Deekit – A Collaborative Online Whiteboard
Created by several former Skype employees, Deekit is a new application that offers a collaborative, online whiteboard. The idea behind the tool is to take the experience of using a whiteboard in an office to an online space, which means that there is a focus on recreating that experience in a collaborative online way. For example, Deekit allows users to draw and diagram on their boards in much the same way that they would on a whiteboard, and even when users opt to include typed text, the font is one that is meant to look as though it is handwritten.
The added advantage that Deekit offers over physical whiteboards is that it can be shared online seamlessly. Each board can be kept private or shared with anyone users wish to collaborate with on a project. In addition, Deekit goes beyond the features available on a physical whiteboard by including several templates that make it easy to use an organized, preset format for projects such as brainstorming or SWOT Analysis. Users also have the option to create their own template if they plan to frequently use a particular set up for their whiteboards. Though Deekit is not the first tool to try to bring the whiteboard experience online, its features are well thought out and will appeal to users who like clean design and a focus on limited but useful functionality. I could see this being particularly useful for remote teams or for online classes, which are two of the uses that the company suggests on their website.
In my time trying out Deekit, I found that navigation was a bit difficult on a desktop, though the tool does seem a bit better suited at this time to use on a tablet. It is in beta, so it is not surprising that some features could still use some polishing, but I still think this is a tool that is well worth trying out if you are looking for new ways to collaborate with coworkers or students over a great distance. When paired with other tools such as Skype or Google Hangouts, this tool will help users to recreate the in-person collaborative process in an online environment. I hope that it continues to develop so that it can meet its full potential by the time it exits beta; if so, I think it could be a really exciting tool.