Google vs. Zoho for Handouts: Reader Feedback
Yesterday I put up two versions of online handouts I'm considering for my March 27 webinar on e-portfolios--one using Google Notebook and the other using Zoho Notebook--and asked for reader votes and feedback on which version to use. As usual, I was richly rewarded.
The majority of readers (67%) voted for Zoho. Like me, they were attracted to its look and feel. Claudia Escribano thought it was more "digestible." Mike Taylor thought the navigation was "super-simple" and he liked how you can embed items into the notebook, something I thought was cool too.
But, there are two major issues with Zoho. First I heard from Britt Watwood, who sent me this screencast of his walk through Zoho where he discovered that the commentary I'd added to one of the sample portfolios I embedded in the notebook was floating on top of the portfolio, like this:
This didn't happen for me, so I'm guessing that it could be a browser issue. Regardless, it obviously gets in the way of Zoho's effectiveness. One fix would be to remove the text object I embedded in the Notebook page and make my comments on each portfolio using Zoho's comments feature. The downside of that, though, is that comments aren't readily apparent--I would have to make sure that people knew to read the comments.
The other biggie, which may be a deal-breaker is the fact that you can't print a Zoho Notebook. One of the great things about Zoho is that you can embed objects into a page, so you can have text, a video, a website and audio all in one Notebook page. To do this, though, you're using frames, and of course frames don't print well.
I'd actually discovered this several days ago and decided that if the interface was good enough, I was willing to do a print version of the handouts in a PDF. But I'm having second thoughts about this--do I really want to add one more thing to my work load? Technology should make things easier, not add another step in my process. One major advantage of Google Notebook is that you can easily print it, so I only have to do the work once.
I'm still in the decision-making phase here, although leaning toward Google, much as I love Zoho. I think it's the combo of floating text AND printing issues. One or the other I could deal with, but not sure I want to deal with both. That could change of course.
I'm seeing that same problem with your commentary text being shown over top of the other content. Also is seems that the one where that happens is showing the content "full screen" vs others that seem to be limited to a smaller, limited area of the available screen space.
See here: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2147/2345896328_b9a01b4224_o.jpg
This might be another point for the Google Notebook version.
Posted by: Mike Taylor | March 19, 2008 at 12:51 PM
Michele & Mike : Thanks for your feedback!
Michele, your comment can be placed at the end of the embedded web page. I have made an example book.
As seen in page 'Shari Ward 1', Michele's comment can be drag-dropped to the page's bottom. And in 'Shari Ward 2', I have placed Michele's comment in the 'Comments' section, giving a tip to the readers to click on 'Comments' for reading comments & to add their own.
Printing of Zoho Notebook pages is in our roadmap. Since the objects can be moved around easily, overlaps may happen & printing might suffer. And we will have to strip of embedded media like audio/video files as well. We are looking at ways in solving the above.
Posted by: Arvind | March 20, 2008 at 04:10 AM