When designers need to collaborate with other teams, they can currently turn to products like InVision and Zeplin. But Ceros creative director Jack Dixon said there's a "pretty interesting gap in the market" — once you move beyond prototypes and start working with websites that are either live or in staging, the process starts to become fragmented, relying on screenshots and email/phone/Google Docs.
That's why the company (which focuses on powering interactive content "experiences") is launching a new product called MarkUp. The product was created by a team led by Greg DiNardo and Alex Bullington, who joined Ceros last August through the acquisition of their polling and market research startup Arbit.
Dixon, DiNardo and Bullington gave me a quick demo, showing off how users can mark areas of interest on a website, leave comments and tasks, then mark revisions as completed.
It all looked pretty simple and straightforward, but DiNardo suggested that it's a real technical challenge — even more than he and Bullington had expected — to provide those kinds of features on top of a live site.
He added that the product's simplicity was very much by design: "I don't think we're going to add a million features ... The goal is honestly simplicity, something that graphic designers can kind of live in."
Eventually, MarkUp could be used not just to solicit design feedback across teams, but also from the public at-large.
Ceros says MarkUp is free to everyone and will function separately from the core Ceros Studio platform. In fact, it's already being used by designers at the Huffington Post, Cushman & Wakefield and Informa.
"As of today we want to remove any friction or barrier to entry, so it's 100 percent free to [everyone]," Dixon said. "Getting the involvement of the broadest community and user base is going to be critical for this. What we’re learning is that some of the enterprise clients might pay for bigger, more grown-up features [like white labeling]. We can figure out how to monetize later."
Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that MarkUp would only be free to Ceros customers.