Top Design Feedback and Annotation Tools for Designers & Developers

Know the top design feedback and annotation tools for designers & developers; When creative collaborations are successful, you can work

By Larissa Lopes
Updated on September 23, 2022
Top Design Feedback and Annotation Tools for Designers & Developers

Know the top design feedback and annotation tools for designers & developers; When creative collaborations are successful, you can work wonders. But getting to that point can be challenging. Just ask any design agency, and they will tell you all about it!

Ideally, and would take everyone’s opinion into account. But, of course, this is easier said than done when you bring together different ideas, professional backgrounds, and experience levels.

With so many heads to consider and to move parts to lubricate, it’s no wonder things can get sticky.

Top Design Feedback and Annotation Tools for Designers & Developers

Top Design Feedback and Annotation Tools for Designers & Developers

Some of the biggest delays in the design process come from communication issues during the feedback phase.

Traditional communication between customers, designers, and developers take time. As a result, opinions are not always clearly expressed. So, as a result, you may find yourself on the path of endless iterations and tinkering. To make matters worse, a misunderstanding can result in abandonment of work during subsequent evaluations. 

To reach the point of collaboration, the design process needs to remove as many communication barriers as possible. 

Fortunately, designers and developers took notes and used their experience to develop the tools needed to smooth the feedback cycle. 

These are called design feedback tools and make it easy for designers and developers to collect customer feedback.

10 design feedback tools for design teams

Here’s a list of 10 excellent design feedback and annotation tools: Awesome companies like this provide the best results.

Helio

Helio (formerly Notable) offers many features, including built-in tools for screenshots, annotation marking, presentations, project management, user testing, and prototyping. Also, if you like developing websites in your browser, you can collaborate with coded websites and flat prototypes.

Pros

  • The very robust feature set 
  • Built specifically for the design team, you have all the bells and whistles you need 
  • Team oriented

Cons

  • Premium app
  • A robust feature set may be far more than you need

Nimbus

Nimbus screenshots and screencasts not only provide design feedback but are my mainstay. Capturing full-page scrolling screenshots is very useful for portfolio building, blogging, and screencasting. 

After taking a screenshot, you can edit the image, annotate it, save it, send it to Google Drive or Slack, or print it (do you think people still do that?).

Pros

  • Free browser extension
  • Takes full-page screenshots
  • It offers a variety of annotation methods
  • Diverse sharing and saving methods

Cons

  • It’s not pretty
  • Full-page screenshots with animations or fixed elements can get funky
  • Is screenshot based

BugHerd

BugHerd is renowned as a reliable tool for annotations and visual feedback. 

All you have to do is install the application on your computer, from which you can take all the screenshots and videos open on your desktop. This is a great collaboration tool for web designers and project managers who need to collect feedback.

Pros

  • Free
  • Available for Mac, Windows, and iOS
  • Easy to share via a link
  • The powerful content review tool

Cons

  • Focused on commenting on writing, which could confuse providing design feedback

Droplr

Droplr came to my attention while researching this article. You can use it in your browser only when you need it. The menu bar app gives you quick access to recent screenshots. It has all the features you’d expect from a screenshot and annotation tool, including screencasts. But you can also quickly create reactive GIFs, share web pages as images, or quickly shorten links.

You can use the Option + Shift + 4 keyboard shortcuts, then click and drag to take a screenshot of a specific screen area and save the capture to Droplr instead of the desktop.

Finally, screenshots self-destruct, which is a great feature. After all, screenshots are usually up-to-date, otherwise clogging up your hard drive for no apparent reason. And because you can choose to keep specific images, you’re in control.

Pros

  • Free
  • Pretty
  • Robust
  • Desktop app
  • Space-saving (screenshots go-to app, not desktop)

Cons

  • Self-destruct feature could backfire on you

Design feedback tools: Evernote Web Clipper

The Evernote Web Clipper also has a place in my design process. As their title suggests, bookmarks were never the right solution for saving the web. One reason is that you will never see your bookmarks – so never consider them – unless you use your bookmarks effectively.

Evernote Web Clipper helps with this by being part of an app you probably already use regularly. So, the ability to save, tag, and comment on pages are awesome. Great for researching blog posts – especially these types of posts.

However, the feature sometimes tries too hard. For example, trying to view a web page in Evernote often mess. But you still hit the page.

