Blog » ForemostList Reviews » Lucidspark Review | PCMag

Lucidspark Review | PCMag

With the rise of remote work, more organizations are understanding why it’s so valuable to give teams the best collaboration apps on the market. Lucidspark is a visual collaboration app, more specifically a whiteboard app. It gives you either blank canvases or templates of boards that you and your teammates use to brainstorm ideas, present information during meetings, and even play icebreaker games while getting to know each other better. Collaboration can happen in real time or asynchronously. 

Lucidspark is a sibling to the app Lucidchart, which took the Editors’ Choice award in the category of diagramming and flowchart software. Lucidspark is just as easy to use as Lucidchart, and the two apps even share a main interface where you access all the boards and diagrams you’ve created. If you already use Lucidchart and love it, then it might make sense to add Lucidspark to your repertoire as well. In comparison with other visual collaboration apps, however, Lucidspark just doesn’t beat out Editors’ Choice winner Miro. Miro offers integrated video calling and has great features for creating charts and graphs, which Lucidspark doesn’t have. It is otherwise highly competitive with the best collaborative whiteboards, including Mural, another high scoring app in this category.

How Much Does Lucidspark Cost?

Lucidspark offers four plan types: a free limited plan, Individual ($9.95 per month), Team (starting at $33 per month for up to three users), and Enterprise accounts with custom pricing.

The Free plan gives you enough of an experience to try out the app, but it comes with many restrictions. You can have three editable boards at any given time, and you may co-edit boards with others and create shareable links, but you don’t get other collaboration features. Your integration options are also limited.

The Individual plan costs $9.95 per month or $95.40 if paid annually. This account is for one person only. It includes 1GB storage space, and you can have as many boards as you want. It includes presentation mode, as well as two special features, sort and gather (explained later). Since it’s for a single user, you don’t get chat, commenting, or other collaboration features. You also don’t cannot invite guest collaborators.

Team accounts start at $33 per month, or $324 if paid annually, and are good for two to three people. The price is the same regardless of whether you have two or three. The price goes up from there according to team size, but it’s not a per-user rate. For example, a group of five to 10 people pays $1,080 per year. A group of 10–15 costs $1,620 per year. It works out to be equivalent to $9 per person per month if you have the maximum number of people on your team. The Team account comes with everything in the Individual plan plus collaboration features, including revision history. You can invite guest collaborators and track changes people make by enabling a unique color for each collaborator. You also get tools for voting and a timer. The timer is merely a countdown clock, not one that logs time spent working.

Enterprise accounts come with custom pricing. They include everything in Teams plus team folders, SAML authentication, enforceable sharing restrictions, enforceable guest collaborator restrictions, and other tools for administering the account. This account can also integrate with Jira Cloud, Jira Data Center, Smartsheet, and Azure DevOps Cloud integrations.

How Do Lucidspark’s Prices Compare?

Lucidspark’s prices are competitive when compared with other whiteboard apps. For example, Miro offers a free account, with paid accounts starting at $10 per person per month. Mural, which similarly has a free account option, starts its paid plans at $12 per person per month. Stormboard, which PCMag has not yet reviewed, also has a free plan and paid options starting at $10 per person per month.

Though the prices are roughly competitive, we’re not crazy about Lucidspark’s method of billing. Having a set rate for teams rather than charging a more straightforward per-person rate isn’t highly competitive. If the number of people on your team is on the low side of the range, then you’re penalized by paying a higher per-person rate. It strikes us as odd to use this method, especially because some collaboration apps are much more generous in their policies. For example, Slack will refund you a prorated amount if any of your users stops using the app or leaves the organization midway through a billing period.


When you log into Lucidspark, you see a list of the boards you’ve created in both Lucidspark and Lucidchart.

Apps and Integrations

Lucidspark runs in a web browser, and there’s an app for Apple mobile devices as well. That said, Lucidspark is a visual collaboration app, sometimes also called a whiteboard app, and it’s meant to be used on a reasonably large screen. While you’d be able to use it without incident on an iPad, we wouldn’t recommend using it on an iPhone or other smartphone.

You can use Lucidspark in tandem with other collaboration apps; for example, you can use it while on a video call in Zoom Meetings or Microsoft Teams by integrating them with Lucidspark. Both Zoom and Teams have their own built-in whiteboards, however, so you could also consider them competitors to Lucidspark.

Other integration options are more geared toward team productivity. For example, you can integrate with Jira to import issues from that system, or conversely brainstorm ideas as notes in Lucidspark and push them into Jira where they’ll show up as issues. You can also integrate with Slack, Smartsheet, Google Drive, and Azure DevOps. These integration options are nearly on par with what Miro offers and are much better than what some other whiteboard apps offer, such as Stormboard and Conceptboard.

Getting Started With Lucidspark

The first thing you do with Lucidspark is create a free account either with an email address and password or by authenticating with a Google account. You do not need to provide any banking details. If you already have an account with Lucidchart, you can use the same login to access Lucidspark.

After you login, you land on a welcome page. This home screen is where you see the list of all the boards you’ve created in Lucidspark and Lucidchart. From this page, you can also preview available templates, access your user settings, and when applicable, access administrator settings.

Lucidspark template collection


The whiteboard app Lucidspark offers a variety of templates to get started.

