The challenge of designing consistently across multiple channels and products is especially acute for the product design team at A+E Networks.
A+E Networks is a global entertainment media company with 6 original brands: A&E®, HISTORY®, Lifetime®, LMN®, FYITM, and VICELANDSM.
The design team is responsible for creating digital products for all the A+E brands across multiple platforms—including desktop, tablet, smartphone, and emerging platforms such as Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and whatever comes next.
The team uses InVision Enterprise to run their modern digital product design workflow and create consistent user experiences throughout the A+E Networks family of brands.
“InVision Enterprise has changed everything for us, in many ways,” said Bob Calvano, VP Design.
Keys to a digital product design mindset and workflow
When Bob first arrived at A+E Networks almost 4 years ago, the team hadn’t found its identity as a product design team. They weren’t prototyping or remote testing. They didn’t have a great way to collaborate.
Then the team tried InVision, followed by an upgrade to InVision Enterprise.
“We didn’t have the product mindset like we do now,” Bob said. “InVision has changed our approach to prototyping, no doubt. Our workflow has been changing, too. We were using a bunch of tools, and now those other tools are falling off, and Sketch and InVision are becoming the 2 seamless tools we use.”
Related: Build an interactive prototype in Sketch in minutes
“InVision Enterprise has changed everything for us, in many ways. … We were using a bunch of tools, and now those other tools are falling off, and Sketch and InVision are becoming the two seamless tools we use.”
—Bob Calvano, VP Design
The team uses Craft to generate quick style guides, and Motion for designers to demonstrate interactions to developers.
They also take full advantage of the remote testing features and UserTesting integration.
“The UX designers were unbelievably happy when they got their hands on the remote testing features,” Bob said. “It’s always a goal of ours to do more user testing, and InVision is helping us do a lot more of that.”
Customizing a design platform built for modern product teams
For Bob, one of the best things about his team’s InVision-supported workflow is that every product designer can work the way they prefer to work.
Take the Boards feature—designed to help teams ideate together and reach a shared vision, Boards have become a unique source of creativity for the A+E Networks team. Some of the UX designers use Boards to annotate UX and UI rules. Others use Boards to aggregate and consolidate design and competitive research.
“The beautiful thing is that everyone uses Boards differently,” Bob said. “It’s been very helpful for sharing information.”
Related: How are you using Boards?
Designers continually test tools and adopt the ones that work for them. After the team adopted InVision Enterprise, however, Bob noticed an interesting phenomenon.
“Now, when one of our designers is faced with a problem, they’ll think, ‘Can I use InVision for that?’” he said. “It’s one of the tools that’s just there for us all the time. InVision just seems to understand what’s really going on out there in the product design field. Things are being added that teams want, need, and will use.”
The challenges of scaling consistent user experiences across many products
With all the brands under the A+E Networks umbrella, one of the design team’s top priorities is maintaining a consistent user experience throughout their product ecosystem.
Bob says InVision Enterprise helps his team unify design and ensure experiences from one platform to the next feel seamless. “InVision creates this transparency we didn’t really have before.”
Through collaboration and transparency features like commenting and syncing, the A+E Networks team can work from a single source of truth inside InVision. Said Bob: “Any tool I can give the team to unify design and make that easier to accomplish is priceless to me.”
“InVision creates this transparency we didn’t really have before. Any tool I can give the team to unify design and make that easier to accomplish is priceless to me.”
—Bob Calvano, VP Design
After his team’s experience using InVision and InVision Enterprise, Bob would highly recommend InVision to teams doing product design or development.
Bob believes InVision can help teams who already have a modern product design workflow—or teams who want to implement one like his team did. “We’re very product-minded. We have product teams. We’re working Agile. InVision fits together very nicely for us and helps us get better at what we do,” he said.
“We’re not unique. A lot of people are working this way and trying to figure out the right toolset. InVision is really one that’s working for us. Anyone doing digital design who wants to have more collaboration, more transparency, more insight into what’s going on with their process—give InVision a try.”
Claire is a content strategist at InVision. She's all about words, technology, design, dogs, Colorado sports, and the scifi/fantasy section. Say hi on Twitter!