Design doesn’t happen in a vacuum—you need input from stakeholders and users to ensure the solution you’re creating solves the user’s needs. Often, that’s easier said than done. Designers want control over their files, stakeholders want to be included in the design process, and users want to give feedback on the experiences you’re creating for them. To date, centralizing that input has become all the more difficult (and often fragmented) as designer toolkits grow. It also underscores a longstanding issue: most design tools weren’t built for non-designers or cross–team collaboration, making it difficult to get feedback on designs.
In an effort to meet designers where they’re creating most today, we’ve made it easy for Figma and Adobe XD users to add artboards and prototypes directly to InVision via Freehand, giving you the ability to design where you want while receiving the stakeholder and user feedback you need.
Below, we dig into three common design challenges that can be solved by centralizing design work in Freehand.
Challenge #1: When is the best time to share designs with a wider group?
Stakeholders want to see designs in the earliest stages possible, but designers want to maintain a “safe space” to create until their work is ready for review.
Design files often contain long version histories, optional designs or future states that are not intended for the initial experience which leads to stakeholder confusion. We’ve all heard horror stories where a non-designer unintentionally moves, changes, or even deletes things in their design file, causing additional work for everyone involved, not to mention drawing the ire of design teams.
Solution: Create designs in your favorite design tool, then add artboards to Freehand when you’re ready.
When designers use the Figma and Adobe XD add-ons for Freehand, they get to keep control over their private sandbox while stakeholders get visibility into designs and prototypes in Freehand’s inclusive, purpose-built space for collaboration. Freehand’s sticky notes, reactions, and commenting features feel familiar, so even a non-technical teammate can be comfortable jumping in to view designs. To give your project an extra layer of organization, use InVision Spaces to centralize Figma and Adobe XD design files with other project documents so your team can always find the related work they’re looking for.
Challenge #2: How do I help non-designers navigate my designs so they can give valuable feedback?
Making designs more visible is easy thanks to the Figma and Adobe XD add-ons for Freehand, but stakeholders may not know what they’re looking at, which leads to questions such as:
- Where in the product is this experience?
- Do all users see these options?
- What happens if I click this button?
Seeing designs without being oriented to the experience and without direction on how or where to give feedback can deter stakeholders from sharing their ideas.
Solution: Create designs in your design tool, then curate and contextualize artboards on Freehand.
Communication is key! First, provide details on the designs and prototypes you’ve shared in the canvas. Use the text tool, arrows, or colors to show the status of designs, annotate the experience, and demonstrate a certain flow. If your team reviews design work async, Freehand’s Loom integration is a dynamic way to provide simple video walkthroughs, reducing the pre-feedback question and answer lag that may arise without live context from the designer. That way, you can tell your team how to best share feedback.
For live design reviews, team members can give real-time feedback using comments and sticky notes during the meeting while the topic is still fresh. Since all feedback is happening in a Freehand, any unanswered questions and suggestions stay on the canvas so the designer can take action on them post-meeting.
Challenge #3: How can I collect user feedback early and often?
Stakeholder feedback is crucial to the design process, but to ensure you’re hitting the mark, you need to talk to users too. You can control the early part of feedback, but to get the often part of that equation, you need to ensure that you’re making it easy for reviewers to share their thoughts and that their feedback is heard and appreciated, so they’re eager to do so again in the future.
Solution: Use the design tool where you create your best work, then add artboards and prototypes to Freehand to run user feedback sessions around designs.
Freehand is an ideal place to collect “quick and dirty” user feedback. For example, add designs to a Freehand using the Figma and Adobe XD add-ons. Then, share a link to the Freehand to your beta users group so they can start leaving feedback async or schedule a same-day user interview, using the Freehand to gather real-time feedback. Users can interact in the inclusive, accessible canvas while your working design file stays private. The best part? All the feedback is within the canvas so that you can reference and synthesize your learnings into your next design iteration.
Users are giving you their valuable time to provide feedback and should feel appreciated for doing so. If a reviewer left a comment, we recommend commenting back, so the reviewer knows you checked out their remark. Use reactions like a thumbs up, smiley, or fire emoji to show how awesome a sticky note suggestion was, or use the pencil tool to circle or point to a piece of feedback that you found really helpful. When people feel acknowledged, they’re more likely to collaborate and contribute to future design reviews.