Collaboration

The most-loved Freehand templates, according to people like you

4 min read
Nick Lioudis
  •  Aug 4, 2021
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The way companies think about collaboration has come full circle. The days of tethering success to traditional in-person brainstorming sessions have passed. Now, more leaders realize productivity doesn’t depend on proximity between colleagues. Technology played a substantial role in overcoming this hurdle. For example, as distributed teams looked to improve their synchronous and asynchronous communication over the past year, the number of active InVision Freehand users increased 130%.

But that doesn’t mean companies have overcome their distributed remote challenges. Now teams must navigate the new dynamics that come with hybrid work. Thankfully one of your favorite remote-friendly tools, InVision Freehand templates, works just as well in a hybrid environment. InVision knows this setup all too well — not only has the company been 100% remote since its founding a decade ago, but it also partnered closely with organizations spanning the workspace spectrum to learn about remote teamwork challenges (and ultimately, solutions).

To help those better navigate hybrid collaboration, Inside Design dove into InVision’s data and uncovered the most popular templates for planning events, product development, and more. Below, a top-five countdown of the Freehand templates that have illuminated and improved your daily cross-functional communications, plus some tips from InVisioners on how to optimize their use, based on their own experience and that of their clients.

Ready to start? Check out our Freehand Template Gallery now.

The five most used Freehand templates:

5. Empathy map

Why it matters

Understanding your customer’s long-term business goals not only circumvents customer purchasing barriers, but also prevents product teams from building upon poor assumptions that can quickly render products obsolete. Dave Gray’s Empathy Map template helps teams design more impactful customer experiences.

“This particular tool helps teams develop deep, shared understanding and empathy for other people. People use it to help them improve customer experience, to navigate organizational politics, to design better work environments, and a host of other things,” Dave has said.

How InVision uses it

Our teams use empathy maps to create and align concrete goals before, during, and after user testing initiatives. You can also use it to:

  • Map out finance and operations budgets based on team functions and goals
  • Help your research team consider user behaviors in testing processes

4. Flowchart

Why it matters

InVision’s fully-distributed teams know that a product’s outcome hinges on how the project begins. That’s why the Freehand team created this Flowchart Template to connect our design, engineering, marketing, and product processes for product development and launches.

How InVision uses it

Apart from InVision’s product development team, the sales team also finds this template helpful — especially when sharing their intimate buyer journey knowledge with the rest of the organization. For example, they’ve received feedback from the marketing team that the template helped them better understand pain points along the buyer journey and the places where they can offer quick solutions.

“When conveying complex ideas and processes, a well thought-out flowchart will help you swiftly evolve your rough ideas into sophisticated flows,” says product marketing pro Olivia Zanca of InVision (even more from Olivia here).

You can also use it to:

  • Map out Organization charts
  • Design client workshop activities

Bring on better brainstorms

Sharing ideas and collaborating online are critical skills that teams need to master quickly in this new hybrid world of work. As a result, we’re bringing you 5 use cases, 5 principles, 5 techniques, 5 examples, and 5 ways to learn more—all to make your online brainstorming sessions even more effective and engaging.

Grab the guide

3. Customer journey map

Why it matters

Data-informed design thinking can strengthen your customer journey. That’s why the American Express team created this Customer Journey Map template, combining a visual roadmap of a seamless customer experience with relevant planning data.

How InVision uses it

Our design team uses the Customer Journey Map to reinvigorate the user experience, visually identifying friction points and ensuring a seamless choose-your-own experience for visitors. You can also use this template to:

  • Map your key personas to business goals
  • Help marketing teams engage visitors along their journey across your site

“Engagement is such a critical part of the customer journey that can often get lost in the hunt for faster conversions,” Natalie Coy, InVision’s strategic marketing manager, says. “If lead generation is the ultimate goal, then you need to begin by creating a journey that puts a seamless journey through your site experience front and center,”

2. Brainstorm

Why it matters

Brainstorming has evolved. Teams swapped unstructured collaboration — where the loudest voices prevail and subdue the chance for diverse thinking — for a more thoughtful, inclusive, and cross-functional process.

A great example of this is Xbox Research and Design’s Brainstorming Template. It expands on the typical meeting of the minds, prioritizing inclusivity and giving teams actionable next steps — both factors that lead to stronger customer outcomes.

How InVision uses it

No matter the team, brainstorming sessions are held to the same productivity goals at InVision. All must be inclusive — helping teams identify and elevate the best ideas — and also must produce a centralized source of truth that clarify plans for execution. This template accomplishes both goals — and then some.

And as our product marketing team recently put it, you can start with a “How might we…” statement: “For example, let’s say your company’s main competitor released a new product that significantly cuts into your share of the market. Your executive team may task you with answering ‘How might we improve Product X to maintain our competitive advantage?'”

You can also use this template to:

  • Create a stronger customer experience through visualizing key pain points
  • Develop and communicate clear job specifications for the next hiring spree

1. Wireframe

Why it matters

Streamlined communications between design, engineering, and product cannot begin early enough for a cross-functional project. That’s why collaborators like you use the Wireframe Template to structure synchronous and asynchronous collaboration ensures the fastest handoffs possible.

How InVision uses it

In general, InVision’s fully-distributed engineering team recently used the Wireframe Template to stay aligned and on track as they updated Freehand (meta!)

“While you may be used to creating wireframes using Sharpie and paper, using Freehand saves you the tedious steps of scanning and uploading your hand-drawn wireframes since they’re already saved online and are sharable,” our product marketing team says.

You can also use this template to:

Bonus: Create your own!

Online whiteboarding gives users a blank canvas to build their own templates. Not sure where to start? Take inspiration from the greatest hits above to create one, or start from scratch. Then, share with your team so that you can continue improving your collaboration culture. No matter your course of action, using a bespoke template can help bring your hybrid team closer together by encouraging inclusivity.

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