Like Height, the tool’s shared content lacks specificity. So unless you’re commenting separately on the premium page, you’ll need to do some work to ensure your feedback gets through.

Pros

  • Excellent integration with the browser makes it easy to use 
  • Great for research, in addition to annotations 
  • And better than bookmarks

Cons

  • And cannot specify this comment as “applies to this design element,” which can be misleading.

Skitch

Try Skitch if you’re itching to apply an Evernote product to percentage comments and are not locating a Web Clipper that meets all of your needs. It’s a dead-easy way to seize screenshots and upload numerous annotations, name interest to key design regions, and blur out touchy details. 

So, if you (or your client) already use Evernote, it is a no-brainer because of its deep integration with the notetaking tool. Just download Skitch, then signal into Evernote, and Skitch will ask if you need to create a “Skitch” pocketbook and shop your photographs there. This function is fundamental for folks that dread putting in some other app (or remembering some other email/password combo). 

My preferred element of the UI is how smooth it’s far to embed your trendy screenshot in different apps. Once you have introduced all of your commentaries, click on the tab at the lowest of the UI to drop it into some other app, like Google Docs. Webflow’s aid crew is based on Skitch each day. So there may be that.

Pros

  • Free
  • Simple
  • Integrated with Evernote
  • Lots of annotation options, including blur
  • Desktop app

Cons

  • It counts toward your Evernote storage limit (and adds up fast!)

Red Pen

Redmen checks all boxes in the Annotations and Feedback Tools to focus on simplicity and real-time (and asynchronous) feedback sessions between teammates. There’s also a nice red website with many personalities that encourages people to show how the product works rather than just talking to them.

The trial-based pricing model can be tricky for freelancers who don’t want to pay for feedback tools that they only use for some time. Nevertheless, the app focuses on teamwork anyway.

Pros

  • Simple
  • Beautiful
  • Team-focused

Cons

  • Trial-based pricing model (14 days free, then you pay)

Usersnap

While most of the design feedback tools above focus on general annotation and design feedback workflows, Usersnap is aimed at developers, QAs, and interdisciplinary teams building software and websites. 

In part, this is a matter of context. The success story focuses on the business use of the app, and the text focuses on reporting bugs. However, it goes deeper than just framing because you can “implement JavaScript feedback widgets on your website or use plugins available for major content management systems.” In addition, pricing models will soon become premium, so budget freelancers will have to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Explicitly built for teams and bug hunting/squashing
  • Integrates with popular project management tools like Slack, Jira, Trello, Basecamp, etc.
  • JavaScript error recording

Cons

  • Premium pricing
  • Team-focused
  • More robust than most freelancers will need

Annotator

If you’re used to JavaScript and don’t want to ask your customers to install or join third-party tools, you’ll love Annotator. Once you’re ready to integrate it into your website, you can send your ongoing website to your customers or stakeholders. You can automatically comment anywhere.

Pros

  • Free and open-source
  • It doesn’t require clients to install or download anything
  • Lots of optional functionality to add when you need
  • It seems fairly simple (if you know what you’re doing)

Cons

  • Requires comfort with JavaScript

Bounce

So, if you want to make it easier for your customers (which happens to be a good idea), Bounce is probably the best bet. Send a reply link and ask to enter the URL of the work in progress and take a screenshot of the client. Then add and save the comment, copy the shared URL, and reply. It won’t be easy.

This lightweight price tag is small in terms of minimal features, but that’s probably not the worst thing for customers.

It’s also worth noting that Bounce also acts as a clever marketing tool for Zurb’s more powerful tool, Notable (see #3), so Bounce can get you involved in conversations about Notable, which might not be a bad thing if you’re on a team.

One thing that might cause potential problems with Bounce: Like Nimbus, Bounce creates full-page screenshots, which is awesome. But there may also be a problem if your page contains animations, lazy-loading elements, or fixed elements. For example, in the Muz.li screenshot above, the “below the fold” card is grayed out and lacks an image, which might frighten some customers (especially those asking why all site text is in Latin).

Find your favorite design feedback tool.

Gathering feedback is undoubtedly critical to the design process. However, to avoid future headaches for you and your clients, you should simplify this phase from the start.

So, the good news is that you have a lot of options. Each tool we introduce is designed for a specific use case and audience. The key to a tool your team and clients will love is defining your needs before starting your search. With that in mind, we say happy shopping!