7 Reasons Why I Use InVision for Rapid Prototyping

How did I ever live without it?


You know that feeling you get when you discover something new that makes your life so much easier? It could be anything; a new app, new way of thinking, new book, or a new pair of shoes.

When this rare event occurs, you think to yourself, “Wow, I wish I had known about this years ago!” Then you move on with your new-found knowledge (or pair of shoes) and you feel like anything is possible.

That’s how I felt when I discovered InVision.

For those of you that know already use InVision, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you that know what InVision is, but don’t use it, you’re missing out. And, finally, for those of you that don’t know what InVision is, let me introduce you.

InVision is a prototyping tool created for designers, by designers. It allows you to quickly and easily create interactive mockups for your designs. When you’re ready, you can share these mockups with your team or clients. It makes presenting your designs a breeze, and is much more effective than sending out a .PDF or screen shots. You can discuss the mockups right inside the app by leaving comments, that are connected to a point on the screen that you are discussing.

https://vimeo.com/63215902

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are my top 7 reasons for using InVision:

1. Presentation is everything

As a designer, you know that when you’re presenting your work, presentation is everything. There is a night-and-day difference between emailing 30 different JPG files to a client of a website design and asking for their feedback, and sending them a link to an interactive prototype that they can toy around with as if it was an actual website.

Upping your presentation-game can really make a difference, both in how your clients perceive the quality you’re delivering, and the quality of feedback they can provide.

2. Control of Your Design

This is where InVision really shines. When you upload your screens, it presents them in a way that mimics an actual web browsing experience. This means that you have control over how others see your designs, which is a great thing.

Feedback is so much better when your clients have a better context for what they’re looking at. Many times in the past, when I would send .PDF mockups of a website to a client, they’d look at the entire page at once (header, content, footer, etc) and say, “It’s too busy.” But in reality, if they had seen the site in proper context (only displaying above the fold content) it wouldn’t have been an issue.

3. Real-Time To-Do lists

InVision is meant to be a stand-alone design presentation app. This means that all progress from start to finish can happen inside the app. So, they’ve built out a very nice way to give and receive feedback. With comments and notes, you can set a point on the screen that you’d like to discuss, and leave a comment linked to that point. This creates a to-do list at the same time, and allows others to chime in on the discussion.

These comments are also made into tasks. It’s easy to quickly go through and check them off as you complete the changes. It makes life much easier, believe me.

4. Mobile

Ok, this is a sweet one. Mobile prototyping. Complete with GESTURES.

Yes, that’s right. Just like you can do with desktop versions, you can create hotspot links for all of your screens. When you do this, you can control the mobile gestures and transitions that occur.

Things like: Swiping to the left, double tapping, dissolving a screen on click, or sliding to the right.

https://vimeo.com/75813359

What a better way to visualize a mobile app, or website than to actually interact with it on your mobile device. This removes all guessing from the equation when it comes to designing elements that are the right size for a mobile device.

5. Version History and Syncing

Another great feature about this app is the InVision Sync App, which is very similar to Dropbox, or Google Drive. This makes adding screens even more simple, and allows you to easily access them on your local machine.

InVision also keeps record of all past screens, so you can have version history readily available. This is nice, especially when going through multiple iterations of a design.

6. Hover States

As if creating clickable hotspots weren’t enough, they had to go and do something even more awesome. Hover states.

Hover states make your prototype interaction even more realistic. It allows you to create things like menus, tooltips, or hover states for buttons. This is just another fantastic feature that I couldn’t live without.

7. Live Share!

Ok, now this is a cool one. More recently, InVision released a new feature: Live Share.

Live Share allows you to collaborate in real-time using an in-browser screen share. Each collaborator gets their own mouse, so you can easily point and see what someone is talking about. You can also sketch, and chat right inside the Live Share interface.

https://vimeo.com/82593383

On top of all that, they’ve added a VOIP chat live in-browser, or you can call in to a unique conference line.

The bottom line

As a web/product designer, I can’t imagine life without the InVision app. This product is packed with so many great features that it was hard to limit my list to only seven. The InVision team is dedicated to getting feedback from its users, and consistently strives to improve their app. Even in my short time using the app, there have been great additions and improvements.

If I can’t convince you to try out this app, then maybe one of their many well-established customers can. Check out the list for yourself. This list has rave reviews from individuals that work at places like: Adobe, eBay, Zappos.com, Walmart, Dell, AirBnB, Evernote, and the list goes on.

Here’s one quote:

“InVision is indispensable, be it for quick concepting, creating a believable prototype for studies, or for building out interactive specifications.” -Chad Thornton, AirBnB

It’s a great app, and it’s only going to get better. I recommend saving yourself the trouble of not using InVision, and just trying it out for yourself.

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