Over the past two years, as more companies have embraced hybrid or remote work, many have chosen Freehand as their easy-to-use, online whiteboard for visual collaboration — planning, brainstorming, and creating both in real-time and asynchronously. And now, we’re making it quick and easy to welcome participants, walk through your ideas, personalize your pitch, and contextualize your comments with a new Loom instant video “Add-on.” Just access Loom videos on the sidebar, quickly record a video with your webcam and microphone, drop it into your Freehand, and resize and move the screen if needed.
Here, a few ways the InVision team has used the Loom integration in Freehand to uplevel their visual collaboration:
1. Contextualize ideas
Recently, InVision’s VP of Product Design Stephanie Mencarelli sat down with Christina Nguyen White, Senior Director of Product design for Loom, and Whereby’s James “Fergo” Ferguson to dissect the state of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and discuss the best ways to bring a greater sense of togetherness (i.e., humanity) back to a working environment that deserves nothing less.
For instance, dipping in and out of context can be difficult in a remote or hybrid work environment, which makes the ability to stay up to speed in both synchronous and asynchronous settings so valuable.
“You’re pogoing in-between all these different tools and docs, you have a million different tabs. So how do we focus as a team?” Stephanie says. “We integrate with great tools like Loom, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and we also have a space that brings all these things together for real-time, multiplayer connection.”
Loom videos, for example, help you engage with the context of the whiteboard — as you create Freehands, you may want to guide participants through a particular project’s structure and goals.
Christina Nguyen White, Senior Director of Product design for Loom, discusses a few approaches that have helped with communication, “Every team works differently. With every project, every team dynamic, even as companies, we’re all evolving and learning. Just have an openness to experimentation. Explicitly discussing how we want to work upfront, trying different methods, and using the asynchronous and synchronous tools in the best way they work for your team while keeping in mind that collaboration is malleable,” she says.
How InVision uses Loom to stay in context
Michael Chiaze, product director at InVision, prefers the combination of video and voice to share his point-of-view over writing words on a sticky-note because the former lets his personality shine through. Translating implicit communication like body language and tone into concise writing can be a time-consuming task for non-writers, and Michael likes that video gives him the opportunity to clearly convey his messages, allowing him to “get out of his head” and focus on the task at hand.
2. Scaling productivity through better communication, improved efficiency
Communication is the cornerstone of collaboration. To improve efficiency on teams, “Getting non-technical, cross-functional stakeholders to be able to speak the same language is really key,” Stephanie says.
Loom videos can be a powerful tool to scale collaboration and productivity. To underscore this, consider a few data points: Loom has found that a video of three minutes can cut down a meeting by half, and a video of five minutes can replace a 20-minute meeting. Additionally, viewers retain 90% of a video compared to 10% of written communication, says Christina.
How InVision streamlines communications with Loom
InVision’s product and product marketing teams are tasked with managing multiple projects across the company, which means strong alignment is a major key to success. Recording a Loom screen and sharing it from the Freehand canvas helps clarify work, improve team efficiency, and reduce meetings.
“With the Loom integration you can quickly and efficiently provide more context for the ideas on your canvas, by recording a screen and cam share with just a few clicks that collaborators can then view anytime,” says Sarah Whyte, senior product marketing manager at InVision.
“In the past, most users would synchronously record their screen, webcam, and voice, then upload the video and embed the video. Now, the Loom integration makes all of these steps seamless so team members can just focus on sharing their story,” Chiaze adds.
3. Humanize visual collaboration on the path to making faster, informed decisions
Teams visually collaborate in Freehand to align, collect feedback, and make informed decisions. This is all the more important when now, more than ever, we’re all seeking human connections.
“Bringing people together over video is something we are doing everyday. It’s essential that it happens seamlessly and is as friendly as possible. Everyone is distributed across different time zones,” Fergo says. “When we do meet and use synchronous communication, we really want to make sure that people are having meaningful connections and meaningful conversations. Human connection is a priority and aligns with one of our values.”
“Fifty-two percent of companies report employees experience a sense of workplace loneliness,” Christina adds. “Knowledge workers are simply burned out. We all want human engagement. Async enables work to get done wherever, whenever while also providing human engagement we continually crave. We are all getting more creative with team practices like icebreakers and starting meetings with casual talk while still being in the mindset of being productive and trying to balance our life at home. It’s very much still about prioritizing connections — and randomly pretending we are having coffee.”
How InVision brings humanity back to the collaboration process
Videos aren’t just a key piece of your visual collaboration toolkit — they give you a means to remove the impersonal aspects of communication that can often get lost in written translation.
“There’s so much mutual appreciation for video walkthroughs of complex projects. The ability to do that in an instant with Loom has made all of my cross-functional technical projects go so much smoother,” Sarah says.
To put it simply: Freehand and Loom help nurture that in-person sense of togetherness — and far more humanity — back to workplace collaboration.
More time on what matters
The new expandable sidebar in Freehand includes five new add-ons that you can pin to your canvas for quick access to boost your productivity and keep collaborators engaged across multiple workflows.
Brittany Anas is a Denver, Colorado-based freelance writer. She is a regular contributor to publications including Apartment Therapy, Forbes and Men’s Journal and previously was a reporter at the Daily Camera in Boulder and The Denver Post. She worked three years as a federal background investigator before transitioning into a full-time freelance role.