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12/17/2012

Mobile eSignature Shoot Out


Comparing the leading options for capturing signatures using Apple iOS Devices.
Date: 12/2012

Contents
Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 2 The Lineup..................................................................................................................................................... 2 SignMyPad ................................................................................................................................................ 3 SignNSend ................................................................................................................................................. 5 EasySign .................................................................................................................................................... 6 YouSendIt .................................................................................................................................................. 8 Significant................................................................................................................................................10 DocuSign Ink............................................................................................................................................ 11 The Winner Is ........................................................................................................................................... 13 Appendix Detailed Comparison ...............................................................................................................14

12/17/2012

Introduction
Looking for the perfect electronic signature capture app for your iPhone or iPad? This is your lucky day! Tablet devices like the iPad have created some interesting applications that allow you to capture a signature without paper. Why now? Form factor. Tablets are the size of a piece of paper, are ultraportable, connected to the cloud, and have touch screens that can capture handwriting. Tablets are the PERFECT device to replace signing on paper. We are seeing huge growth in tablets deployed to large businesses for remote field sales and service. We are also seeing an even larger growth in simple consumer use of these mobile devices to sign just about anything sent to them for signature. This second category Consumer Signing is what we review here. As of December 2012, there are at least 15 applications that claim to provide an electronic signature. This is because mobile development tools make it very easy to create an app that can slap a scribble onto a page, and call it signed. However, as well see, that might not be enough to protect you, and the quality, capability, and security of these applications varies WILDLY across the spectrum, so Ive reviewed a few that represent the high, middle, and low end. The main categories well focus on are: Application Flexibility will this work for all the types of documents you might need to sign? Signature Quality what does your signature look like? Does it produce quality documents? Ease of Use Is the application easy to use, and does it save you lots of time? Form Handling how does the application help you with forms? Is it easy to fill in form fields? Security does the app create a legally defensible signature? Does it protect your signature from Fraud?

In order to choose the electronic signature tools worth comparing, I picked those that were diverse in approach to try to give a sense of what options are out there. This narrowed the field to 6 applications. DocuSign Ink EasySign SignMyPad SignNSend YouSendIt Significant

For our tests, we used an MS Word (.docx file), and a PDF of a W-9 with form fields to test these different apps. Read on to see how they compare.

The Lineup

12/17/2012

SignMyPad
This app has a very descriptive name. This application has been around awhile. It only works with PDF files, so you are out of luck. It does load the files quickly (because it is working locally only, and not with a cloud service which is typically required for conversions). It only works on iOS, and only works on your iPad, so iPhone users are out of luck. Signing is done by picking the signature item from a list, and drawing a signature in a box that appears on the bottom of the screen. It is smart to put the signature capture on the bottom, so the signers palm does not hit the screen and mess up the capture. They provide tools for ink color, and thickness. It is a nice easy control to use. You can drag/drop the signature where you want it. Resizing is not obvious being a bar at the top of the page, but once you get the hang of it, it works well. One hassle is that you need to sign your name each time, and it does not support initials directly. If you want to save your signature, you need to pay $.99. When it came to form filling, it was just sufficient. Select a checkbox, radio button, date, and text from the menu, and it is placed on the document. The W-9 was completed, but we did have to rebuild all the fields for the PDF because the application did not convert them. Placing text items was also a bit odd, because you first create the text, and it is dropped onto the page somewhere. You need to find it and drag it into place. We made a mistake and used the page rotation, and it removed all of our work, which was frustrating. Bugs were plenty here also, as the placed signatures and data were moved after completing the signing process, which renders the file useless. There does not appear to be any security involved with the signature. It is not linked to an ID. There is no audit trail information available to prove who signed, where, when, etc.

