Coventi PagesLooking for a writeboard on steroids? Coventi is that candidate. Coventi is a writing application for the web that offers a wide variety of the features people have come to know and love. Coventi’s main focus is on group collaboration for writing documents, and it executes this quite well. To begin, you’re able to upload documents from your computer or start with a clean slate. Their main writing area is a WYSIWYG, making it incredibly easy to format and compose your thoughts exactly how you’d like them to be. They have an address book that you’re able to add contacts, and then categorize into groups. Options such as downloading drafts, sharing your pages for collaboration, convenient review options, and target-based commenting through the form of highlighting phrases, makes Coventi a great choice for writers of all sorts.

Coventi Pages: Main Page

Coventi also offers Page Roles, which consists of three ranks. First, there is the owner of a page, who obviously has all privileges and rights within the page. Next there are the authors, who are capable of commenting and revising the actual page document. Last are the reviewers, who can only comment on the document and not change any of the contents of the page. Once you have invited people to collaborate and share on a page you’ll see the “People” tab appears in the interface. The People tab tells you who has and who hasn’t read your page(s). Additionally, you also can view and change the rank of your users in this section. You’ll also notice that when you start sharing your pages, a count of revisions done to that pertaining document will appear. You’re able to compare revisions via drop down menus, making it easy to look back and/or find lost information.

Coventi Pages: ConversationAuthors and Reviewers are able to comments on certain sections of a page by simply highlighting the desired word, phrase, even paragraph and selecting “Create Comment” from the pop-up menu that will appear once something has been highlighted. The user can then type out their comment in the panel to the right of the interface along with a subject. Each comment that is submitted to the page is logged as a separate “conversation” and becomes its own discussion area where other users can reply to comment that was created. When there are multiple users viewing the same document, this feature can prove very handy for narrowing down areas of the page where you might have had difficulty in, and receiving direct, valuable input from your invited group members. You are also able to filter through conversations to quickly find comments that might be currently in discussion. They also separate the conversation by “open” and “closed” to help organize comments that have be discussed already. Even though it is a group oriented applications, I thought it would’ve been nice to have the ability to highlight and comment on your own page, without inviting people.

Coventi Pages: Interface

You are able to download each of your writing pages as a Word document as well as, adversely, upload Word documents to be used in Coventi. They offer Review Options such as setting a review deadline, or asking for approval on a page. Setting a deadline is as simple as choosing the exact time you’d like your collaborators to have their reviews in by, attached with any necessary comments. Asking for approval of a page works similarly. Once you feel that you’ve finalized your draft, you can send out an approval notification to receive confirmation on your work by fellow collaborators. After getting the notification email, each user will then be able to view the page and then check off whether or not they believe it is ready or if it still needs further revisions. After each user submits their approval, all authors and the owner will be sent an email reporting their confirmation. Owners of a page are able to withdraw an approval request, if necessary. Owners, authors, and reviewers also are given the option to have any page updates email to them to keep them up-to-date with the progress of the page.

I enjoy Coventi and I plan on trying and use it for some of my future writing en devours. It functions very nicely and has some of the features that we all wished our Writeboards would have. The only picky thing I can say about Coventi, being that I’m a designer, is the design of the interface. While there is nothing exceedingly wrong with how it was laid out, I think they could have made the top navigation, main tabs, and button areas less busy. I like how the interface options and selections work, but spacing out some things couldn’t hurt to help clarify things. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t hinder anyone from trying out Coventi and what it has to offer. I’m always looking for new innovating ideas from writing applications and Coventi helped fulfilled some of mine.


18 Comments on “Coventi Pages : Writeboards on Steroids”

  1. allan branch says:

    Seems like a very tame version of google documents

  2. Matt Wilson says:

    Yeah Allan, there are some similarities, however Google Documents doesn’t have the highlight commenting which then creates its own conversation area. Additionally, Google Documents lacks the approval requesting on pages.

    I see where you’re coming from though. Google’s application has some very potent features, but Coventi did a nice job in my opinion for, um, not being Google. :-)

  3. allan branch says:

    @ Matt – don’t take me as rude, their app looks dandy… But seems like a waste of time to mimic a company that supplies a free app only to have a couple small features differating the two apps.

  4. Dan Wilson says:

    @ Allen: Have you had a chance to use Coventi? Let me give you some background on the problem we’re solving.

