Online Whiteboards – Defining Features, Applications, Solutions, and More.

With many people operating from remote workspaces, the ability to work together seamlessly is in high demand. Not only do people need a way to connect and communicate online, but they need to collaborate. In comes online whiteboards. 

Online whiteboards do an incredible job connecting workspaces and engaging people in various collaboration activities. They capitalize on the very best parts of traditional collaboration methods and innovate the digital workspace in new and exciting ways. 

In this article, we will outline all of the various advantages and downsides of using and implementing virtual whiteboards while also touching on how they innovate a team’s ability to collaborate. If you are interested in learning more about virtual whiteboards check out our thought lab where you can find many articles about visual collaboration and virtual workshops, two subjects that are highly intertwined with an online whiteboard.

Multiple people working on an online whiteboard, showing the collaborative possibilities.

Online Whiteboard Definition

Online whiteboards are fairly new to the digital workspace and often misunderstood due to their broad application. Our definition of virtual whiteboards is “A shared, online workspace where teams can utilize visual elements in order to express ideas and collaborate together. Just like people use traditional whiteboards to communicate information to each other, online whiteboards act in the same way but are able to integrate multimedia content, interact and contribute in multiple different ways, and lack the limitations of traditional whiteboards. The purpose of these virtual whiteboards is to visualize ideas, communicate with your team, and teach concepts to groups in collaboration”. 

Virtual whiteboards are a tool that helps make up a larger digital workspace and help bring people together. They are critical to expanding your collaborative possibilities online and engaging your team in a positive online workspace.

Given the definition of online whiteboards, you can tell that there are many unique and valuable features that virtual whiteboards share with more traditional methods of collaboration. Virtual whiteboards are effective stimulants of collaboration in the workplace and try to replicate the biggest advantages of traditional whiteboards. Collaborating in the workplace on whiteboards is the pinnacle of collaboration with teams and virtual whiteboards attempt to recreate that collaborative environment in a digital format.

Real-time Collaboration

A staple feature of online whiteboards is their ability to promote real-time collaboration. One of the biggest faults of collaboration done remotely or online is that there is too much lost communication when going back and forth. When you are communicating strictly via email or chat, collaborating becomes cumbersome and ineffective. Having to send stuff back and forth is of no help when you always feel like you’re one step behind each other and there is no solid guidepost for your goals. This is what makes working on traditional whiteboards so effective. There is no communication gap when working on a shared board together, and along with your ability to easily communicate with your team, you are also able to visualize all of their contributions and ideas.

Person contributing in a virtual workspace demonstrating the versatility they hold.

Virtual whiteboards replicate this environment and allow for people to add contributions in real-time so there is no delay in communication. This is one of the defining features of virtual whiteboards that does a great job replicating the ability to work in real-time which is touted by traditional collaboration methods and traditional whiteboards. Other than being in a physical room with your team, virtual whiteboards share all of the important features of traditional whiteboards and more. You can communicate without delay and have a visual aid to assist in your understanding of everyone’s contributions and thought processes.

Shared space between workers

Another feature of traditional collaboration that virtual whiteboards seek to replicate is the shared space between entire teams. When whiteboarding traditionally, you take for granted how simple and helpful it is to work in the same space with other people, contributing and seeing the shared board together. Unless you are using a virtual whiteboard, this is a feature that is missing from the online workspace. Lacking a shared space makes working together much harder and negates your ability to tackle complex activities and ideas. Without a way to visualize your thoughts, collaboration stagnates and becomes very difficult to comprehend and understand people’s ideas and contributions. Not only is it hard to understand what they’re thinking, but because of a lack of a shared visual aid, it is also really hard to actually see and visualize their thought process.

Virtual whiteboards fix this problem and allow people to share a collaborative space from anywhere in the world. This means that no matter the location or if you’re working remotely, you will be able to collaborate on a shared space with your team. This is critical in order to meet the goals of your teamwork session and is incredibly helpful to those who are in need of workspace collaboration. Without the use of a shared board, there would be little collaborative value shared between workers going back and forth, and there would be no source document for them to reference and contribute to. Without these items, working together in an online workspace lacks the punch that it packs traditionally, but thanks to virtual whiteboards you can share a space and reap the benefits of collaboration from anywhere.

Multi-tiered workspace demonstrating interactions through online whiteboards and workspaces.

