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Confluence represents an essential tool of collaboration for both Scandio and a lot of our customers. Especially in case of cooperative work within small as well as large teams Confluence established itself in the market for quite some time. But there is still a lot of potential of Confluence which can be exploited in the future. 

Obstacles in the workflow

When using Confluence as a project management platform, the focus is - without dispute - on the requirement definement - thus on the common development and definition of new requirements. Furthermore it goes for organization, the capture of meeting notes and the centralized documentation of planned and already realized projects. 

Particularly during the designing process we frequently detected that Confluence “out-of-the-box” can thwart the personal workflow. Especially during stages of development when graphics like mockups or wireframes are major points for discussion, the collaboration can get restricted. Whenever a graphic designer is introducing for example a new mockup, the team members can directly exchange opinions and collect suggestions in Confluence. However, for editing the graphic tool has to be opened again and in turn the modifications have to be imported into Confluence once more. Mainly in case of many small changes a lot of mistakes can occur. The page attachments admittedly exist in Confluence in every version, but this requires a coherent and steady nomenclature which contrary to Confluence leads to overwriting on the local PC. 

Nevertheless the above listed problems can be solved by using add-ons which will be specified in the following. 

Creating & editing - directly in Confluence

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A great advantage of Atlassian products - here in particular of Confluence - is the extension of functions through add-ons. Accordingly there are also some extensions for the use case of graphics - here is just a small excerpt of the current range of tools: Balsamiq, Draw.io, Gliffy, Lucidchart or ProtoShare.

But what exactly is the advantage of using those add-ons?

Besides the already depicted difficulty of versioning on the local system, the use of add-ons also spares the permanent up- and downloading of every single version. To be honest, for this purpose there is also a variety of tools, but why should we implement additional systems when there is basically everything available? 

On top of this the generation and further development of mockups directly in Confluence simplifies the collaboration. Everyone who is entitled to a page in Confluence is able to make changes on mockups without being frightened of clobbering amendments of other team members. In this way additional expensive software or laborious permission settings for versions aren’t necessary anymore. By using the familiar interfaces and because of the excellent integration of add-ons into Confluence getting started couldn’t be easier. Every modification automatically gets added as a version and therefore the overview - also within large teams - never gets lost. 

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In general the established add-ons don’t really differ from each other. For example you can create and edit mockups without leaving your own Confluence page. This is a special feature of add-on solutions, especially when it comes to sensitive data. When running Confluence on the own server - regardless of whether cloud-based or on a dedicated server - all data will remain on the own server, it will be maintained as regular page attachment. With this integration page permissions and backup-mechanisms will be effective without major effort.

If you’ve already worked with similar software solutions, you’ll rediscover all required elements for the creation of wireframes and mockups. There are also a lot of add-ons which provide predefined templates. As a consequence presentable results can be achieved with just a few clicks. Besides the current GUI components for iOS and Android interfaces you can also find numerous other design elements and templates. Because of the fact that it is easy to handle you don’t really recognize that you’re dealing with a website when being in the editing mode, but after saving you’ll find yourself back in the familiar Confluence environment where you can exploit the full potential of Confluence: editing contents, arranging the created graphic, scaling, commenting and every team member can follow the progress and development by getting notifications about amendments.

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When the editing is done, the graphics can be exported without any further effort and they can be forwarded to the client. Because of the fact that Confluence is saving all changes in the background, it is even possible to return to any desired older version.

Conclusion

By integrating a graphic tool as add-on the application area of Confluence can be developed further. Especially the seamless transition between Confluence and add-ons like Gliffy or Lucidchart - together with the immediate saving inside Confluence - offer a extremely high potential to supersede conventional software suites.

Our recommendation as Atlassian expert: Check it out and expand the advantages of Confluence.