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Why collaborative rich text editing is essential for modern products

March 11th, 2021

6 min read

Stylized graphic showing three people reaching into the center, pointing and holding colored shapes.

Written by

Elise Bentley


Developer Insights

We’ve shared previously why real-time collaboration is the new responsive design

Collaborative rich text editing is a huge trend in 2021 - and it’s not going anywhere. In 2020/21, the top 3 tools preferred by teams using message-based platforms include collaborative document editing (57%), team collaboration platform/apps (52%), and online video conferencing (19%). If you’re building a modern product, users will likely expect collaboration, so you need to be ready to deliver it.

Let’s take a closer look at collaboration trends and how they might impact text editing functions within your app or product.

6 collaboration trends impacting developers

1. The digital workplace

One ongoing trend impacting developers is the move towards digital workplaces. More organizations are keen to develop a connected environment that gives people instant access to what they need to do their work. 

Ideally, businesses want more agile, flexible software that enables:

  • Staff to quickly and easily get in touch with one another
  • Real-time updates to software
  • Quick access to files regardless of where the user is located
  • Seamless communication between in-house and remote staff
  • Access via both desktop and mobile devices

The move towards the digital workplace has been driven by bigger trends, like demand for greater flexibility, working from home, increased productivity, and employee satisfaction. And it’s been enabled by greater adoption of cloud technologies. In 2019, enterprise spending on cloud exceeded total spend on data center hardware and software, and this trend is set to continue indefinitely. From Tiny’s perspective, we know the usage of our Cloud has continued to grow over 300% in the last few years.

As more organizations adopt digital workplaces, real-time collaboration has become a natural extension of the core features. To keep up with these trends, developers need to consider how they can incorporate more collaborative features, like a collaborative text editor.

2. Remote work and education

Screenshot from Google trends on the term
Google Trends shows a spike in searches for collaboration tools during the
early stages of the pandemic.

We’ve seen an increase in decentralized workforces following COVID-19, where fewer organizations are based in a single location, and many employees now work from home. Working together now relies on collaborative software solutions, like chat applications (like Slack), video calling (like Zoom), and live document editors (like Google Docs). Similar changes face schools and universities around the world, with some classes shifting to 100% online learning, and others adopting a blended approach. But even in a post-pandemic world, this trend is set to continue. 

On average, CEOs surveyed in late 2020 anticipated that 36% of their employees will work remotely in January 2022, compared to 13% before the crisis. Tiny as a company has gone remote first, something our team, and our infrastructure has embraced. 

This huge shift over a very short period of time has created a massive demand for collaborative rich text editing features in software products, and an influx of new options to the market. In fact, in 2020/21, the top growing areas of collaboration include teamwork apps, communication platforms, and video platforms.

In order to stay competitive, modern products must consider how they can meet the needs of users that are looking for new ways to collaborate online. Whether that’s incorporating a collaborative text editor, live chat functions, track changes, cloud-based sharing, or real-time collaborative design. 

By the way, if your team is new to working from home or looking for some ideas to make remote work more effective, you might like to check out our remote collaboration tips blog.

3. Increased productivity and efficiency

Businesses and individuals are always looking for more productive, and efficient, ways to get things done. But, the last year has delivered businesses a unique opportunity to accelerate some changes that were already underway. With the move to remote work, many organizations have uncovered new tools and workflows that have led to improved productivity.

For example, tools that offer collaborative text editing can help to reduce back-and-forth and minimize delays by enabling real-time feedback and multiple authors to work in synchronization. Plus, they overcome version control issues and clunky workflows dictated by older, outdated software applications. 

Users are switching to apps that offer streamlined experiences with seamless collaboration in their apps because they know it will improve their productivity and efficiency. Products that deliver this experience will gain market share.

4. Single source of truth

Previously, organizations would store information, data, and processes in different places across multiple pieces of software - and overall, this is still the case. But over the last couple of years, we’ve started to see a shift towards organizations adopting solutions that offer a single source of truth. 

With all their information in one place, organizations can make better decisions faster. They can be more transparent, improve data security and efficiency, avoid duplicate copies of information, and remove work silos. 

Some developers are addressing this need through creating the “all-in-one” product - although this is tricky to pull off, as no product does all things well. Others are investing heavily in integration so that their product can talk to other tools and software. For example, on the Tiny website, our billing platform needs to integrate with our finance software, which also needs to integrate with our proposal system and our CRM. Five different things need to be able to talk to each other to get a single workflow done.

Collaborative rich text editing is another practical (and relatively simple) way developers can make this happen in their products, because it brings people together into one location. It avoids the need for multiple copies of a document and speeds up the content creation process.

5. Improved mobile experiences

We’re still seeing a shift towards mobile accessibility, as users expect a convenient, intuitive experience no matter where they are, and no matter what device they’re on. Collaboration on mobile is especially valuable, as it means that managers can stay in the loop and teams can contribute to tasks or projects while they’re out and about. Just like the way we work, collaboration is no longer limited by where you’re located or what device you’re on. 

When looking for a collaborative rich text editor, it’s important to ensure it can deliver a solid user experience on mobile, as well as desktop.

6. Better information security

Data breaches and cyber attacks put business reputations, customers, employees, and partners at risk - and can be costly and difficult to recover from. With more people collaborating remotely and increasing numbers of cybersecurity attacks, organizations are more focused than ever on protecting company information. 

When comparing collaborative features and components for your product, it’s important to consider security. What security measures are in place? How is the data being stored? And how can you support a collaborative user experience without bringing in unwanted collaborators? As a developer, you need to be ready to answer questions and concerns about security, and help your customers minimize their risks.

The future is collaborative

The future is collaborative - and the future of collaboration is supported by better software. Smart organizations are already investing in products that enable their teams to collaborate, whether it’s content creation, designing, communicating, or something else. Interest in collaborative solutions will continue to grow as more workplaces adopt cloud-based technology and remote work practices. 

If you’re building a modern product, it’s time to start thinking about how you can enable greater collaboration between users. Developers that help users and teams to adopt more collaborative practices will increase market share and improve user retention, throughout 2021 and beyond.

Thinking about incorporating a collaborative rich text editor? Good news! Real-time collaboration is coming to TinyMCE and has already been launched as a closed beta for our cloud product. If you’d like to join the beta or hear more about RTC in Tiny, register your interest here.

What do you think about collaborative text editing? Are you exploring this feature for your product? Let’s continue the conversation over on Twitter @joinTiny

byElise Bentley

VP of Marketing at Tiny. Elise has marketing experience across a range of industries and organisation sizes, and loves to blend the creative aspect of marketing together with data to develop engaging and effective marketing strategies and campaigns.

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