InVision: Design, UX & Dev Tools That Will Save You Tons Of Cash & Time

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3 years ago I worked for a startup that had been acquired by a large corporation. We were using the daylights out of a rapid prototyping tool named InVisionApp. It had completely changed the way our team designed.

Fast forward a year, and a team member at InVision reached out about a job opening at the company. I took the plunge and joined a team of dedicated, crazy talented people who loved the product, but most importantly loved having the opportunity to positively impact the daily lives of designers all over the world.

When I interviewed 2 years ago, there were 50 employees. 2 years later, we’re a team of 350+. Our weekly newsletter now goes out to 2.5 million subscribers. And our product has gone from a rapid prototyping tool, to an entire suite of tools. It’s wild, some people hear InVisionApp and think of the original rapid prototyping tool that it was when I started. We’ve had an INSANE number of additions in the last 2 years, and I’d like to highlight a couple of my favs that many people don’t realize are part of the product.

  1. Boards: We have this awesome tool called boards built right into the product. You can create gorgeous mood boards and stakeholder presentations in seconds.
  2. Workflow: There’s an integrated design workflow tracking tool. Need to keep up with your progress? Add cards to workflow and drag them to the appropriate columns as you complete your tasks.
  3. Freehand: I used to use several tools to bang out wireframes. They worked ok, but I wished there was something lighter to use. We’ve got a new tool called Freehand that lets you create wireframes in minutes. You can also pull in mockups and conduct collaborative feedback sessions with your team. (And as an added bonus it’s just really fun to play with.) 🙂
  4. Prototyping Inside Sketch: We have a plugin named Craft that lets you hook up your clickable prototypes right inside Sketch, and then send them to InVision with a click using Sync. It’s a MASSIVE time saver!
  5. Stock: You can test out images from Getty and iStock right in your design before you purchase them. Then you can purchase them with a click if you find one you love.(There are a ton of other hugely time saving features in the Craft Plugin that you should def checkout. For the sake of keeping this post shortish, I’ll stop there!)
  6. UserTesting.com Recording Baked In: A lot of people don’t realize this, but we have UserTesting.com recording baked right into the product! You just activate it and you can record your usability testing sessions with a click.
  7. Inspect: Once you are feeling good about your design and you’re ready to handoff to the engineering team (or to yourself if you’re a 1 woman/man show) you can fire up Inspect and it will pull all the specs out of your prototype. Automagically. It’s the best.

So there are a zillion other awesome features and tools built in to InVision & Craft, but I’m going to stop there for now. If you get a sec, I definitely recommend playing with the new features. They’ll save you an insane amount of time, as well as crazy cash since they replace a giant stack of different products in a shot. You can just stay in product and do all of the things. I think you’re going to really love it. 🙂

(Disclaimer: In case you didn’t catch it, I work at InVision now. And love my job. And we’re hiring.) 🙂

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Reason #9072 You Should Always Record Usability Tester Facial Video and Audio

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We’ve all been there right? You’re conducting a usability test, and your tester is slamming the mouse around angrily until he or she FINALLY figures out how to complete the assigned task. 

Then, when asked to rate the task, the tester smiles politely and says it was “easy”. 

It’s obviously not true, but if you don’t record audio and video, and only go on tester rating, you’ll never know to fix the issue. 

Audio and video allow you to look past verbal responses into what is really going on with your testers. You can look for facial expressions relating to frustration and anger, listen for under the breath profanity, and just generally get a more holistic view of how your testers really feel. 

Not recording tester audio and video does you a huge disservice. 

Give it a shot. It’ll help you uncover the testers who are lying, consciously or subconsciously, and will give you better data. 

Art Prints of UX Sketches Available!

Hi folks! I first of all want to thank you for your absolutely HUGE outpouring of love and support in response to my UX/UI bike sketch!

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It was RT’d, favorited, and downloaded an astounding 3000+ times internationally over the course of the past few weeks! Your kind words and tweets about the sketch absolutely made my entire year! Love you all!

Many people reached out and asked if I would turn it into a purchasable art print… Ask and you shall receive! 🙂 The UX UI Bike sketch is now available for purchase as a print, t-shirt, onesie, hoodie, pillow, even a shower curtain if that’s what you’re into! Lol

You can check out the full selection of available items at http://society6.com/userexperiencerocks.

