Exclusive: Disqus UX chief launching Pixelcloud, a web design tool for teams

Web developers and designers always need good tools for sharing ideas and works-in-progress, and Pixelcloud aims to be such a tool, with a special focus on design teams.

Pixelcloud will allow designers to share designs in progress, organize their design iterations, and collect feedback from their team members in a private environment.

The tool could be a godsend, especially for distributed teams.

Pixelcloud is the brainchild of Chris Jennings, who calls it “the perfect solution to the collaboration/feedback problem.” Jennings is currently the director of user experience at Disqus, a San Francisco-based commenting service.

“Typically, teams share feedback through email, over IM or in IRC,” Jennings told VentureBeat. “Since it’s not centrally logged, it becomes almost impossible to reference in the future. What’s more, often the same suggestions are made over and over again by different people due to the fact that the process isn’t transparent. Pixelcloud is my attempt at getting this activity in one place and offering a hub for design decisions in my company.”

“Pixelcloud is essentially an internal Dribbble,” Jennings continued, referencing the popular application that allows designers to share snippets of what they’re working on as they’re working on it, and to solicit feedback from others in the design and developer communities.

“The big difference, however, is that it’s closed to those outside of your team… This tool promotes a sense of community within design teams and allows eager product managers to keep up to date without hovering over shoulders.”

A couple of years ago, Facebook product designer Alexandre Roche wrote about a tool the company’s designers were using internally to share designs and inspirations. He called it Pixelcloud and said it had “forever changed how we work as a team … We’re never in the dark. By looking at Pixelcloud, we can see what our peers are working on and how it affects our own work.”

Facebook hasn’t taken any step toward open sourcing its home-brewed tool, but Jennings said it inspired him to create something that all web design teams can use.

“It solves a similar problem for companies that might not have the resources to build their own design collaboration tool in-house,” he said.

Disqus, Adobe, Yobongo and Zappos are currently among the 30 or so companies testing Pixelcloud. Alpha testers include other start-ups, large creative teams and even agencies. So far, Jennings told us, “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Jennings said the most often-requested feature for the app has been a native OS X uploader. Once the finishing touches have been put on that feature, invites for the app will start rolling out.

Interested designers can sign up now for access. Invitations should start coming out this weekend, Jennings said.

DevBeatCheck out DevBeat, VentureBeat’s brand new channel specifically for developers. The channel will break relevant news and provide insightful commentary aimed to assist developers. DevBeat is sponsored by the Intel AppUp developer program.

blog comments powered by Disqus