12/17/2012 What we liked best about this app: It performs very well, loading documents quickly. It also has a pretty straightforward user interface. SingMyPad Summary The UX is generally good, and the signing tasks are easy to complete. Because you are not directly manipulating items, and it only handles PDFs on iOS iPads, it is pretty limited. Overall grade: B. Overall value: B

12/17/2012

SignNSend
This application stands out because it can work with documents other than PDFs, it works with MS Word, and others. It does have some issues with file conversion quality however. Fonts are confused, and pagination changes. It also supports saving files into Dropbox which is a plus for online storage because the application does not appear to store the files online so they would be available from multiple devices. This application only works on iOS, and there is no web interface. Signing is done directly on the page, so you need to be careful which modes you pick or you may accidentally scribble in places you dont want. You can make your signature in different colors. There does not seem to be a way to move or resize signatures once placed, which causes lots of rework. It is also not possible to save your signature, so you

have to write it each time. It is also not possible to resize your signature or move it once you place it which we found annoying. When it came to form filling, it was pretty tedious. The UX provides a huge box so filling out our W-9 was next to impossible. There do not appear to be options for checkboxes, or placement of your name, date, so all of this had to be sort of hacked into place with text fields. The UX made our form filling process very cumbersome. There does not appear to be any security involved with the signature. It is not linked to an ID. There is no audit trail information available to prove who signed, where, when, etc. What we liked best about this app: Cool on screen exploding message when you switch from pen to text input. Eraser.

12/17/2012

SignNSend Summary You are only viewing a page at a time, so there is no scrolling through the document. The UX generally works, but feels a bit juvenile. Overall grade: C. Overall value: B-.

EasySign
EasySign has more downloads than most, as they have been around a while. It does use a web service to convert files, so you can open MS Word, but it did not support .txt files. However, in our test of our MS Word doc, the conversion was terrible for the signing view. All the fonts were different, and spacing was messed up. Oddly what we signed looked nothing like what we got back, as the final PDF was better. This gave an odd feeling that we were not signing the same doc we got back. The returned document was high quality. EasySign does have a boatload of configuration options for colors, date formats, custom data elements, and different languages. For the advanced user, these configuration options are fun to experiment with. At the core, however signing could be better. You click a sign button, and then have to pick the page you want to sign. You dont appear to be able to deal with the document all at once. The drop down list also has a slightly bewildering set of things that you can place on a document, including My Signature, 1st Client Signature, 2nd Client Signature, Date, Name, Initials or Text, Buttons, and Company Stamp. This is just too many things for most users. Selecting the Initials or text option appears to just be a text box. When placing items, the application is strongly modal. Once you place an object you must hit the save button EVERY TIME, or you will just move what you just placed. This chooseconfigure-place-save for each item is quite tedious. We did notice the ability to have multiple signers on a document, but oddly, there is no authentication between signers, so one person could easily sign for everyone. We left that one alone for security reasons.

12/17/2012 EasySign does allow you to save an edit your signature (something SignMyPad wants $.99 for each time!), which makes it good for mobile users on the go. It also gives you the ability to import a signature using the Camera Roll, but we were unable to get a signature that did not have bad-looking background gradients from the page, so that was unusable. From a form filling perspective, it did not perform well. There was much too much click-configure-save going on, and you could not navigate field to field. It also did not convert the form fields that were already in the PDF, so they all had to be re-constructed. This is probably the worst performing application for handling forms. There does not appear to be any security involved with the signature. It is not linked to an ID. There is no audit trail information available to prove who signed, where, when, etc. What we liked best about this app: You can save your signature so you dont have to write it over and over. EasySign Summary The UX was generally clean, but the placement of objects on the page, and the overwhelming number of objects you can place seemed overkill. At a cost of $15 for unlimited signing, it is the most expensive application by a long way. Overall grade: B-. Overall value: F.

12/17/2012

YouSendIt
YSI is focused mostly on letting users send large files that do not fit in email very well. That said, they did add esigning to their iOS application after the purchase of Zosh last year, and is making this available along with large file storage and transmission. (It makes us wonder how this fits with iCloud, but that is a different story.) You must create a YouSendIt sharing account to use this application for signatures, which you can do for free. Using the app, you immediately get the sense it is not designed for signing, but for file sharing. When we opened the file from email, it immediately wanted to know where we wanted to store it vs. sign it. It took quite a while to upload also, and the list did not update, so we ended up uploading it twice. We actually had to exit the app and restart it to get the uploaded files to appear. In addition, we could not see how to get the side panel to go away to give us full screen real estate for the document. File conversion with YSI was the worst of all tested. They cannot support simple text files, and the conversion of our MS Word .docx file destroyed all the fonts, images, and tables. Signing is started by clicking a button that looks like a pen, and it opens to a page that gives you options for signature, text, date, and image. Choosing image brings up some pre-built checkmarks and stamps which can be place. The problem with this app is the placement and movement of items is very cumbersome, requiring lots of clicking and menu choices. Form filling was very tedious because of all the clicking to place things to sign. Click text, fill in text box that covers the page, click save, click move, drag to where you want it, etc. It is possible to set size of font and color which is a nice touch. However, for a real form, this would be a workout. When emailing your signed document back, the app does not use the local email client, but rather sends it through the YousendIt system, and is not attached to the email. This allows them to send an email that is filled with advertising about signing up for yousendit. Finally, in order to GET the file, the recipient must endure another attempt to get the user to create an account. Making your unsuspecting recipients have to go through two levels of sales pitch just to get your document is a big turnoff.