If you really enjoyed another sketch I’ve done, and would like me to add it to the print library, just let me know and I’ll do my best to get it up there!

Someone asked if I make any $ on the sales of these items, I get about 10%!

Thanks to the generosity and support you all have shown, many items have already sold! T-shirts, mugs, art prints and laptop skins are most popular thus far!! 🙂 I want to send the most giant thanks in the universe to every person who purchased an item! ❤ You folks rock!!! 🙂

Several people asked if Society6 ships internationally, yes they do! 🙂

Another person asked if they can buy in bulk for staff gifting purposes (mugs specifically). Please feel free! 🙂

Thank you again to every single person who took the time to tweet, retweet, favorite, link to and view or purchase the sketch items! You are all absolutely amazing, and have brought me tons of joy over the course of the past few weeks. I'm sending you all giant thanks and tons of love! ❤

Low Stress Sketching For The Artistically Challenged

Tonight someone asked me what kind of software I use when I make my sketches. I almost always sketch with a black fine point sharpie on lined Post-It notes.

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Why did I choose those two items when there are about 90 billion other art supply options?

Shut Up Self

I use Sharpie permanent markers because then my perfectionist streak can’t get in the way of my creativity. I can’t sketch in pencil, I’m too tempted to erase and revise, and it distracts me from creating. With Sharpies, once it’s on the paper there’s no getting rid of it, you just have to keep moving forward.

I ❤ Post-Its

I use Post-Its because they’re low pressure. Looking at a giant white sheet of paper is intimidating for me, but a little rectangular yellow Post-It is friendly and familiar. They also feel less official, and therefore make me more comfortable drawing fun things.

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When I finish a sketch on a Post-It and it’s horrible, no harm done, I toss it in the trash. When I like a doodle, I take a pic of it with my phone and post it on my blog.

Low Key and Doable

It’s the easiest, most low pressure drawing method for me. That probably sounds insane to super artistic folks, but since stick figures are the extent of my skill, it works for me. 🙂

Lies! How did you make posters then?

When the UX/UI bike sketch blew up, I took a mega high res photo of it with my camera that is capable of zooming in on craters on the moon (Seriously, for a point and shoot my Nikon P510 is a beast. I took this in my backyard without a tripod.)

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and then I used Pixelmator to strip out the background with their extremely handy magic eraser tool. A little more clean up and boom: my post it sketch could be blown up to large art print and shower curtain sizes.

Thanks for sharing?

So why did I just take the time to outline my process? Because I want every self proclaimed “artistically challenged” person out there to understand that a doodle I drew on a Post-It was RT’d, favorited and downloaded literally THOUSANDS of times internationally over the past couple of weeks. You don’t have to be Picasso to tell a story or get a concept across with a sketch!

So shake off your fear, pick up a Sharpie and some Post-Its and get to work!

If I can overcome my fear of sketching, so can you!

If you go for it, I’d LOVE to see your doodles and sketches! Tweet them my way at @jma245! 🙂

And as always, thank you so very much for checking out my blog! You all are the very best folks on earth! 🙂

Great UX: It does a body good!

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So we’ve all, at some point in our lives, used a piece of software that raised our blood pressure to kill-you-to-death levels, and made us grind our teeth to powdery nubs.

For me it was a heinous near DOS insurance program. For you it may be your bank’s new mobile app, or any system required for your job.

I think workmans comp should be provided for employees whose health is destroyed by software that makes them want to stab out their eyes with hot pokers.

We’ve all also used that one website, or app, or piece of software that had such fabulous UX that it made us smile, and caused a ray of light to shine down from heaven on our monitor/phone screen.

Bad UX can quite literally damage your users’ health and mental states. When software ticks me off, I remain ticked off for a fair amount of time, especially when the issue is rooted in poor design. Having stress and rage associated with your product and brand is a very, very bad thing.

Your goal as a UX pro is to make your clients pull a Buddy the elf: “I love this app/product/site! This app/product/site is my favorite!”

And if you hate your clients and making more money with killer happy-client-making UX, then do it for the puppies. If you hate puppies… well… then go see a counselor and seek some help for your rage problems. 😉