Branding in podio/external user experienceAnswered
Has Podio ever considered offering more private branding options for organizations with Premium subscriptions? We are planning on creating workspaces for our clients with Podio but feel clients will be confused when we invite them and they have to set up a Podio account.
It would be nice to be able to invite external users and have them only see the navigation and UI elements for one particular workspace. That way they wouldn't be confused about what the options to "start your own organization", "create another workspace", etc.. are used for. Also, it seems that clients also see links to "invite other colleagues/employees" to a workspace, which we don't want them to be able to do.
It would also be nice to be able to brand Podio with our company logo in the upper-left, and then just have a "Powered by Podio" link somewhere.
Thanks for your question. We definitely have been discussing this issue a lot within the team. The reason why we have chosen not to allow a customized branding option for now is that we need a standard interface (the Podio branding) to allow for updates of the site every week.
We're updating and improving features every week and the Podio interface allow us to do so fast and without complications. Let's say we allowed other logo's or colors - this would create additional complications and decrease the fast process of adjustments and improvements.
I can't say whether or not this will be possible in the future but we're definitely aware of how this could be beneficial for our users. Thanks for your feedback!
Another thing is your question about the invite process and interface of external users. I sure see your point about this and will forward the use-case and input to my team.
//Sara - Podio
definitely - podio branding would be a real tipping point for us.
We are finding that some of our external users are afraid signing up for an account once invited for some reasons. custom branding would definitely increased trustworthiness in that case - especially logo upload and domain masking
We are attempting to transition into PODIO. We just signed up to give it a test run. We agree with some of the comments here on a number of issues...
1.) MOST IMPORTANT: There ABSOLUTELY should be a way to limit the options that clients (Non Employees) have/see when they login to PODIO and join a Workspace.
2.) Some level of Branding should be allowed. Not concerned about layout at all, or colors for that matter (we 100% agree these things should be kept consistent to allow more fluid development and updates to manifest from PODIO). But an ability to add a logo where the current PODIO logo is at the top-left seems to be appropriate. We do NOT need to have PODIO removed entirely, it can be in the footer, or anywhere else (we have no interest in hiding the fact we use PODIO, thats not an issue for use at all, in fact we would be proud to say we use PODIO) but the top-left is prime real-estate for a company logo, and for us, the only level of branding we would need.
3.) Domain mapping is important. ourwebsite.podio.com is perfectly acceptable.
Again, we are just getting started and these are the items we readily feel are pretty significant issues. Do pardon if we have gotten any of this wrong or are unaware of all the features. If in fact these are features PODIO does not currently have, then please consider these suggestions.
I think you have a great product and concept going here, but we are going to have to spend a bit more time giving it a run through before we commit and make it our new Project Management platform. Perhaps one of the items above can be overlooked, but we aren't sure all 3 can be, certainly not item 1.
OSAGA's points are all excellent. I hadn't thought subdomains or filtered views for non-employee (or anyone). I realize filtering would add complexity which I'd hate to see. Subdomains from my point of view (as a developer) would be relative low-hanging fruit being pretty simple to implement and big value for users. The branding would make a lot of us happy as well and it's hard to imagine that would be difficult to implement.
Interesting thread.... from my point of view branding would be good but is still less important than giving limited or filtered workspace access to clients. My feeling is that clients get confused when they have to create their own Podio account in order to access workspaces I have created for them.
I would therefore highly appreciate if clients could get limited access to my account resp. workspaces I provided for them.
We hope this is all valuable feedback for PODIO…
We have had a few more days to evaluate the platform more, and wanted to follow up on the core of this original post brought up by Jake Kushner, and then followed up by Martin and Jürgen Müller…
PODIO at its essence should have two separate experiences for users who are either Employees or Clients (Non Employees).
Far be it up to us to tell PODIO what to do with its product. Nonetheless, we are bit unclear on PODIO’s approach, strategy, and rational for its overall product as a Project Collaboration environment. Perhaps there is a vision in mind that we aren’t grasping just yet, as clearly a lot of thought, resources, features, and great design has been put into platform. That being said, our feedback on the Platform is based on our experience with Project Collaboration/Project Management. In the past 3 years we’ve had Collaborations with a clip of 1 large project every week, all handled with a Project Management/Project Collaboration platform. 10% of the Projects are internal, however 90% of projects are with Clients. This is the HUGE point for us, and we believe the essence of what some of the other users are expressing in this thread.
