While working on a country club remodel in Vancouver, Wash., interior designer Jayne Sanders routinely communicated with the client, the remodeler, and the project’s trade partners via e-mail. After one particular meeting at which the client decided to change the flooring options, Sanders dutifully sent an e-mail to the installer. But the installer laid the wrong floor; he said he never got the e-mail message. It was an expensive mistake.

Soon after, Sanders was involved in the beta testing of Zapproved. Created by Monica Enand, an electrical and computer engineer in Portland, Ore., Zapproved is a Web-hosted application that brings transparency and accountability to the approval process. “E-mail results in poor decision-making,” Enand says. “There’s no way to see if people agreed.”

Sanders finds Zapproved particularly useful in dealing with the contractors who are implementing her designs. “It’s really helpful to track changes in a project and see who approved them,” she says.

Free and Clear

Zapproved is similar to e-mail but has a clear call to action. A proposal only closes when a reader accepts or denies. It gives due dates and has room for comments; users can see the status of every decision in one place. Those receiving Zapproved messages don’t have to register to read them, and users can access the service from any computer system — with no special training (although the Web site, www.zapproved.com, offers a demo video). The application is free to use; there are fees for extra storage or if you want to create specially branded messages.

Sanders has been using the service for several months and has nothing but praise for it. “It has streamlined my process,” she says. And she is happy to report that there have been no more mislaid floors.