Ability to create unique structure

One of the things that makes traditional collaboration so fluent between teams is not only their ability to communicate in real-time but to be able to visualize these contributions and have people add elements to the board. Traditional whiteboards are the pinnacle of quick and effective collaboration and allow teams to easily make diverse contributions for everyone to see. This ability is something that virtual whiteboards bring to the table as well, and something that other tools struggle to incorporate. Without the functionality of drawing and visualizing contributions, online workspaces lack the shared understanding of a space that traditional teams utilize.

Virtual whiteboards do a tremendous job of allowing people to make edits and tangible contributions in a shared space. Not only are they able to contribute in a meaningful and proactive way, but they can also do so within a specially crafted structure. Some other online tools allow you to manipulate visual elements and try to use them, but no other tools really allow you to incorporate your own structure into your collaboration. Being able to implement structure and edit it to your liking makes using an online whiteboard simple and versatile. Because of this, you are never limited in any specific use case and can implement virtual whiteboards into any activity. 

Virtual whiteboards gain significance and usability outside of whiteboarding because of this. Traditionally, whiteboards are used for brainstorming or whiteboarding, and teams are fairly limited on the capabilities of a whiteboard. Now, because of the ability to add structure and use them in various unique scenarios, their usability transcends past whiteboarding into many new areas.

This versatility means that virtual whiteboards do a great job replicating the environment created by traditional whiteboards and provide the unique structure which makes collaboration so effective.

Multiple connected workspaces showing how digital workspaces connect people from everywhere.

Differences and Similarities

Virtual whiteboards, at their core, are meant to simulate and replicate what traditional whiteboards do so well. What this is, is a pure collaborative environment. Not only is collaboration easy on a whiteboard but you can communicate a vast number of ideas quickly and through a shared visual medium. Even with this replication in mind, there are some significant differences between the two kinds of boards that are important to understand. 

The biggest similarity between the two boards is the shared collaborative space they consist of and the goals that people have when using them. Both boards at their core are a space that is used by teams to visualize ideas and contributions. Other than that, they both bring people together for the same reasons and that’s (more or less) the extent of the similarities.

Virtual whiteboards have many features that go past the limitations of traditional whiteboards and establish them as one of the best tools on the market for teams that are collaborating digitally.

These features include making your board a living document, pushing the limits of accessibility, being able to use multiple modes of collaboration and switch between them instantaneously, being able to create workflows in an instant with multiple different templates, and being able to use pre-made templates to jump right into collaboration.

All of these are important distinguishing features of online whiteboards, and they will all be discussed in more depth when we go over the innovative features of online whiteboards.

Common Questions about Virtual Whiteboards

Virtual whiteboards are starting to gain traction with many teams that are moving to online workspaces, and when teams/individuals move to something new it is very common to have a lot of questions/doubts. In this section, we will outline some common questions that people have when introducing visual collaboration into their workspace and do our best to answer them.

A visual depiction of a workflow representing how online whiteboards stimulate workplace efficiency.

How does sharing and contributing work?

Sharing and contributing is a common concern for people using virtual whiteboards because it is the central use case they will interact with. Contributing is incredibly easy when using online whiteboards and it can occur as simply as a single click. Virtual whiteboards are accessible from anywhere and from most devices which means that you can make contributions from wherever, even when collaborating from a virtual environment. 

The specific mechanisms of collaboration differ on different tools, but there are usually multiple ways you can edit a board and make contributions. These interactions revolve around clicking and placing sticky notes or dragging them around in order to fit them into your structure. There are other modes that involve incognito additions which can develop into different activities your team can do in an effort to drive contributions by the entire team.

Sharing these boards is another concern people have. When working in a virtual workspace, everyone has gone through a zoom invitation that doesn’t work, links that are misplaced, and things of that nature. Because of this, it’s only logical that you wonder about the sharing capabilities of virtual whiteboards. Sharing these boards is incredibly easy and they are accessible by anyone. You might need to make an account in order to contribute depending on the tool, but you can access any shared board as quickly as a click and you are able to collaborate instantly (depending on the permissions you’re given). Sharing boards throughout a workspace is super easy and makes collaboration between people seamless.

Do you need an account? How do payment options work?

There are a lot of different options for payments and you do need accounts on every major platform in order to work collaboratively. Uniquely, however, you don’t need an account to draw on an online whiteboard with the Aww app. On this platform, you only need to share a URL and you will start working on the board with people. You can, however, create a profile and begin collaborating and using more features if you need.