    We target authors who are looking for precise feedback on their documents along with tight control of the content. Let’s compare Coventi to the competition based on that use case.

    In Coventi, authors share static revisions of the document, which can then be discussed by the group in targeted conversation threads. Once the group has reached consensus, the author can edit the content and share another static revision. This cycle can continue until the the document is approved by the group.

    Google Docs and wikis focus on collaborative editing. Authors can either lock someone out of editing the document (and sometimes allow them to leave a comment at the bottom), or let them edit the content.

    Our user interviews tell us that collaborative editing is not enough. People hate having to discuss specific sections of text with email and global comments, and hate having their content changed by overzealous co-authors.

    This is the real pain of document collaboration, and this is where we’re way ahead.

    Allen, it would be great if you gave Coventi a try. We can use this thread to discuss further, or you can contact me directly at dan@coventi.com.

    @ Matt: Thanks for the great writeup, and for sparking this discussion. You’ve got a great blog here.

  5. Dan Wilson says:

    @Allan: Sorry about the typo on your name!

  6. Coventi: so far my choice for collaborative writing apps « Learn-Learn-Learn says:

    [...] The other day I found a blog entry at Solution Watch – “Writeboards on Steroids” … and I have to say that I’m siding with using Coventi more and more as my collaborative writing app of choice … more so than others I’ve tried (like GoogleDocs and a variety of wikis) … [...]

  7. Alec Dorling says:

    @Alen: I can only concur with what @Dan says.

    There are many tools around including http://www.thinkature.com
    http://www.conceptshare.com http://www.reviewbasics.com
    http://www.pleasereview.com
    http://www.coventi.com

    Each has there specific niche but actually none works quite as well as Coventi for collaborative reviewing and approvals of word documents.

    I work in an IT development environment across many different sites and countries. Nothing quite matches the way that Coventi allows me to work in a web 2 innovative environment allowing effective and efficient collaboration in a way that meets requirements for international standards for quality.

    As as @Matt says while there is nothing wrong with the user interface it has some scope for improvement, however the guys at Coventi are very responsive to user input and I am sure the refinements will occur in the near time.

    In the mean time Coventi sure leaves the other providers behind in the shear functionality provided.

    Well done Coventi !

  8. allan branch says:

    Looks like coventi is focusing their efforts down to a niche market that utilizes online document processing, while google docs are more generic covering a greater base.

  9. Sim says:

    As an user of Coventi, I think one of the things to think about in terms of how Coventi compares to Google and Wikis is the idea of changing tools not how you work.

    Google Documents and Wikis help get people out of their inbox with one way of working: edit each others work. This is great when ownership and control over content is not needed, such as a list of questions or a list of bugs. But it doesn’t work well when you need ownership and control over both your content and communications, such as a product specification or PR letter. In a business environment, people work in many ways: sometimes you need to just collate a list of questions while at others you need to own a document, and drive agreement around the content. When non-techie users use Google Docs and wikis, they often find it hard to sustain the switch from email because the software forces one way of working upon them. There are access controls in these tools but that gets rid of much of the interactivity — these tools are designed to be highly open in terms of editing, and being highly open is not appropriate in many business situations.

    Coventi, in comparison, gives users a collection of tools to get out of their inbox. One of those tools is editing each others work (Coventi does offer this), the other is discussion and track changes type functionality, and a third is workflow/approval. In the future I can imagine tools such as screen sharing and location sharing for people who are discussing a document over the phone. This collection of tools is powerful because a non-techie user can now use Coventi for the many different ways they engage with team members. Need to collate a list of questions? check. Need to drive a document and build agreement? check. Need to discuss a document over the phone or in a face to face meeting, but want a better way to determine whichs section people are talking about? check.

    By embracing how people naturally work rather than trying to impose a new way of working upon them, Coventi makes it easy for someone to adopt a replacement to business email.

    I think that in this framework (at least for me) Coventi might have a compelling edge against Google and the slew of wiki companies.

  10. Kevin says:

    I’ll be writing and revising curriculum with other teachers who all teach at different schools in the district this year. Coventi seems to be a good solution as we’re all in different locations. Any idea what the size limit is that can be imported to Coventi?

  11. lokimikoj says:

    Hello

    Great site. Keep doing.

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  17. test says:

    Coventi is out. Already…

  18. fred segal says:

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