This is in regards usually to the rounds of revisions or edits that come during or post-production of a web project. Most projects do not have many rounds of this because we are very thorough in proofing but recently we had a rash of extremely fickle clients. Of course, we bill for anything beyond scope post-production so that is not an issue. Internally we use Liquid Planner for project management and it works great but these difficult clients made me painfully aware of a weak link in our workflow, communication.
There are plenty of tools out there that do a good job in communication like slack and even some interesting looking paid services like Wunderlist. The main problem though is that in many cases it would require my client to download an app or something. I don't want to sound like a jerk but many of my clients are not very savvy and asking them to download an app is like asking for one more support ticket and now I'm trying to talk them through how to install something.
As a result we end up using Google Docs because all you really need a google account and a browser. The thing is, they can't even figure out how to use the commenting on Google Docs. So we end up with these docs that have all these color coded notes. None of it gets time-stamped. Things ends up getting done twice or missed completely. Sometimes even multiple documents get made and it's just a total mess to put it nicely.
So I'm seeking some software suggestions and my criteria is:
Client has to be able to access as easily and freely as possible. This means probably in the browser. Preferably something we create and share to them, they are notified via email and can access it with a simple link. That part of Google Docs works brilliantly.
It must be "stupid easy" to use. Even asking them to create an account/login is asking a lot but it's hard to get around at least that so not a deal breaker but if there is a sign up it should be literally no more complex than an email address and password.
Basically the client will want to create a punchlist of things however sometimes it's a question, not a TODO type task. So a bonus would be a way to quickly identify what type of list item it is even if it's just like an icon that gets assigned. When they create a new line maybe it asks, is this a question or a task and then assigns a (?) icon to questions. At a glance we would know then which is which.
Timestamp/log tasks and conversation threads under those tasks and tags who is commenting.
A way for use to tag some conversation threads as "internal only" so that the client can't see some comments if we have to discuss something privately among ourselves.
A way for us to change statuses of list items. For example if something they are asking is out of scope and needs to be quoted as a change order. Will-fix or in-process so they know we're working on it. Maybe even a schedule date we anticipate the task being done. Closed/Checked off items archive as resolved automatically but don't just vanish. Kind of like the issue system in bitbucket/JIRA really if you've used that.
I'm open to a paid service, we're a small team though so we probably can't swing the price-tag on a large enterprise software suite. On our end we would need about 3 or 4 accounts max to manage.
Thanks for your suggestions!