On most apps, you need to sign up for a free account in order to access the collaborative features. These features will always be limited on the free version, and most renowned programs limit you to a couple of free boards or just 30 days of free use in order to promote paid plans. If you are just looking to test them out this is a great option and gives you full access to all of the features to let you truly decide if you want to use them long term.

People working on online whiteboards to maximize their efficiency.

Pricing is an interesting give and take, and depending on your needs as a team you shouldn’t shrug off these options simply because they have pricing requirements. If you are working as part of a small team that collaborates frequently, the base subscriptions won’t cost more than ~$15 a month, which for a fairly small team isn’t a huge fee considering the powerful collaboration tool you receive in return. 

On the other hand, if you are working as part of a large team or leading multiple teams, you might think that online whiteboards would be too expensive of an option for so many people. But consider the amount of money you’re saving by not working on everything in person. Especially if you’re leading larger-scale workshops, organizing everything, renting the space, and paying for travel and set-up costs takes a lot of time and no small amount of money. Through this lens, you’re actually saving a decent amount of money by paying for everyone to use these tools.

That being said, pretty much every tool will make you pay eventually in order to access the best features they have to offer, and this simply will be a decision that you and your team need to make together in order to determine if it’s right for you.

Do you need a video conferencing tool as well?

Technically no, but it’s highly recommended that you use one alongside your virtual whiteboard. Online whiteboards function singularly and you can collaborate on them without the use of any exterior tools, but as most people know from working in online workspaces, video conferencing software like google meeting or zoom is irreplaceable in an online work environment. This is the same case when using virtual whiteboards, and being able to communicate with someone in real-time makes working on the whiteboard just as effective, if not more effective, than working on one in person. Virtual whiteboards often have specific plugins dedicated to these calling tools which makes using them simultaneously very easy and effective.

Problems with traditional collaboration & Solutions through virtual whiteboards

Although conventional collaboration methods and traditional whiteboards are the pinnacle of in-person collaboration, they are not without their faults. Using whiteboards has always come with its own unique set of struggles especially as workspaces digitize and modernize. Adopting new technology is important to keep up with the modern workspace and traditional whiteboards struggle to keep up with these adaptations. Below, we will outline some of the recurring issues people experience with traditional whiteboarding methods and detail how virtual whiteboards provide unique and effective solutions to these problems.

A virtual whiteboard showing people working together on a shared space.

Space Limitations

Traditional whiteboards are a great catalyst for collaboration while you’re using them, but can’t always accommodate as many people or ideas as you’d like. In order to have an effective whiteboarding session, you need to have everyone in the same room, active and contributing. Because everyone in the room needs to be able to have a say, you can only have a certain number of people who are able to contribute and fit into the session. This limits the number of people you can have working on a board or document at one and limits the overall collaborative potential of your team. Not only are you limited by room space, but also you’re limited by the board space as well. Traditional whiteboards are a finite resource, and you can’t expand them infinitely. This means that when you fill it up either have to start erasing or move to another space to add more ideas. Besides running out of space, your space can also be infringed upon by other objects (walls, pillars, anything in the way). This makes it a lot harder to work on your board and harder to focus on your whiteboarding session in general.

The physical limitations extend further than the size of the board and affect the amount of content you can contribute to the space in general. Especially with more modern workspaces, teams rely heavily on the internet for their research, data, design, and everything in between. It makes it hard to collaborate on a physical board when you want to add references or links to outside content that you can’t access without the internet. This means that you have to rely on the shared understanding of your team and cannot directly imbed references or relevant links that would assist in your collaboration.

The problems of space limitations, whether they be your board space or space for people, are easily solved by virtual whiteboards. Due to their ability to gather large numbers of people in the same shared room, online whiteboards circumvent the limitations of having people in the same room. Another feature of theirs that solves the problem of limited board space is their unlimited zooming capabilities. Online whiteboards are able to engage unlimited board space thanks to the zooming functionality they possess. This means that no matter what you need to do, there will always be enough space to get it done.

These platforms allow you to easily integrate rich HTML content into your boards or your workspace, solving the struggle with traditional whiteboards. You can easily embed a link and support multimedia content on any board so that your entire team can access and use the content you are integrating. Not only can you do this directly on the whiteboard, but most tools have other methods of integration that are very intuitive and helpful when posting links or multimedia content. This could be either chat functions, message boards, or resource tabs where your whole team can access the content.