12/17/2012 As with most of the others, there does not appear to be any security involved with the signature. It is not linked to an ID, and the file is not secure. There is no audit trail information available to prove who signed, where, when, etc. What we liked best about this app: It provides online storage of files securely. YouSendIt Summary This application was designed for file sending, not signing. It CAN let you sign files, but there are better tools available, even for free. The biggest issue is the advertising heavy delivery of the signed documents. Overall grade: C. Overall value: D.

12/17/2012

Significant
One of the newer iPad applications to the scene is from xyzmo Software, GmBH. This application provides a digital signature of a PDF file. It is narrowly focused on only working with PDFs, and only provides the ability to sign, so it has limited applicability to much of what we were testing. We could not test document conversion because of this. It seems the iOS community is giving the application a hard time for this, as most of the reviews are negative, talking about how it has potential, but is just not there yet. It is just not as complete a tool as the others. In our use of the application for signing, we noticed that the signature application process was novel. You place a clear box on the document where you want to sign, and when tapped, it zooms in so you can sign. This provides a nice direct interaction feel with the document. On the negative side, you cannot save this signature and easily place it over and over, so it becomes tedious in a mobile setting. We also noticed the location of the signature was about 2 higher in the final doc than where we signed, so that is clearly a bug. There was no way to use this to fill out our W9, because none of the fields were imported, and you cannot place fields with the app. You can do something novel however. You can use your camera to capture an attachment. This is an interesting use case, especially in Europe where ID may need to be included with an application. The other novel thing here is something NO OTHER app does yet, and that is to use a digital signature to sign the document. In the US, this does not really mean much, but in the EU, it helps with acceptance. What we liked best about this app: The way the signature box zooms into the page is kind of neat.

Significant Summary

12/17/2012 This application is just getting started. It is really not ready for prime time yet. However the work with digital signatures and creating more security than many of the others gets it a good grade. Overall grade: C-. Overall value: C+.

DocuSign Ink
This app has the coolest logo. And using DocuSign Ink just feels different than the other applications. Right off the bat, you get a sense they signing process is more secure. The app loads your document to the DocuSign network before signing so it does take a few seconds to load, but the experience is extremely simple from there. The application is true cloud app, and is available for MS Outlook, iOS, and soon Android. All files are stored securely in your own cloud storage, and available from each device. File conversion was the best in the group, reading MS Word, PDF, Text, and many others without a problem, and handling all the fonts and tables we threw at it. The UX for signing is quite clear. With support for signature capture onscreen, or by using the camera to capture your handwritten signature AND clean up the image so it is usable without shading and noise, it produces the most similar signature to my real signature of all apps. Once the signature is created, you merely drag-drop the signature into the document where you want it to go. It can be directly moved, deleted, or resized simply by grabbing the handles which was very intuitive. The other objects that can be placed are signature, initial, name, date, text box (single and multi-line), and checkbox. Navigation is smooth from page to page, just by scrolling down the document. Form filling is very impressive with DocuSign Ink. It was the ONLY application that converted all of the form fields from the W-9 PDF, and AUTOMATICALLY placed them all perfectly. I just had to fill out and tab to the next. This made our W-9 task a breeze easily 10x easier than any other tested app. Rotating pages right and left is no problem, but do this BEFORE you place your information IT does not rotate. (It is not lost however like some other apps that were tested). There was a buzz on the reviews about an ad attached to the PDF, but that has been removed.