Clients are inherently and fundamentally different users than our Staff/Employees, and mechanically have different roles with respects to the Project Management experience. Essentially a client’s role, for us, has been to supply feedback, comment, provide requested materials, and ultimately approval a project, etc....
Staff/Employee roles, in a nutshell, is to make everything happen, using the platform as means to collaborate with both the Client and the Employee Team on a project effort. In this scenario, we do not want Clients to have the permission to do what we believe are Employee platform functions, such as…
- Creating Workspaces
- Importing Contacts
- Adding Tasks
- Setting Up Meetings
- Creating Deliverables
- Adding Expenses
We of course believe client should however have the ability to…
- Upload Files
- Add Inspirations
- Comment and Send Mails
This is Key for us, our experience is that even the most basic Project Management platform can prove confusing for some clients, particularly for those who are only use to communication through traditional means; email. We often have to remind client to send their communications through the Project Management platform, and often times to no avail, as in the end, they just prefer to do what is familiar with them. This is even more true for clients how aren’t up to speed with the contemporary trends in online culture and social collaborative platforms. As developers, we LOOOOOVE it all of course!!!!!!! We ABSOLUTELY Love it! This is why we believe PODIO is so great, and leagues better than what we have been using. However, we aren’t yet quite sure how to leverage it to work with our process. It appears, at least at this time, that PODIO is more intended for Internal Projects, maybe? But not so much for Firm to Client - a firm providing a service to a client who is otherwise unrelated to the firm, but has hired the firm to provide it a service.
- Have we understood the PODIO Platform correctly?
- Are we correct in assuming everything that we have explained is not possible with PODIO?
Hey John et al,
You can invite your clients into workspaces with limited permissions, if you're a Premium user you'll get a user role called "Light" user, that will let you invite members with this limited role. Read more about that role.
So I would say that you can invite your clients into your workspaces as "Light" if you'd like them to only add comments, upload files etcetera.
But your clients will also have their own organisation, so in that they can create their own workspaces and do work on other stuff, so there's your workspaces that you invite them to and then they'll have another organisation in which they will create workspaces as they please.
So it's a bit different from just having a static system, the client will in Podio actually get access to their own work platform and be a part of yours at the same time.
Just my two cents :)
/Gustav - Podio
As the Podio team is likely already very aware - I am in complete agreement with the needs and shared Podio experience as @John Baskerville. Podio, while supreme in its own way, fails the Firm to Client (or Agency/Contractor ) Model. Thank you @Gustav for your explanation of "Light Users," but, this Light User setting still does not grant the privacy (backstage) admin settings that are absolutely required by your typical Firm/Agency/Contractor user. Light User Settings are appropriate for subcontractors, but not for clients. Similar to John's experience, our clients, not to mention our subcontractors, are confused with the whole invite, account set-up and "add your own organization" approach. While I respect and see why this approach is a benefit in Podio's view (Podio users' clients become leads for Podio), it is not very appropriate for Podio users, no more than it is appropriate that a vendor signs me up automatically for a new credit card account whenever I make a purchase at their store.
I agree that Podio needs to do one of two things: 1) Make their product approach and vision clear to prospective users, from the get go, or 2) Substantiate their claim of "works the way you do," with more admin user control. As is, neither is clear and while Podio seems to want to wow every end user - they risk losing their actual users (Project Managers, Directors, Business Owners). It frusterates me to no end, because, like many other users, I have come to love using Podio for the few things it does far better than any other PM platform we've tried thus far, but at the end of the day, we need to use something that will support our projects, and our needs for admin control. Fun aside, Podio seems more like a personal task manager or software development scrum team platform, than it does a true project management platform. I do hope someone at Podio is listening, and open to considering what their PM users are asking for, rather than expecting us to conform to Podio's limitations - not likely.
My still unanswered questions are:
1) Who is Podio for, specifically? The internal team, the agency user, the solo freelancer?
2) What methodology/way of doing work is Podio representing, because it seems that you do have a concept you are holding firm too.
2) Who does Podio intend to be the hero for - themselves? the guest user? or their paid, Podio users? As business owners, we want to use products and services that make us look good to our clients. We don't want our clients to feel as though they are being solicited by our project management product, or even approached with a "create your own account" opportunities - not on our time/dime. It risks turning our clients off.
I'd like to make a suggestion to the Podio team: Please hire someone with external client experience. Or, if you have those people, invite them to the table when prioritizing features that go into your feature request backlog.
It seems to me you have made a great collaboration tool for a team creating a product, with little collaboration from outside teams. Your product - Podio - reflects your team structure. Yet, your dev team structure is different from a large percentage of your customers: teams that work collaboratively with teams from other organizations.