Person contributing to an online whiteboard.

Competition of Contributions 

When collaborating traditionally, you can find yourself in competition about who has the best work, who says the most stuff, and whose contributions are most effective. While most would say that workplace competition is a good thing and drives productivity when it happens during collaboration it doesn’t have the same connotations. When certain people dominate the conversation around what others contribute and what is correct, it makes the other people in the team feel less comfortable participating and adding content to the board. Especially when working in person, this social and physical intimidation is very hard to overcome for some people and results in real problems when collaborating.

Online whiteboards have a very unique solution to this problem, and it’s one that in-person whiteboards could never replicate. When working on a shared board online, you can activate an incognito mode which makes all changes by other users invisible to you, you can only see the changes that you make. This mode is accessible on most virtual whiteboards which makes it an industry standard for people using these tools. Having an incognito mode is a game-changer for people who need more space to think freely and contribute with ease, and through this method, they can do just that. 

This is also useful not only when you want to avoid the domination of certain parties during collaboration, but if you want to separate people’s methods/routes of thought. When doing this, you can make sure everyone has very individualized thought processes and contributions, and then when you turn off incognito people will be able to see what their colleagues wrote and analyze that for inspiration based on their own ideas. This provides an increased level of diversity of thought within teams and helps them overcome the barriers of traditional collaboration.

Lack of Structure 

People tend to resist collaboration when there aren’t clear objectives laid out on the table and a hazy measurement of success or accomplishment. On top of this, they don’t always know what to expect from their teammates during their collaboration sessions. This lack of structure and clear expectations is common during traditional collaboration sessions and is a cause for confusion among members and team leaders alike. Not only does lack of structure mean people have a harder time collaborating, but it also means they are often disinterested in the process in general. A lack of guidance disincentivizes people from working together and coming forward with contributions, which halts the collaborative process altogether. For these reasons, a lack of structure and a general disinterest in the collaborative process are big problems people run into with traditional collaboration.

Lack of structure and obvious hierarchy is one of the most common problems with whiteboarding, and it is something that online whiteboards take into careful consideration. Providing structure is something that inherently improves whiteboarding. It allows for people to better understand each other’s thoughts and contributions, while also giving everyone more direction as individuals. 

Virtual whiteboards helping people connect and work efficiently.

Virtual whiteboards come with a ton of different options when it comes to structure. You can select from hundreds of pre-made templates to use in your whiteboarding session ranging from simple frameworks to complex canvases and you can use whichever best aligns with your team’s personal needs. 

Not only can you use many different pre-made templates, but you can also create your own structure from scratch. If the pre-made structures didn’t align directly with your team’s goals, you can easily create one of your own to fit your specific needs. The beautiful thing about this is you can use this template over and over again. 

For teams that do have specific needs and processes, this ability changes your ability to diagram and collaborate quickly and efficiently. Virtual whiteboards, through their streamlined and structured approach, inherently change how you whiteboard in your digital workspace.

Lack of Transparency 

Collaboration is a process that relies heavily on people’s ability to work together and trust each other. With a lack of structure in a traditional whiteboard, however, contributions can sometimes not really fit the purpose of the whiteboarding session. This means that the results may be confusing at times, and you might not know what your team members are referencing when making edits and contributing content to the board.

Online whiteboards have a solid solution for this, however, and it comes in the form of a purposefully structured approach to whiteboarding, whether that structure is manual or pre-made. When you implement structure into your boards, you create more avenues for understanding between your teammates and an inherently visual understanding of people’s contributions and ideas. When they contribute on a board that is split up into various visual elements, everyone knows exactly what an idea is referring to when it is placed in a certain placeholder. There is always a possibility of a misunderstanding when people are communicating and working together and sharing ideas, but the chances of this go down significantly when they are given visual aids to help them in understanding each other.

Because of the simple yet effective forms of structure that online whiteboards provide to their users and teams, there is more transparency between people when they’re sharing ideas and working together, which leads to greater overall understanding and cohesion within their teams.

Everyone who is experienced with using traditional whiteboards understands that there are a lot of different problems that come with them. Not only when you’re collaborating, but with their functionality in general. While they are still considered the pinnacle of easy in-person collaboration, virtual whiteboards are able to spot and overcome many of these difficulties thanks to their collaborative innovations. Follow along as we proceed to detail many of these innovations in the next section.