12/17/2012 Clearly the ease of use is great. The automatic form recognition is great, and the photo signature capture is cool. The most interesting one is the DocuSign ID card, and the security that it provides. With DocuSign ID, your signature is linked to your Identity in the cloud. You can populate the ID card with information about you, INCLUDING the GPS location of where you signed if you want to, and your recipient can click on the signatures to validate who signed. These signatures are linked to the document and your cloud ID, so they cannot be copied or duplicated without it being really easy to tell. Security is the best available, because this app is running in the DocuSign Global Network, where millions of businesses use it for millions of transactions per month. The exported documents are digitally signed, so are tamper-evident. Should someone try to change your document, or copy your ID, they would be unable to do so without breaking the security wrapper around the file. For those who understand PKI, setting the trust settings in your browser enable you to see this in action. Most of us ordinary users are fine just letting these security measures do their stuff behind the scenes. What we liked best about this app: It does more than anyone else, and it does it more easily. The signature photo is very cool! DocuSign Summary The best of the bunch. Easier, better, and cheaper than the others. Overall grade: A. Overall value: A+

12/17/2012

The Winner Is
All of these apps can provide what looks like an electronically signed document. However, ONLY DocuSign and Significant actually create a file youd want to rely on in court, and one that protects your signature online. That being said, in every category, DocuSign provides the leading app. In every category, we see the DocuSign Ink product being the one for you. Performance Comparison

App DocuSign Ink SignMyPad SignNSend EasySign YouSendIt Significant

Flexibility

Sig Quality

Ease of Use

Forms

Security

Disclosure Written by TGonser at DocuSign, Inc. While this information is intended to be accurate, and is the result of actual testing of different applications, the reader must make their decisions based on their own user testing and evaluation. Why make such a disclosure? Because I hate it when other people write stuff like this as if it is unbiased. Of course this is biased. However, I think you will also find it is right.

12/17/2012

Appendix Detailed Comparison


Attributes
Highest ranking Purchase Price Unlimited Signing Cost Average Star Rating

DocuSign Ink
2 - Productivity $ Free $ Free 4
Office, Text, Photo, PDF, Google iOS (iPhone, iPad), Outlook, Android Open In, Google Docs Sign, Initial, Name, Date, Text, Check Yes (6) Yes High, speed/stroke dynamics Yes, with clarification Yes Very high Yes Great Simple Great Yes, simple UX Right and left Yes Yes All Types Yes Option Yes Yes Yes No No No No No

EasySign
10 - Business $Free $15 4
Office, PDF

SignMyPad
4 - Business $3.99 * $.99/signature 2.5
PDF only

SignNsend
8 - Business $3.99 $Free 4
PDF, Word, Excel

YouSendIt

Significant

67-Productivity 72-Business (DM) $Free $Free $Free $Free 3


PDF, Word

2.5
PDF only

Flexiblity
File Types Supported

Platforms Supported

iOS iPad

iOS

Web, iOS,

iOS, Android

Document Sources Annotation types

Open In, DropBox Open In, Drop box Open In Too many Sign, Date, Text, Radio, Check No No Good Text, Drawing

Open In Sign, text, date, image No No Fair. Odd scrolling No No Very poor No Good Confusing, complex Good Yes, but poor UX No, rotate text No No No No No No Yes

Open In Signature only

Social Sign On Scan Docs from Camera

No No Good

No No Fair. No speed/stroke dynamics No No Poor. Fonts No Poor Confusing Medium No cant move No No Text only No No No No No

No Yes Good

Signature Quality
Signature Capture Quality Photo Signature Capture Secure Signature Conversion Quality Initials

Unusable No Very high No Poor Weak Medium Yes, poor ux No No Yes

No No NA, cannot convert No Fair Weak Good Yes, poor ux Right and left No Yes No No No No No

No Yes NA NA Good Weak, can't reposition Good No, cannot move No No No No Yes Yes No Yes

Ease of Use
Ease of Navigation Signature Placement UX Clutter Move, resize, delete, edit Rotate pages

Form Handling
Convert PDF Fields Place Fields Field types Tab Between Fields

Text, Image, Date No

Security/Protection
Digitally Sealed File Signature linked to ID Audit Trail Elements Cloud File Storage