Swoodle app helps students collaborate in real-time


Screen Capture by Nadine Tanjuakio

Nadine Tanjuakio

DisplayNote Technologies is an international company that develops apps to assist users in conveniently collaborating through the use of technology. The company’s main target audience for their newest app, Swoodle, are students.

“During my college career, I’ve had to be part of a lot of group presentations. I’ve gotten frustrated since I wasn’t able to follow the work that my group members were doing,” said junior business student Andrew Noble. “Writing outlines or preparing a presentation separately and then merging the work can make the final product have a disconnected appearance.”

A popular software that students currently use for collaboration is called Google Docs. It lets users create and edit on the same documents together through the website. They can also use an instant messaging tool to communicate.

“From my experience, it’s mostly been like divide and conquer. Splitting up the work evenly and then just putting it all together at the end,” said senior speech pathology student Jessi Kerr. “I’ve used Google Docs mostly. That seems to work well.”

Swoodle has the ability for a group of users to video chat, message or use a microphone for collaborating on documents and view images in real-time. This helps them visualize what needs to be worked on at everyone’s convenience.

“This is limited by your bandwidth or processor, theoretically given the most fantastic devices in the world, there is no real limit. We’ve tested it to between 20 and 30 [devices] so far with no limit hit. The video chat function, however, is limited due to screen space, only four video feeds are able to connect at a time,” said Kris Nixon, content crafter for DisplayNote Technologies.

New users are prompted to enter their name, email address and a password. They can add their friends and classmates by accessing their device contacts, Google Plus, Facebook, email address or searching their name. They can also access files through their device or by linking Google Drive, Dropbox or Box accounts for storage.

The user who creates the Swoodle becomes the master user. The master user has the power to lock the document so that other collaborators can only see what the master user does. When unlocked, others have the ability to edit and annotate independently.

“I think Swoodle is very time efficient and makes collaborating with other students a hundred times easier,” Noble said. “Seeing documents and presentations together at the same time through your phone makes group work convenient.”

In addition to collaborating on documents and presentations, Swoodle gives users the ability to view and comment on uploaded images together through video chat or microphone.

Nixon mentions that his manager had the idea of accessing images together with other users.

“You know when you go on holiday, post 40 photos on Facebook, and that’s it? You don’t get that in-person interaction when you’re looking at them with a friend,” Nixon said. “Whenever [his manager] went on holiday, he can scroll through and comment on photos with his parents.”

Swoodle was inspired by their own developers since they have offices in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Murcia, Spain. They wanted to be as efficient as possible while being in separate countries.

Users may wonder what the app’s name means and where it comes from. Instead of using brainstorming strategies by focus groups and online polls, the company made a list of names and settled on one they liked best for the app.

“I’d love to give you this whimsical, long-winded tale about how the name Swoodle came to be, but in actual fact it’s nothing more outlandish than ‘the name came to us, and we liked the sound of it, so it stuck,'” Nixon said. “As a company, we’re really into productivity and getting things done.”

In addition to Swoodle, DisplayNote Technologies also has an app called DisplayNote.

“It allows a presenter, such as a teacher, to share what’s on their device or display out to recipient devices in the room,” Nixon said. “DisplayNote is a fantastically usable tool for presentations, Swoodle is all about communicating and collaborating in real time.”

Swoodle is a free app currently available for iOS devices, but developers are currently working on making it accessible for Android users within a couple of weeks. A computer-based version will be offered by December.

“Swoodle is designed to make it as simple as possible to work together on whatever it is you’re working on,” Nixon said.