Virtual Whiteboard Innovations

We have discussed the fact that virtual whiteboards take leaps forward in terms of innovating the workspace and teams’ ability to collaborate, but it’s time we really go into detail about these specific innovations. Without a solid understanding of why these items are so crucial to online teams, their importance might wane slightly. It’s critical to emphasize how effective online whiteboards are in engaging people in a shared space where there is no other alternative, and how they take the best collaboration tool there is and make a successful transition online. Here are some of the biggest virtual whiteboard innovations.

People working on a virtual whiteboard in order to achieve their goals.

Structured Templates

Being able to access and create hundreds of pre-structured collaboration templates is one of the biggest innovations surrounding virtual whiteboards. When collaborating traditionally, it is impossible to pick up a unique and game-changing structure so quickly and efficiently. Doing so usually takes a lot of preparation and knowledge, but with online whiteboards, it’s as easy as simply clicking and going. 

Being able to use any pre-made template or structured whiteboard session makes collaboration on online whiteboards incredibly efficient. Not only is it efficient, but it’s accessible too. You don’t need to be an expert on business models in order to create and collaborate on one with your entire team. You receive accurate and direct instructions on how to best use the templates and you then use them with your whole team in an efficient manner.

Being able to use pre-made templates makes whiteboarding sessions incredibly easy and versatile, and virtual whiteboards also provide the ability to create your own structure and template. By creating your own personalized structure, online whiteboards make collaboration accurate to your specific goals and orientation. The creation of your team’s personal structure means you can guarantee that all of your contributions will be pointed directly towards your specific goals. This makes the entire whiteboarding process much easier and simplistic and removes concerns about you not getting the desired end product or your results not being pointed directly at your goals.

By providing the ability to use any established, pre-structured, template while also allowing you to create your own template from scratch to fit your team’s specific needs, virtual whiteboards innovate the workspace and innovate how your team collaborates.

Multiple Modes of Interaction

Due to the inherent structure provided by online whiteboards, they allow people to work on many different templates or boards. This is super helpful to teams that need versatility in their brainstorming efforts. Not only do virtual whiteboards offer versatility in the types of structure that they have, but they also develop multiple different mediums of interaction you can use to brainstorm with.

On online whiteboards, you have the opportunity to change not only the board you’re working on but the technique that your team uses to work on it. These tools have functions that allow you to create specific areas for notes and place them in defined placeholders, drag and drop them wherever you want, vote and eliminate your favorite and least favorite options, focus on individual areas and contributions, and more. You can also negate the need to use sticky notes at all and allow people to draw, message, or comment on what they see as necessary. 

All of these methods of interaction are mostly usable through traditional methods but it’s very hard to transition between multiple of them in the same flow and keep everyone on the same page. Virtually there is much more of a shared understanding for people using different interactive methods and it becomes easier for users to pick up, grasp, and execute these modes of interaction.

Being able to pivot between multiple different modes of interaction is a key resource for virtual whiteboards and one that is also tremendously valuable to any team using them. This is something traditional collaboration cannot accommodate and is a trademark innovation of online whiteboards.

Map of people contributing ideas and thoughts to a shared space.

Transition between Flows

Similar to the ability to transition between modes of interaction, online whiteboards also allow you to transition between flows quickly and efficiently. Something that virtual whiteboards pride themselves on is the ability to switch between templates at ease. Not only can you easily switch between templates, but you can transition between entire workflows in an instant. 

Especially when working in digital workspaces, people try and capitalize on the features that are more present online than in person. One of those features is the versatility of online workspaces. Online whiteboards allow you to work on different projects and you can transition between them with ease, collaborating with teams and developing next steps all in the same process.

Being able to transition seamlessly between flows and templates means that you can complete multiple collaboration stages and follow through in the same instance, without having to waste time with organization and semantics. This is something that is very difficult for traditional collaboration to mimic and something that benefits highly from the shared nature of online workspaces.

Quick transitions are an innovative practice of virtual whiteboards that are made possible thanks to the online workspace they are a part of. Without this feature, this transition simply isn’t possible.

Integrated Task Management

Virtual whiteboards allow teams to work together seamlessly on any template or flow they need and transition between them with ease. While this is brilliant for brainstorming sessions, there is still a missing link that traditional collaboration is yet to fill. Normally, when you’re working in a brainstorming process, or on a given template, you eventually come to a result, or a fork. There is a need to take action and move forward. Especially when you are doing workshops, this action/call to action can sometimes be lacking because there is a gap that needs to be crossed between your collaboration and the next steps you need to take.

