I started using Miro back in 2018 when it was formerly called RealTimeBoard. It’s been so awesome to witness all the growth from feature development to the increase in collaborative accessibility.
The purpose of this article is to show how Miro has a major use case for solo work in addition to it’s well known collaborative features.
I am going to walk through 5 five personal use cases and touch on some of Miro’s strengths: the why, the design, the UX, and collaboration.
First, if you don’t know what Miro is, I’ll briefly explain it.
Let’s get into it.
What is Miro?
Miro is a product (software) as a service that provides consumers with a blank canvas to do ANYTHING they want. Let’s start by keeping it simple:
Miro is a virtual space.
Miro calls each of your virtual spaces: Boards.
Each Board is infinite in space.
Miro is collaborative.
Miro’s features allow you to work with others remotely and seamlessly.
But there are tons of use cases to use on your own.
Think of Miro as a virtual whiteboard with all the features Paint, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Canva has and then multiply those capabilities by 10x.
Miro is designed for design. Kinda meta, which I like.
Miro supplies you with built-in templates to get work done. I used Miro for my own product roadmaps, product teardowns, growth marketing strategies, storyboard design, and just being randomly creative.
But why do I use Miro?
Miro’s purpose is to remove all barriers to working creatively, efficiently, and effectively.
Miro starts with creating and designing an impeccable user experience for its core flagship product — the virtual whiteboard. All products they create must work in a team environment.
However, and quite ironically, most of my use cases for using Miro are for solo work. And that’s why Miro is amazing.
This is the beauty of Miro. Their first core value of design comes before collaboration, which allows someone like me to work by myself before working in a team.
Additionally, Miro designs products that integrate with other products and services.
Okay, But What Are My Use Cases?
The use cases listed above are ones that Miro will tell you on their website — however, I think it will be more valuable to list ways I’ve personally used Miro templates.
In each use case listed, I’ve also created a positioning statement along with a personal user story to go along with my experience!
5 Use Cases I’ve used with Miro and its templates are:
Use Case 1: Growth Marketing Metrics
The first time I used Miro was in 2018 (at the time it was called RealTimeBoard) to assist in building a yoga business I created.
For this use case, I used Miro for growth marketing for the yoga company. I needed to figure out how to acquire, retain customers, and drive revenue.
I used the SMART Metrics built-in template but modified it to my needs. This is a key value prop for me. I am not tied to any specific template. There is room for modifications and creativity.
I typically use the pirate metrics AARRR for growth marketing (even though recently I have been learning more about growth loops instead). I changed the SMART to AARRR.
Here is my finished product:
The drag and drop features inside the Miro whiteboard allowed me to customize this template into anything I wanted. Miro has smart alignment features all throughout the platform to help with symmetry. If you’ve ever used Canva, it’s a similar feeling you get when moving elements around.
I want to take this opportunity to show you how easy it is to make changes in Miro to existing templates. I took a screen record to show from start to finish what I did:
For growth marketing managers who are looking to analyze key metrics within the growth funnel, Miro’s built-in analytics templates are perfect for organizing the right metrics to measure, all while still being creative!
As Drew, a growth marketing manager, I want to strategize which metrics will increase overall revenue so that I have a growth model that is scalable.
Use Case 2: Making a Product Roadmap
In use case number one, I mentioned I used a growth marketing template for my yoga company. I also used Miro for a product roadmap for the yoga company. I needed to figure out how to successfully develop and execute a product action plan.
After creating the business plan and product vision board, I created a product roadmap to visualize and prioritize feature development.
I used the Product Roadmap template.
One of my favorite features of their user experience is the seamless and easy way to move elements around in the whiteboard. Everything snaps into place.
For a product manager who is looking to create a product roadmap with ease, Miro’s built-in product roadmap template is a friendly service that has many customizable features to help map out your needs.
As Drew, a product manager, I want to be able to create a simple, quick, and effective product roadmap so that I can clearly outline all the features that must be developed for the sustainable yoga business.
Use Case 3: Performing a Product Teardown
Product teardowns are a great way to gain insight into how to design a good product. They help understand the value propositions, the target audience, and the major use cases.
The coolest part about searching for templates in Miro is that I don’t necessarily look for the correct title of the template, but look more at the design, shapes, and the creative features of the template.
