams and users to embrace it and use it. A complicated system might have great features but if no one uses it the features are useless.
  2. Browser/device support - It needs to work the same, everywhere. Modern websites need to work across multiple devices and support multiple browsers. Your feedback tool needs to meet those same standards.
  3. Integrations - Many teams like the ability to route feedback into other systems for additional tracking and project management purposes. Some solutions are able to add integrations for you if they don't already exist.
  4. Screenshots - For weird bugs and layout issues adding a quick and accurate screenshot is worth a million words. The better solutions offer annotating so you can even draw on the screenshots for an additional layer of information.
  5. Management - Is it easy to manage all the feedback and tasks once the information is coming in. Delegating and tracking fifty or more tasks can turn into a nightmare with the wrong solution. Any good tool needs to make the management aspect effortless. 
“Certainly the best existing tool to get quick feedback on sites under development. I have been using PageProofer for 4 months now and we have saved a considerable amount of time in processing customer requests. This tool is functional, simple and fun for customers.”
quote from Lacroix guillaume Lacroix Guillaume @ Newp

What types of website feedback tools are available?

Visual feedback tools can be broken down into three main categories, each with their own unique set of pro's and con's:

  1. Onsite tools - Visual feedback tools like PageProofer and Bugherd use a small javascript snippet that gets added directly into your website. The tool runs like an overlay that can open "over" your website. Feedback on your website can be restricted to only a group of authenticated users or wide open to any site visitor. Some options, like PageProofer, allow you to see all the feedback in a central project board and on the website pages where they originated.

    The benefit of this solution is you only need to add the snippet once to your website and it works for everyone, in any browser, on any device. Some tools do a better job of supporting mobile devices and smaller screen sizes. 

  2. External tools - Tools in this group run on their own website (separate from your website domain) and they load your website into their system. Typically a frame is shown around your website and their feedback and collaboration options are layered over that frame (essentially the reverse of Onsite tools).  Companies like Atarim and Pastel use this type of solution.

    The hassle with this solution is that your team and clients always need to go to the feedback service website to view your website and leave feedback, you can't do it directly on your website. The other big issue is screen size and device support, you can only test in the predefined screen sizes (normally three) they give you to work in. The final potential issue is security. Since these sites are loading your website into their system, it runs through a proxy which allows them to inject their code and potentially access information your website users don't want shared. 

  3. Browser extensions - There's a third group that uses browser extensions to offer  similar functionality as the first group. Companies like Marker and Not8 offer these types of solution. The drawback is that every person who wants to leave feedback needs to install a browser extension for each browser they review/test. For smaller teams where they only want to test in a single browser this might be an option but for larger teams that need proper cross browser testing, this is not a good solution. It also limits the ability to test and review on mobile devices as those devices don't support browser extensions. 

“Making PageProofer a part of our process has made our project process easier to document and hand off. Projects are more enjoyable to work on, and it has improved our profitability on web projects. A simple tool can make a big difference!”
quote from Mike sallander Mike @ Antenna

What does your team need a website feedback tool for?

The final factor to consider is what are you collecting the feedback for. Are you seeking general feedback from website visitors? Do you need a way to capture and manage bug reports during website QA testing? Does your client team need a tool to simplify and streamline client reviews? 

Most web design/development teams need all three.  Depending on the stage of website design and development they need to capture bugs, handle client reviews or quickly capture website feedback. PageProofer handles all of those scenarios plus more with ease. 

See all the features that can help your team streamline and simply their feedback processes or try the feedback demo by clicking the button in the lower right corner. From needing to get a typo fixed, to reporting a critical website error, PageProofer has your team covered. 

“PageProofer made our QA and feedback process so much easier. It saves us a ton of time, and is very easy to use. Highly recommended.”
quote from Sandra ghaoui Sandra @ Market 8
“I cannot imagine managing all of our project edits without PageProofer”
quote from Sydney cooke Sydney @ GruffyGoat

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