This post originally appeared in the October 24, 2019 issue with the email subject line "Farm-to-table website design" and an essay on types of website navigation menus.
Every stock photo depicting “UX” is a whiteboard crammed with Post-Its. Personally, I avoid Post-It working sessions unless absolutely necessary.
- First off, bigger offices always order the off-brand that doesn’t stick nearly as well (I mean, come on Minnesotans: shop local).
- Then you can’t read what’s actually on the post-it unless you squint.
- Very few people show up truly prepared. The ideas in an in-person brainstorming session… aren’t always the best. (“It’s brainstorming! There are no wrong answers!” hahahahaha no there are no wrong answers but there are certainly poor uses of time)
- Someone important always sits out.
- Someone else has to transcribe the Post-Its into a document and restickable squares of paper are never as exciting when they’re in a spreadsheet… even a color-coded one.
The function of a Post-It for iterative design is great: it’s an idea you don’t have to commit to! And you can move it around into whatever formation you want… unless it’s the off-brand and you can only move it once.
Today’s tool, Mural, is Post-Its for digital design, which, like sticky notes and all other great inventions, seems completely unnecessary until you use it.
Mural at a glance
I never thought that I would just straight-up pay $12/month for digital sticky notes, but Mural has changed all that. Take my (business’s) money: it is really really great to just move different colored squares and rectangles with ideas on them on a “whiteboard.”
This idea is not groundbreaking. But it works. And it’s fun.
What’s even better: users can host fully online collaboration and whiteboard sessions with Mural. Like, y’all can be in your remote workspaces and be in the same virtual UX stock photo, moving post-its around every time someone has a new idea.
Some rad features:
- vote on designs at the end of your virtual collaboration session
- set a timer so people can work on their own over time
- add external images (like a mood board) and links to other designs
- incorporate with Slack, Google Calendar and other common collaboration tools
- lock content you don’t want anyone else to move
You have to love a tool that lists all of its updates very cleanly and clearly on its website. It’s like they know how to UX or something!
I have not yet hosted a Mural collaboration session. I did share a few Mural IA iterations with a client team, which enables them to play around with the fundamental ideas. And I will facilitate with Mural very soon.
I would recommend Mural for UX facilitators and ideators, especially if you’re accommodating any remote workers. In this focus group of one, I recommend Mural for me.