Let me show you what I mean because in this use case example, they don’t have a “product teardown” template. I knew how to do one so I looked for the template features I wanted:
This way, I can use my intentions and purpose to drive my template selection. I used a Look, Mock, and Analyze template.
The original template only had 3 columns. Each column title said: “Look” “Mock” and “Analyze”. I changed them to make it look like above.
Another reason why I love Miro is the ability to be inspired in my own creativity to make changes to their templates for personal use cases.
For product managers who are looking to perform product teardowns, Miro’s canvas is a virtual whiteboard with hundreds of templates to choose from, making it a supportive environment to learn about product design.
As Drew, an entrepreneur, I want to practice performing product teardowns so that I can learn how to be better at product design.
Use Case 4: Creating an Artistic Story Board
No template used here.
Just the blank canvas.
As I am writing this, I am working on turning one of my poems into a short animated sketch.
I am working with an illustrator and artist to design the artwork, storyboard, and animation for the poem.
We used the blank canvas as a collaborative space to show our designs, comment feedback, and perform live edits while video chatting. My illustrator lives in Luxembourg, and I live in California.
I used my touch screen on my laptop to draw on the Miro whiteboard. I then used shapes and frames to isolate each storyboard section. Rinse & Repeat.
This is becoming one of my favorite use cases because I didn’t even realize how creative I could be using Miro. I really wonder how many artists and storyboard animators are using Miro to collaborate. I know nothing about storyboard software, so I’m sure there are many out there.
However, I knew Miro. And I knew Miro could do the job. Another reason why Miro allows for unbounded creativity!
For artists and writers who are looking to creatively work together, Miro’s virtual whiteboard is a collaborative space that allows for infinite possibilities. Unlike other storyboard and artist software, Miro’s tools and user experience make it easy to feel like an artist.
As Drew, a writer, I want to have a framework to collaborate creatively with other artists so that I can produce an animated production.
Use Case 5: Managing Digital & Content Marketing
At one of my previous companies, I was tasked to manage their content and SEO marketing strategy. I used Miro’s blank canvas Board and just got creative!
I invited my team members at my company to collaborate. At this company, no one had heard of Miro and now the entire marketing team uses it! The free version is absolutely worth trying!
Miro has over 100 templates at your disposal. Every template is customizable. So when you select a template, you can remove or add features you like.
You can honestly create your own use case every single time. This is why I love Miro. It really does help me and the projects I’ve created.
For digital marketers who are looking for an organized way to manage content, develop strategy, and work together, Miro’s templates and blank canvas serve as the easiest way to collaborate within the marketing team.
As Drew, a digital marketing manager, I want to use a virtual whiteboard to get my strategy on paper in order to develop a successful SEO and content marketing plan.
A Collaborative Core
Miro’s vision is to be:
“The online collaborative whiteboard platform to bring teams together, anytime, anywhere.” -Miro
The use cases I’ve touched on only scratch the surface. Literally, I’ve used 5% of Miro’s full feature capabilities.
However, I do want to write about the collaborative features that Miro clearly works hard to design to enhance my user experience.
There are 2 major ways Miro’s environment is collaborative:
1. Whiteboard Canvas Features
Remember the What of Miro is Virtual Whiteboard and Collaborative Space.
The whiteboard is collaborative. While you are working within the whiteboard canvas space, there are dozens of features that allow you to work with others.
To list a few, you can add comments (think Google Doc/Word comments, but 10 times better UI). The screen sharing feature allows you to share your screen with your team members, including taking over audio and video control.
Miro also allows you live-chat with your team members while you are working together in the virtual canvas. Lastly (with the paid version), you can video chat! Think FaceTime, Zoom, or Hangouts while working within Miro. I think this is an incredible feature because Miro keeps you within their native application, removing any friction by using other platforms.
I’ve personally used many of these features for use case 4 from above, with my artist collaboration.
A design feature I love is the live view in Real-Time of your colleague's cursors. See below for an example. You can see Trevor, Leslie, and Jules’s cursors. While you work within the whiteboard, you will see live movements of where they are working.
The ingenious design feature of the moving pointers is that it kills two birds with one stone. One use case automatically serves a second use case. The first use case for the live movements of the cursors is confirmation that your team members are in the Miro whiteboard space.
