InVision Freehand Lets You Work Like the Best Teams in the World, With New Templates
This week we launched three new templates in Freehand: a Crazy 8s Brainstorm template from Salesforce, a Meeting Agenda template from Microsoft Teams, and a Marketing Strategy template from monday.com. These templates round out our collection of 20+ from AWS, Asana, Atlassian, LaunchDarkly, Xbox, and other luminaries.
Armed with the Freehand templates collection, a product team can begin and end an entire product development cycle by following nearly the exact same methodologies and practices of some of the world’s leading enterprise organizations. Think about it like this: How badly do you want to release updates like Amazon Web Services (operating revenue about $3.5B) or learn from the innovation of Microsoft Teams (with more than 115M daily active users)? Now you can.
Here, in a Q&A format with key InVision team members, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes to explain how these templates came to life, some ideas for how to incorporate them, and how using an online whiteboard can help you solve some of your biggest pain points.
Let’s start at the beginning: Why these templates?
Colin Murphy, senior product manager: The development of digital experiences—whether it’s an app, feature, or something entirely different—always takes dozens of twists and turns before the final product gets into the app store or online and in the hands of users.
We’ve seen how InVision’s online whiteboard, Freehand, helps teams get there faster, particularly in the past year, as product development accelerated and teams were spread out. The data was astonishing: a 180% surge in enterprise users across the entire product development lifecycle, from ideation to critique, from research to alignment and synthesis.
Here’s the thing, our customers who are using Freehand are also the teams that build products better than anyone. We’re honored that more than 60,000 organizations across the globe use InVision, including teams with hundreds of designers at companies like Capital One (they have told us about their all-hands. Let’s just say there’s a yearly designer lip-sync competition!). Anyway, that’s a lot of expertise.
We ramped up our weekly customer interviews when the numbers ticked up. And we realized that we could connect the pain points we were hearing about with concepts and ideas from our biggest-name customers. And the idea for templates was born.
Where did these templates come from?
Kacy Boone, Director of Product Marketing for Freehand: Freehand has been one of the unsung heroes of our platform for the better part of its lifetime—many of our customers didn’t even know it existed until 2020. Now that teams are working remotely, they’ve discovered how necessary it is to have a flexible, inclusive, collaborative space like Freehand and its popularity has skyrocketed as a result.
Investing in Freehand is a top priority for us. To better understand how we can make it easier for teams to get started using Freehand, we’ve been holding interviews with many of our customers to learn more about their best practices. Naturally, out of those conversations, customers wanted to share their battle-tested formats for retrospectives, design sprints, and brainstorming sessions in Freehand.
It made perfect sense to take those tried-and-true methods, developed by brilliant teams like Salesforce, IBM, and Xbox, and share them with anyone who is looking to improve their team’s collaboration.
From the beginning, the goal was not to give our users an overwhelming collection of templates; just a curated list of high quality templates that will make their lives easier.
Why did you select these templates specifically?
Kacy: We ran a survey last summer with thousands of respondents to understand how people are using Freehand today. From that survey, we learned what use cases were the most popular—of which brainstorming, remote meetings, and flow charts stood out.
We even had over a hundred people take the extra step of submitting screenshots of their favorite Freehands documents to further demonstrate how useful the tool is to them.
As just one example, a persona profile is a very specific tool for developing customer empathy. Brillio’s expertise is CX transformation, which at its heart is about personas; and some of the hardest work for teams is about solving for the customer's needs. Now teams get Brillio’s expertise right in Freehand in template form.
How is InVision’s research team playing its part in prioritizing new features?
Nili Metuki, senior director, design research and strategy: Our research with teams on how they collaborate shows that there are opportunities to solve for many points in the process. While every team might have different sequences, habits, or tools they use, most share common steps, which we are working to solve with templates. Additionally, we’re always tracking the features long requested by users, which has led to the more than 20+ updates from the past 11 months. That includes our latest feature updates from this week: grouping and linking to exact spots within the whiteboard—what we call deep linking. All together, these improvements help teams with remote collaboration, which nearly every person we talk to in our ongoing listening sessions is struggling with, and it applies to our newest customers, many of whom operate outside of product design. There’s still so much room for growth in Freehand to address changing customers’ needs. Should you be into this sort of thing, InVision is hiring for a dedicated Freehand researcher and a Freehand Product Marketing Manager!
What’s next for Freehand?
Colin: The big news is that we’re finding Freehand is truly for everyone. InVision has many products focused on designers, product teams, and product stakeholders, but Freehand is proving to be useful for every stakeholder, whether you’re in the core product team or sit outside of it in marketing, finance, or legal, as an executive, an employee experience leader, or a retail experience consultant. We’ve seen every one of these people find value in Freehand. That understanding is also our charge: To ensure that Freehand works for every possible use case in the easiest way possible.
We are seeing growth within our customer teams, too. A lot of the magic in Freehand happens synchronously with teams of people coming together to break down complex problems and solve them iteratively. That is where the energy happens—in that moment when teams look at each other and say, “Wait, what do we do?” Freehand is where you go to figure that out, to figure out what to do.
It’s fun to see how much Freehand is also being used asynchronously. Freehand is more than just a whiteboard meeting tool, it’s something bigger. It’s simple and streamlined, so non-designers and designers both feel at home. And now they can learn from the best, across the entire organization, with these awesome templates. We’re excited about what the team launched this week and how the new templates and features solve workflow challenges. We hope everyone will give them a try.
“InVision™ and Freehand™, are trademarks of InVisionApp Inc. The Salesforce cloud design logo is a trademark of Salesforce.com, inc., and is used here with permission. All other trademarks are the property of the respective companies.