When working on a virtual whiteboard, however, this gap is minimized and you can easily carry momentum through to your next steps. Most tools incorporate internal ways of doing this. For example, Mural (a common digital whiteboard used by many) has pre-made templates organized into kanban frameworks and stakeholder maps so you can quickly put your contributions into that and plan your path forward. 

Programs like Fresco, however, have an integrated, lightweight task management tool so that no matter what flow or board you’re using you can easily integrate your task management right into the tool. Being able to assign tasks and track their status is a really important and versatile feature of virtual whiteboards and something that is innovative in the world of collaboration.

Whether it is an integrated task manager or a streamlined transition between templates, virtual whiteboards innovate your ability to manage your team’s future tasks and plan your next steps with ease.

Solutions to Physical Restrictions

Whiteboards can get very convoluted as you continue to make contributions on them and they fill up quickly. Especially with in-person boards, as you continue to collaborate and brainstorm and fill up the board, it gets increasingly cramped and harder to make contributions or see the diagrams of people’s thoughts. This is a common issue in traditional collaboration and a tough one to solve due to physical restraints. These physical restrictions largely revolve around the limited size of the board and an inability to comprehend cluttered notes.

Dichotomy of people working traditionally vs when using online whiteboards.

Virtual whiteboards have multiple different solutions to the problems of physical restrictions within the workspace. One of these solutions is the ability to focus on a single person’s contributions among the large and convoluted whiteboard. Focus view within online whiteboards allows everyone in the workspace to focus on a more narrow aspect of the virtual whiteboard. One example is looking only at one person’s contributions. Here, you could focus on someone’s work through each different section of the whiteboard, allowing you to track their thinking process and look at how their individual and unique thought process contributes to each of your goals/categories/questions. Not only do you get to see their specific point of view, but you can change the people to see how each different person contributes in their own unique way. Being able to break down people’s thought processes and analyze the way they think about specific elements is really helpful for teams to gain a new perspective on the work they’ve done and how to move forward knowing another unique reference point.

Another option for a focus view would be to focus on all contributions in a smaller section. For example, if you are conducting a SWOT analysis, targeting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you could simply focus on the strengths section to highlight and analyze all of the contributions there. This small-scale analysis helps people overcome the daunting nature of a packed whiteboard and also helps people focus their thought process on individual elements rather than the macro goals associated.

Not only does focusing people’s views broaden their ability to reach new ideas and possibilities through a greater understanding of each other’s thought process, but it also de-clutters the whiteboard that everyone is working on.

Another solution for a cluttered board is to simply increase the size of the board. This may seem redundant or simplistic, but due to the zooming capabilities and lack of physical restrictions of virtual whiteboards, this is a really powerful solution for teams that struggle with the amount of physical space they have. Unlimited board space is one of the most popular solutions that online whiteboards provide. It allows people to increase the size and therefore the potential of their boards, and also means that they aren’t restricted in their collaborative efforts. No more moving your post-its to the wall when you are running out of space, you can simply create more room due to virtual whiteboards.

These solutions help solve one of the most common problems that people experience through traditional whiteboards and help further innovate how people collaborate through online workspaces.

Living Documents & Workspaces

One of the best parts of virtual whiteboards is the ability to work from anywhere, with anyone. This is something that could never be achieved by traditional whiteboarding due to physical limitations. With online whiteboards, you are able to work across the globe with anybody you need. This means that teams can be moved internationally and collaboration can occur with experts across the world, not just in physical proximity.

Another innovation that occurs from the accessibility of online whiteboards is that your workspace becomes a living document that can be accessed, contributed to, and learned from at any time. Virtual whiteboards serve as permanent documentation of your collaboration sessions, no matter what purpose they serve. By making this shared space accessible and referable you create an entirely new platform for your previous collaborative endeavors.

This completely transforms what it means to have a whiteboard and complete a whiteboarding session. No longer will your contributions be relegated to a picture or lost forever when your collaboration session is finished. Now there is a permanent record of all the contributions, success, and ideas that your team dreams up. This makes your virtual workspace a living document rather than something that only lives through notes or pictures. You can now learn from your results at any time, go right to the board to reference them, and carry forward important takeaways to other pertinent opportunities.

The innovative capability virtual whiteboards possess of being able to alter the essence of your workspace and create a living document out of whiteboarding sessions is unheard of and makes online whiteboards a necessity for virtual workshops and collaboration.

