How to empower your team with visual collaboration tools

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Teams today are globally dispersed, and that means traditional collaboration methods (like email and static documents) slow work down and stifle workplace synergy. But with real-time visual collaboration tools, you bridge the gap between remote and hybrid work — and change the way your people communicate, brainstorm, and bring ideas to fruition. 

What is visual collaboration? 

Visual collaboration is the process of teams working together and communicating through visual elements. It involves using visual aids like diagrams, charts, images, and other types of graphics such as sticky notes and connectors. The goal of using these tools is to enhance understanding, creativity, and productivity. 

Visual collaboration tools definition

Benefits of visual collaboration solutions 

With 62% of people working with teammates across multiple time zones, there’s a growing need for seamless collaboration and communication. 

Here’s how virtual collaboration software helps your team: 

  • Enhanced communication: Visual collaboration platforms often include chat or messaging features for you to communicate instantly, share quick updates, and ask questions without the need for separate communication tools. You can provide instant feedback, comments, and annotations, promoting collaborative communication in the workplace
  • Increased engagement: With virtual collaboration tools, you can draw, write, add videos and photos, and interact with the content to get a more immersive experience. The best digital whiteboards also offer gamification elements, such as voting on ideas, to increase engagement and participation. 
  • Improved productivity: Many collaboration tools integrate project management features like task tracking, deadlines, and progress monitoring. These capabilities help you stay organized, prioritize tasks, and meet milestones. 
  • Centralized storage: For 43% of respondents in a Box-sponsored IDC study, integrating siloed organizations is a top content-related challenge. Because visual collaboration software often stores content in the cloud, your team can easily access and collaborate on the same information and eliminate silos. Visual collaboration also makes the latest version easily accessible, preventing confusion and file duplication. 
  • Process improvement: Streamline your workflows by visualizing their current state to identify gaps, inefficiencies, and roadblocks. Use a visual collaboration platform to envision the ideal state of the process and track progress by updating statuses, incorporating comments, and moving tasks across various stages. 
Benefits of visual collaboration

Visual collaboration platform: Top 4 use cases to empower your team 

Asana found that 37% of knowledge workers say their organization has collaboration technologies that nobody knows how to use effectively. To make sure your team gets the most out of visual collaboration tools, consider the following use cases. 

1. Brainstorming and idea development 

Tools like digital whiteboards enable you to organize and connect ideas. You can draw, write, and link concepts, creating a visual representation of the brainstorming session. ​You can also create digital mind maps to visualize and organize ideas. A visual collaboration platform allows for easy branching, linking, and reorganizing of concepts during brainstorming sessions. 

Creating a mind map like the example below will help you visually organize ideas and facilitate connections between concepts.

Example of mind map on a visual collaboration tool

2. Employee training and onboarding 

Using visual collaboration software, your HR team can create interactive and visually engaging training content, such as process flows and organizational charts, to enhance the learning experience for new hires. Here’s an example of using digital whiteboards to create an organizational chart. 

Example of organizational chart template on online visual collaboration tool

Another option is to create visual templates on these whiteboards for performance evaluations, allowing managers and employees to collaborate on performance goals, strengths, and areas for improvement. 

3. Online meetings and workshops 

Visual collaboration tools help you get more out of your meetings — particularly for remote or dispersed teams. With the presentation mode in digital whiteboards, you communicate key information while your team simultaneously annotates documents, images, or diagrams in real time. This capability is useful for providing feedback and making notes, too. 

Imagine a workshop where your marketing team is building a buyer persona document. With a digital whiteboard that helps collect votes, your team prioritizes suggestions and ensures that everyone has a voice in the decision-making process, promoting a sense of inclusivity. 

Buyer persona example on online visual collaboration tool

4. Project planning and management 

For 29% of employees, a lack of visibility into processes is a major productivity barrier. You can address this challenge by creating a visual representation of the project’s scope, team members’ roles, requirements, and dependencies. This clarity ensures that your team understands: 

  • Their part in the project 
  • The impact of their contributions on the final outcome 
  • The project’s alignment with broader business objectives 

When your team visually sees how their work fits into the project’s larger context, it fosters a sense of ownership and accountability. 

You can also use Kanban board features to manage tasks through visual boards with columns such as “To do,” “In progress,” and “Completed.” 

Kanban board in a digital collaboration tool

What to look for in visual collaboration software 

Choosing the right cloud collaboration tool is important for enhancing visual communication and productivity within your team. Here are the five key features to look for: 

  1. Intuitive interface: Look for software with a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. An intuitive design ensures that you quickly adopt the tool without a steep learning curve. 
  2. Security measures: Ensure the tool provides robust security features, including secure access controls, data encryption, and compliance with industry standards. Look for measures like multi-factor authentication and SSO to protect from cloud security threats
  3. Integration capabilities: Choose a platform that integrates with other tools your team uses, like communication platforms, project management software, or file storage services. Ideally, select a tool that’s native to your cloud data storage and management software. 
  4. Customization options: The best visual collaboration tools offer customization options to adapt to and supercharge your workflows. While premade templates offer a quick start with standardized structures, custom templates allow you to tailor the tool to your team’s preferences. 
  5. Versioning features: Pick a solution that offers version control capabilities, allowing you to revert to previous versions if needed and providing clarity on the evolution of collaborative work. 

Collaborate on an interactive visual platform with Box Canvas 

Box enhances the efficiency and creativity of your team. With the Content Cloud, you get a centralized platform to create, store, share, and collaborate on all your files. 

Native to the Content Cloud, Box Canvas lets you use visual aids to brainstorm, solve complex problems, or execute plans. You get these top capabilities with our virtual whiteboard tool: 

  • Unlimited canvases to ensure your projects are not limited by space for planning and visualizing ideas 
  • Freeform drawingand visual elements such as shapes and connectors to support your creative expression 
  • Premade and custom templates for you to kickstart projects quickly and get real-time notifications to stay updated 
  • Facilitator mode to run engaging meetings and workshops with interactive polling and timed exercises 
  • Enterprise-grade security and compliance with Box Shield to protect the flow of information and automatically prevent data loss 

Start your free trial with Box to see the best visual collaboration tool in action. 

Call to action to contact Box for visual collaboration

While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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