Why we’re building Track Changes for the web

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This is the document that inspired us to start Poetica. It contains all the feedback that author Maureen Evans received from her editor about the first draft of a cookbook, Eat Tweet, using Word’s Track Changes feature.

Maureen’s experience of trying to make sense of her editor’s feedback was so frustrating that it got us thinking. How we could make something better: more natural, clear and expressive?

We realised that Track Changes frustrates many people, not just writers. It’s used by everyone from students to corporate lawyers, and what they’re trying to achieve is similar: they want quick, thoughtful and clear feedback on work they’ve done.

In an ideal world, what people would really like is for someone to take a look over their shoulder, and make suggestions in person. Or for someone to scribble suggestions onto a printout of the work: slow but still much easier than emailing Word documents back and forth.

Starting with that simple understanding of how people want to work together, we set out to build something different: a tool for getting feedback on whatever work you’ve done, wherever you’ve created it.

On this blog we’ll be sharing some of what we’ve learned since we started making Poetica.

And you can try out what we’ve been building too — so  sign up here for free access to our private beta.