Information sharing across virtual whiteboards.

Virtual Whiteboard Use Cases

Virtual Workshops

Virtual workshops are very common instances of whiteboarding and virtual whiteboards create a very unique and creative place for virtual workshops. Since the installment of remote workspaces, conferences and workshops have been more or less suspended from a normal continuance. In their leave, however, virtual workshops have been able to crop up as a new and innovative form of meetings for teams and organizations to conduct online.

There are a lot of different advantages to holding your workshops online. For example, when you have an online workshop you are able to cut most of the cost out of the equation. This means you can hold them more often or change the circumstances because you are not limited by price. This money can also go into some other important resources. 

Thanks to a lack of physical restrictions, holding workshops virtually allows you to engage more people than previously possible. One of the most important advantages of using a virtual whiteboard in your workshop is to engage all of your participants. Virtual whiteboards allow for everyone to participate in multiple different activities all at the same time. This means that not only can people contribute alongside each other but they can also review their contributions and learn from the materials going forward. 

This is one of the biggest complaints with workshops or conferences is that there is no finality of the takeaways. With virtual whiteboards, however, these takeaways are forever cemented and accessible, making that knowledge accessible too.


Brainstorming activities are critical to any team working together in the modern world and apply to many different unique scenarios. Brainstorming is vital and using a whiteboard for facilitation is critical as well. Online whiteboards give teams the versatility and flexibility to manage brainstorming with anyone from anywhere. More minds are always important when dreaming up new ideas, so this increased collaborative potential is a great asset to teams everywhere.

Not only can you use more people, but you can use more templates as well. Online whiteboards make it incredibly easy to integrate different types of structure into your brainstorming in order to better direct and align your team towards your specific goals. Whether it be through a structured approach of your creation or an established one, online whiteboards facilitate brainstorming on an entirely new level.

Collaborate in Online Meetings

Meetings through Zoom can be tedious and unnecessary, and they can also lack a tangible punch. It’s obviously very important to meet over a call regularly with your team, but it’s only half of the battle. 

Teams are lacking a shared online workspace they can collaborate and deliberate on together, and that’s exactly what online whiteboards give them. Online whiteboards help teams feel more connected through their ability to access each others’ contributions together. This feature of virtual whiteboards improves team meetings online and gives them more lasting importance.

Example of a customer journey map, one of the primary use cases of online whiteboards.

Mind Maps & Journey Maps

Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and understanding their needs is a very important step in any business model or design thinking exercise, and doing so online without a shared space is very difficult. 

It’s super important to be able to work in this shared environment in order to visualize thoughts and contributions, and physically map out this journey or these expressions. Online whiteboards give teams the ability to create journey maps with ease, whether it be through sticky notes or actually using a complex journey map canvas. Being able to not only work together online on mapping exercises but also utilize a structure dedicated to customer mapping is critical to producing efficient results. 

Either way, these activities are made much easier through the structured and shared approach offered by online whiteboards.

Classroom Engagement

Not only can you engage an entire classroom at once on the same board but virtual whiteboards expand the language learning possibilities across the globe, something that has been impossible before these whiteboards were present. 

Teaching in a normal classroom setting is positive using virtual whiteboards and allows you to engage the entire classroom. You can do multiple different activities and use visually pleasing tools in order to give students channels of the contribution that make learning more engaging. Especially in times like this, it can be really hard to keep students involved and present, and providing engaging new technology can keep students involved and interested in learning.

Teaching languages opens up an entirely new world of possibilities through virtual whiteboards. Before you could use a shared platform online, teaching languages from a distance was borderline impossible because you need a visual aid that accompanies your teaching. With virtual whiteboards, however, you now have that exact tool. Not only can you share visuals but you can actively contribute and collaborate on the board with whoever you are teaching to or learning from.

This opens up a world of possibilities for teachers and students to expand their abilities internationally. Expert teachers can access students in need across the world and students who need a native-speaking teacher now have that at their disposal. Virtual whiteboards are the perfect tools to expand the ability of language learning and exchange to the entire world.


Virtual whiteboards are on the cutting edge of innovation in the online workspace and they possess capabilities to change how people collaborate online altogether. Hopefully, this guide helped you realize the collaborative potential of online whiteboards. Check out our post on the TryMyUI Blog to learn about 4 exercises to try in your next virtual whiteboarding session.


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