The Internet’s Best Whiteboarding Apps for Distributed Agile Teams
By Sococo Bob
At Sococo, one of our top feature requests is for an integrated whiteboard as part of a room. We get it! We love whiteboarding, too. (What Agile team doesn’t?)
There are several app solutions that will give you the feeling of a whiteboard in a Sococo room. We’ve compiled a list of favorites, so you can collaborate in your browser and share your screens to host the whiteboard session of your dreams—no matter where your team is located.
Sococo’s favorite whiteboard app—especially for distributed agile teams—is RealtimeBoard, an easy-to-use visual collaboration platform for agile product teams, ux/ui designers, project leaders, marketers and creatives. It allows you to use pre-designed board templates (complete with post-its) to create brainstorming sessions, agile boards, retrospectives, and more.
We love this app for its comprehensive capabilities. Because it integrates with your other tools (including Slack, Google Drive, and Dropbox), you can store all your post-its, files, images, and spreadsheets in one place. It’s great for teams who work across time zones or on the go, because it’s tablet and mobile-friendly—check in at any time, wherever you are.
RealtimeBoard is free for teams of 3 or $40 per month for teams of 5–50. If you plan to use the app for even larger groups, you can contact the company directly for custom pricing options.2. Whiteboard Fox
Whiteboard Fox is an ultra-simple digital whiteboard that allows you to draw and share in real-time. Simply shoot your team members the browser link to your board, and you can all doodle, write, and erase at the same time—the same way you would with an actual whiteboard in a physical office.
The big flaw with this, and any whiteboarding app, is that it really needs to be used with a touchscreen to be user-friendly. As anyone who ever used MS Paint as a kid knows, writing and drawing with a mouse is actually pretty tricky. Using your finger or a stylus on a tablet is the quickest way to make the most of this whiteboard’s features.
Whiteboard Fox is free to use, but each share link can only support 10 participants at a time.
Relatively similar to Whiteboard Fox in features and function, Awwapp comes at a cost (literally). While there is a free version of the whiteboard, to unlock some of the best features (unlimited saved boards, PDF and PPT upload, and advanced tools), you’ll need to pay a $10–$75 monthly subscription fee, depending on your team’s needs. Similar to Whiteboard Fox, this app is really easy to fire up and instantly create a whiteboard session on the fly in your Sococo room. Share your screen and the link and everyone can collaborate in their own browsers while watching the board in Sococo in real time.
Unlike most of the apps on this list, Twiddla is a completely free way to collectively look at, mark up, and discuss websites and images in real-time from anywhere you've got a web browser and an internet connection. Plus, there are no limits on how many people can join a board’s sharing link.
Twiddla’s big flaw is the inability to truly save your work. Rather than saving boards within their feature, you’ll need to screenshot and download your work when you’re finished (and reupload the image later if you want to keep mocking it up). Because of this, it’s great for quick conversations about tweaking a piece of existing work, but it’s not the best option for a whiteboard if you like to revisit and revise your board often.
Limnu offers Slack and Appear.in integration, is available on mobile, and offers extensive security options, so you can control who shares which boards and protect access to private information. As the company puts it, Limnu is as simple as “picking up a traditional marker and starting to draw.” We found the drawing UI to be a little bit hard to get used to, and preferred the other products to this one.
Limnu is better suited to small teams. The Pro plan, which allows 300 boards and unlimited collaborators, costs $5 a month. But, for boosted security and to give unlimited access to team members, you’ll need the team plan: $8 per month per user (that cost adds up quickly for enterprise teams).
Have the Ultimate Whiteboard Experience in Sococo
Take advantage of these tips to have the best possible whiteboard experience in Sococo.
Share a screen showing the whiteboard app.
If you were in a whiteboarding session in a physical office space, you probably wouldn’t hand 20 team members markers at the same time and let them all dive in at once. Rather than having everyone writing and editing your digital board at the same time, assign a point person or two to work on the board. One person can share their screen so everyone can watch and shout out contributions over audio and video instead.
Chat the link to the shared board in the room chat window.
If you do want your team members to be able to pop into your board and add sticky notes or make their own drawings on the board, chat the link in your room chat window. This will save you the step of mass-emailing your team or repeatedly chatting to someone individually when they ping you to say, “Hey! Do you have the link for the board? I’d like to hop in and make a small edit.”
Save the whiteboard as a PDF and share it for future discussions on the same topic.
Many of these apps offer the option to save and revisit boards. But, if you want to share your whiteboard with outside collaborators or have the ability to reference it without editing it for future discussions, make a point to download your whiteboard as a PDF when your session wraps.
Whiteboard constantly? Invest in hardware to make it easier.
Your desktop computer and mouse simply won’t cut it. As you’ve seen in the apps above, tablets can seriously improve your whiteboarding experience. We love the Wacom pen tablets for drawing and sketching. They come with free creative software, online training, and there’s an entire line of options so you can find the perfect fit for your needs.
Using Sococo’s multiple screen share feature, you can even have multiple boards going at the same time, to keep you collaborating like the Agile pros you are. Experiment with all of these apps to see which one will get your distributed team whiteboarding efficiently and effectively in no time. Different paint strokes for different Agile folks, as they say.