Creating a Board

To make a new board, you either start with a blank canvas or choose one of the templates. Templates are grouped by theme, such as Brainstorming and Ideation, Organization and Evaluation, Project Planning, Meetings and Workshops, and so on.

Some templates are more than standard templates; quite a few are interactive team building exercises and therefore more closely resemble simple table-top games than diagrams. It’s not unusual for whiteboard apps to offer these interactive games. Mural does it, too.

Once you have a board, interacting with the elements is fairly straightforward if you have any experience whatsoever with visual collaboration tools or vector drawing software. The most basic objects are sticky notes, arrows, lines, and other basic shapes, which you drag from a toolbar onto the board and then resize or move around as you need. You can also add images and animated GIFs and draw freehand.

When you select several objects at once and then right-click, a menu appears with several options for arranging, aligning, and otherwise working with those objects as a group.

Lucidspark right click options


Right-clicking on a group of objects in Lucidspark pulls up a menu of options for working with them.

Features

Lucidspark gives you a few special features to make it easier to work with the content of your whiteboards. For example, Magic Sort, which is still in beta, identifies and groups together sticky notes with a similar theme. We tested the feature on several sticky notes that contained text, and the app sorted them into two groups, which it labeled with some common words: group one was “week, leave, available” and group two was “waiting, travel, time.” 

A more general Sort feature organizes sticky notes by a category that you choose: tags that you’ve placed on them, the color of the sticky note, or based on votes the notes have received.

The Gather feature works similarly to Sort, pulling together notes that have something in common, in this case the same color, keyword, tag, reaction (reacji), and so forth.

Some teams use whiteboard apps not only to collaborate but also to create presentations. You can indeed include any whiteboard that you make in Lucidspark as part of a presentation. A Presentation Builder tool helps you organize material from the board into individual slides. You lay a frame around the material you want on each slide, which is a simple enough way to go about it, though it can require some additional adjustments to your board contents to make them fit the dimensions of the slides correctly. Still, it’s fast and easy to turn your board into a slideshow, while some competing apps use a process that’s less clear and more difficult to master.

Lucidspark presentation builder


Lucidspark gives you a Presentation Builder to turn your whiteboards into a slide deck.

One feature not seen in Lucidspark but which does appear in Miro is the ability to create tables and charts from data that you enter. Miro supports pie charts, column charts, bar charts, and funnel charts. We find that the ability to incorporate data dramatically expands what you can do with Miro as opposed to other whiteboard apps.

Collaborating

Whiteboards are commonly used collaboratively, and as such, Lucidspark gives you plenty of tools for a group to generate and discuss ideas in real time.

When you invite people to join your board, you can see who else is contributing in a way that’s similar to collaboration in Google Docs. Lucidspark assigns each participant a color, which you can see in a little panel. You can text-chat while you collaborate. Although Lucidspark does not support video or audio calling, you can integrate the app with video calling software, as mentioned previously. If you’d rather have video calling supported natively, Miro offers it. Mural includes its own calling feature, but it’s audio only.

There’s a timer you can enable for all to see, which is handy in meetings when you want to brainstorm or do an activity together for a set amount of time and then move on with your meeting agenda. The timer does nothing more than count down from a time you set and alert everyone when time’s up. A voting tool is also included for quickly polling participants.

Breakout boards, another feature, are similar to breakout rooms in video conferencing software. They let you divvy up a large group of people into smaller groups who then get their own board for collaborating. It’s a tactic commonly used to make large meetings more productive and interactive for participants. After an amount of time decided by the meeting host, everyone leaves their breakout boards and rejoins the main board. The meeting host can then copy the entire contents of any breakout board to share on the main board. Miro and Mural both offer breakout board functionality as well.

Lucidspark in-app voting


Lucidspark gives you tools for running votes among participants of your interactive whiteboards.

Accessibility

Lucidchart has decent accessibility support for languages. You can set the display language to be Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, or Spanish.

The company tracks other ways it conforms to or fails to meet web accessibility standards in a report that it makes public. Most other whiteboard apps don’t go so far as to make their web accessibility efforts transparent, so this is a win for Lucidspark. And very few have any language support other than English, except Conceptboard, which is also available in German.

A Solid Collaboration App

Lucidspark is one of the better whiteboard apps on the market, with a range of helpful templates and an easy-to-use interface. We appreciate its accessibility support and find that some of the more difficult features, like turning a board into a slideshow, are simple to master. The app’s pricing could be simplified to a standard per-person rate, though roughly speaking, the rates are already competitive as they are.

While Lucidspark doesn’t have its own video or audio calling features, we appreciate that it integrates with Zoom and Microsoft Teams easily enough. It does not edge out our Editors’ Choice winner in this category, Miro, which offers native video calls and support for making charts and graphs.

Like What You’re Reading?

Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

var facebookPixelLoaded = false;
window.addEventListener(‘load’, function(){
document.addEventListener(‘scroll’, facebookPixelScript);
document.addEventListener(‘mousemove’, facebookPixelScript);
})

function facebookPixelScript() {
if (!facebookPixelLoaded) {
facebookPixelLoaded = true;
document.removeEventListener(‘scroll’, facebookPixelScript);
document.removeEventListener(‘mousemove’, facebookPixelScript);

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;
n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,
document,’script’,’//connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);

fbq(‘init’, ‘454758778052139’);
fbq(‘track’, “PageView”);
}
}