The second use case is feedback. When I collaborate with others and I ask them, “Hey do you see this feature right here?” — The moment their cursor moves to the section in question, I’ve received the feedback that they do see the feature I am talking about before they respond. Implicit feedback, plus, this is the type of detail I pay attention to when using this product.
2. Marketplace Apps, API, & SDK
I personally don’t use these features as most of my use cases are solo work. However, I feel like I can’t write about Miro without touching on the true capabilities of Miro’s marketplace.
I’ll briefly talk about these features.
Just as they had 100’s of templates to choose from, their moneymaker is in their marketplace app integrations that allow teams & companies to use other services they pay for within Miro and vice versa.
They have over 50 apps that integrate within Miro. To just name popular ones:
Slack, Google Suite, Microsoft Suite, Salesforce, Github, Notion (embed native option), Trello (embed native option), Hubspot, Evernote, and Zapier
Miro allows you to access these apps within your Miro Board so that in Real-Time you do not have to leave one application to access the other.
If you have a unique tech stack and don’t see something you like, you’ll most likely need to use their API or SDK that allows you to customize almost any application you want. It seems they have a GitHub page with open source examples. These are all enterprise features that probably cost a lot.
The Free Version
For me, I’ve never paid Miro for their product (sorry Miro).
If you are a solo user like me (most of the time), you can get by without paying.
Here is what you get with the free version of Miro:
- Unlimited Team Members
- Maximum 3 Boards
- No controlled access (you can’t choose who has access to which Board, they get access to all Boards)
- All of the core integrations except the workflow apps such as Jira, Kanban, and Asana configurations
However, this is ABSOLUTELY enough to get the job done.
Here are a few growth hacking strategies I’ve learned over the years in order to get the most of my free Miro access:
- Invite as many people as you want into your Board space.
- Each Board is an infinite space. If you need more than 3 Boards, start utilizing relative regions within one whiteboard space. Use frames to delineate the region. If you are a solo user, there is no reason not to use the infinite space to separate out your work.
- If you want to create custom templates that you’d want all your users to use (or scale), just make the template once and copy & paste the existing template into the new or existing Boards.
- On the Miro website, it says the Kanban plugin is for Team (paid) version, however, I have access to it with the free version…so use the Kanban if you want!
- If you pay for Jira, Trello, or other workflow management software, you won’t be able to use them integrated within the Miro board. However, you can create a template version. My advice would be to just use the template version in Miro.
- With limited commenting and collaboration features, instead, you can literally type your comments within the Miro space using color-coded rules that match a user's name. A little hacky, but it works!
A few features that cannot be worked around are the privacy settings and high-resolution exports.
I didn’t mention this earlier, but you can’t export high-resolution PDFs and image files from your Board. You can only do low-resolution in the free version.
Additionally, if you want to invite someone to collaborate on one Board, but DO NOT want them to see another board you have, tough luck. You are open for business. No way around this.
In my case, I trust the people I am inviting to my Boards, plus it’s not the biggest deal if they see what I am working on.
Of course, everyone’s case is different.
The real why I love using Miro is in their prioritization of design thinking.
In my mind, this is how I foresee the design process occurring once their VP of Product decides to brainstorm on a feature for one of their products.
For example, I've laid out my assumptions of how things work in the design team at Miro (I have no clue but I’m just assuming based on my personal use cases). The following are questions that I feel get asked in this order to design the products they do.
Let’s use my personal favorite feature of Miro to walk through this process: Built-In Templates (visual below)
- What is the purpose of the Built-In Templates? [The Why]
- What colors, elements, and artistic themes will we be using? [Visual design, UI]
- How can we make people use templates seamlessly and create an intuitive flow for users? [UX, Collaboration]
- What ways can we integrate these templates within other applications and services? [Integration]
Here’s The Takeaway
Miro is a virtual canvas space with tools that allow for creativity and collaboration.
Values: Collaboration, Teamwork, Effortless, Barrierless, Enabling
From Miro: “Our mission is to empower teams to create the next best thing.”
From Me: “To allow one person to create anything they are inspired to make while making it being fun.”
I also thought about just putting: “Because it’s easy and fun.”
In conclusion, I created a final Why, What, How ven diagram using Miro in hopes to convey the identity of Miro. (see below)
I hope you are a little more curious about using Miro.
My next article will be about how Miro can improve some of its features.
Thanks for reading! :)