From your responses in these forums ("we don't want to make it too complicated...", "we've been talking about it, but...", "We can't do X because doing so will make it too difficult to update Podio..." etc.) it seems to me that your mental model of how teams work is different from many of your customer's mental model of how teams work. Until you make a change in your own team, I believe you will not be able to meet the needs of this class of your customers.
@Joel Greenberg has summed it up quite nicely. Podio seems to be a direct reflection of how the Podio team works, rather than a product that supports how Podio's customers work. If someone at Podio is listening (or at least, serving as an outside client representative during "the future of Podio development discussions), then there is hope.
Further to @Leonardo Aloi's comments: While the launch of your mobile offerings is impressive, it doesn't solve the pain's many of your PM customers clearly seem to be having that keeps them from adopting Podio - It's like an architect's client complaining to the architect about a sagging floor due to lack of structure, and instead of fixing the problem with the floor, the architect builds more walls.
Add me for a plus one on nearly every comment above. We currently work with Basecamp which is as simple of a PM as exists, but it still confuses many clients and they just ending up sending emails. Forcing a client in the agency/client relationship to go through any steps beyond making a password is too much and will 100% make them not use the system a great deal of the time. This one omission makes me keep my Basecamp account open and only use Podio internally. That being said, Basecamp also lacks any sort of granular access control as they too want to "keep things simple". This is why I am looking to replace Basecamp. Additionally Basecamp does not do nearly anything else that Podio does and is far more limiting in nearly every way. My only point for bringing up that product is to reference the sign up process for my clients which is dead simple. The issue for me with Podio as a PM is that it is neither simple for clients nor does it provide granular access control from admins.
I think being able to brand this to ourselves (via logo and subdomain as suggested above) is great, and obvious since I cannot think of another PM that does not allow this, but the ability to strip out anything from our clients' view that they do not need to see and making their registration super easy (in order to keep things convenient for them) is absolutely pinnacle to this being a valid consideration as an agency/client collaboration tool.
Podio and Citrix are awesome and I hope this really takes off. I think implementing the suggestions in this thread would gain a lot more market share as you would then have a PM that is viable for a much wider audience (in my professional marketing opinion).
Hi Joel et al,
I am sorry to hear that you don't see us as a company that is embracing different ways of working, we do spend and have spent time with all our users and potential users all over the world in creating this collaborative solution. Check this world tour as one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boZWLT3Evtk
This is also why we engage in things like this community forum to get all the different opinions about how to work and collaborate in order to improve our product for the future. We do appreciate all the inputs we can get!
Thanks engaging in the discussion. //Sara - Podio
Sara, thanks for acknowledging that you've read our posts.
I think Valeria Maltoni said it best in the video, "In some organizations there is more of an effort make this collaboration inside the walls." I'm looking for collaboration outside the walls.
I've attached a graphic that I hope illustrates what I--and I believe others--are looking for. Two companies come together to collaborate on a project. Clearly, lots of information is shared between them. However, there is information that will not be shared between them, but is still considered part of the project.
It seems to me the only way to accomplish this separation is with separate workspaces. An internal one and an external one for the same project. "Light users" doesn't solve this problem as the role only restricts the ability to edit and contribute, not to read. In other words, a light user can read everything, but can't edit/create much.
http://blog.podio.com/2012/03/29/101-questions-about-using-podio-for-project-management/ only address this issue via separate workspaces.
Can you point us to real-world case study, blog post, video, etc., where we can see how people are using Podio to collaborate with their clients and not just internal teams?
The video interviewed people from:
The Altimeter Group
Near Future Laboratory
...all of whom would have similar needs as we're requesting, I'd think. The video was about the future of work being collaboration. Everyone on this thread is already up to speed. We just want to use Podio to do so with people outside of our organization.
I have just read about the recent Citrix acquisition of beetil.com.
At a glance, it is a complete solution for issue, problem, knowledge, change , release management.
What is - now - the strategic direction for PODIO evolution, among the growing, effervescent, and internally competing, Citrix ecosystem?
This acquisition makes me think PODIO can - or must? - specialize in a flexible Program and Project Management platform , with some unique workflow and collaboration features, that competitors (internal and external) cannot -yet - provide with current PODIO elegance.
After four months following PODIO evolution I understood I cannot ask moderators any timeline, milestone, feature prioritization, release plan, nor a simple product roadmap: but a generic "vision"?
