Over the last 15 years or so, most of us have adapted to the new forms of communication that pervade the web, ditching letters (and in many cases, phone calls) in favor of rapid fire IMs and Email. But there’s still at least one formality embedded in most of us that’s been hard to overcome: the personal signature. The simple act of signing a document, silly as it may seem in an era of fingerprints, photographs, and passwords, is something that has been engrained in us. And while signing a digital document with an “Okay” button or check box may be legally binding, they’re so basic that it makes the gesture feel insincere.
Cue the digital signature – handwritten signatures input using either your mouse or a tablet, which are then embedded alongside the document in question. These have around for quite a while, with companies in this space including DocuSign and EchoSign. Now RightSignature, a new startup that launched to the public last month, is looking to make things even easier.
CEO Daryl Bernstein says that the existing digital signature companies don’t focus enough on the user experience, making it difficult to actually read the document you’re meant to sign. So RightSignature has built a proprietary PDF viewer that shows a large portion of the document alongside a box for your John Hancock. Bernstein also says that competitors tend to focus on large companies, so RightSignature is trying to make its service more accessible to smaller businesses (you can send a document out for signing in around sixty seconds). You can get a feel for the document signing process on this page.
The service supports Google Docs, as well as native formats like PDF and .DOCX. Other extras include the option of requiring a photo taken by your computer’s camera alongside a signature and a free iPhone app that lets you sign documents on the go. The service offers a variety of distribution options, allowing users to send documents to a bulk list of users, and can also be used for petitions.
Users can send five documents per month for free, or can choose from a number of plans starting at $11 a month per user to get unlimited document sending. TechCrunch readers can get two months of the premium service for free by signing up through this link.
The service seems to work well, but RightSignature has a long road ahead – its competition is already quite well established, and some businesses may be hesitant to rely on a new service for their important document signatures. That said, the simplified UI may be enough to entice small businesses who had previously been scared off by the daunting nature of some of these other services.