Just to know it's worth the wait :)
I agree completely with the points raised here. As another business owner, these are improvements/modifications I would like to see before I can fully commit to Podio:
Custom branding (incl. domain mapping). This is a practically universal feature of collaboration platforms, and the lack of it could turn into a real stumbling block. From a paying user's view, the impact of restricting this is persistent and intrusive marketing for Podio (and as @Katia observed, if Citrix's Sharefile can brand my login page within 24 hours, then it's puzzling why Citrix's Podio can't/won't offer the same).
Simplifed client login. Really - this has to be as simple as possible, and should not require my clients to sign up for the service too. I would take it a step further and suggest that if the user/owner can auto-generate client login and password as part of of the invitation process, that would be even better.
Filtered view for clients. The last thing clients need is a learning curve just to figure out how to use our system and what parts of it are relevant to a project. Showing off more features than we need to collaborate or demonstrate work done is distracting, and will impact user/client adoption.
Appreciate all the input and questions!
Hope our recent Podio Share release addresses some of the access questions above and makes it easier to get clients to just see what they need to see.
I just posted a short article on why we don't plan to do white-labeling over here: https://help.podio.com/entries/22572416-can-i-have-a-white-label-version-of-podio which explains our position overall so I just wanted to add a few comments on custom branding in relation to the discussion here.
First, let me say that I see how this could be useful and that I definitely know of use cases where custom branding would be a great idea.
When we don't plan to offer custom branding of the platform itself, it's because we think the disadvantages outweight the advantages and offers too little value for the end user. Ultimately we're responsible for the service including support, so masking who's responsible for what might cause quite some confusion and would be close to impossible for people using Podio for more than one organisation. End of the day, we're a tool, not a website and the single login-model is an important part of the project. Add mobile apps and it becomes even more tricky.
That being said, we'll keep working hard to make sure it's clear that your companies stand out when you ask customers and clients to join your workspaces and items. The signing up part is just there as a verification step to keep data safe and identities up to date. We'll keep working on improving that experience as well as look into whether we can make it easier to have your company identity present within the tool, especially on workspaces. Any input is most welcome!
Hope it makes sense - let me know what you think.
Dear Anders (and Podio team)
From my own point of view, you've missed several important points here. They key one is that forced Podio branding and registration is a sales and marketing tool that creates business leads and amplifies the number of Podio user accounts. Whether the service being offered is a tool or a website is immaterial; the approach benefits your business at the expense of my own. Podio of course makes its own decisions about the direction it wants to take. But where this explanation fails - badly - is Podio telling me what my requirements are (and offering a slightly disingeneous explanation of why its system works the way that it does). I already have a thorough understanding of what tools are available on the market, and of what my requirements are. Podio doesn't fit the bill, largely because of this one set of issues (and now, also, because of how it has responded to the comments in this thread).
I don't feel I'm telling you what your requirements are, on the contrary I feel like we're spending quite some effort listening and trying as best as we can to explain the reasoning behind our decisions. We value everyone spending time telling us what they need and want - it helps tremendously when we plan new features and updates to the product. And I'm not just saying that to sound nice.
If you think I'm offering disingeneous explanations, then I'm sorry - but I think it's only fair that we're honest and open about our thinking on certain areas. Who we really want to benefit is the end user. Keeping them happy will benefit us and you in the long run.
There are lot of details we could discuss in terms of the exact implementation and the challenges and derived perception of the product that ultimately makes us think that that approach isn't what we want for Podio, but I think that'd probably be too tedious. My main point is that we built Podio the way we did for a reason (and we're happy and proud about that) and never promised to offer white-labeling. To us, that's an entirely different product so I just wanted to be honest about our plans. Hopefully that clarifies things. I'd love to discuss how we can move forward in terms of providing more company (yours) identity on workspaces etc.
Not sure whether it's what I'm saying or how I'm saying it that makes you mention how we have responded. Feel free to elaborate if you think there's something I'm missing.
My WORKSPACE logo on top of invitations, email, etc to any user subscribed to my workspace.
Your PODIO logo in the bottom boxes (if any, like in the Share Invitation email).
Honestly I cannot understand why you are so negative about custom branding, but if a strong opponent is your marketing department, there are a lot of subtle , non intrusive, and effective branding options in the messages PODIO system delivers to "our" users / clients.
An example: the discrete branding in the chat box offered by http://www.snapengage.com/.
Your product manager should know better than me how your competitors make custom branding living with platform branding, together.
Please sign in to leave a comment.