AMA: InVision Design Leads On What’s Coming Next

over 7 years ago from , Design Partnerships @ InVision App

Hey folks, we’re honored to be doing this AMA with you today! It’s been a busy 2016, beginning with Macaw joining us and bringing Tom and his team on board. Last month we launched Craft, a free plugin suite for Sketch and Photoshop that lets you design with real data to turbo charge your screen design workflow. Last week we announced the acquisition of Silver Flows and its forthcoming integration into Craft, which enables live prototyping right inside of Sketch (yeah, we’re excited too)! Additionally we’re cranking on Motion, Inspect, Design Disruptors, Design+, and much more.

We’ve received a huge amount of support and feedback from the design community, which is the No. 1 contributor to our expansion and growth. The more we hear from you and how to improve your workflow, the better we get at solving the design challenges of the future.

The InVision crew answering your questions today are:

We love our community and we love you (yes, you). Grab a coffee, crank some tunes, and let’s chat design. Ask us anything.

We’ll start answering your questions on March 23rd at 10am PDT.


  • Dominic SebastianDominic Sebastian, over 7 years ago

    Sooooo when are you buying Zeplin?

    Just joking(ish). A while back there was a feature announced (which felt a lot like Zeplin inside Invision), that allowed people to click on design elements to get measurements, colour values etc - but it dropped off the map. Is this still something being worked on? It's arguably one of the only things missing from making the product completely cater to a designers end to end workflow.

    Invision's growth in the right areas has really impressive, not to mention valuable, and I'm very thankful for it. Thanks for doing the AMA

    22 points
    • Viktor TViktor T, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      ^ This!!!

      EDIT: Just saw the Inspect-link. Guessing this will be what we're hoping for.. Yay!

      1 point
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago

      Hey Dominic! We're really excited for the release of Inspect. We're very actively working on this here internally (in fact we currently have 1000+ folks participating in a closed beta as I type this). Completely agree that this one represents a huge opportunity to further tighten the end to end workflow for designers.

      Appreciate your kind comments- very grateful for this community as well, the feedback has been invaluable in helping us determine where to focus.

      5 points
  • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, over 7 years ago

    When are you buying Sketch?

    15 points
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago

      Joel- would we get to have a trendy power couple name if this happened? SketchVision? InSketch? ;)

      All kidding aside- happy to take on a blunt question. As you probably know we’re big fans and users of Sketch. Pieter and the whole team at Bohemian Coding have built an amazing product that has made so many design workflows better. If something like this were ever to happen in the future I think creative independence would be the key.

      We’re looking forward to doing even more together around Craft. There’s so much good still to be done with regards to tooling in our shared space.

      6 points
  • Chris HampshireChris Hampshire, over 7 years ago

    Just a quick one from me - When will Spaces come out?

    Ref - https://dribbble.com/shots/2482311-Spaces

    7 points
  • Grady Kelly, over 7 years ago

    I am curious if you are going to end up offering a service like LayerVault?

    Are their any other plans to go deeper with Slack integrations?

    With the Craft Style Guides, are their plans to have that sync back to Invision to be seen outside of Sketch?

    At Ghostery we have really been enjoying the lookback integration, (as we have been testing designs for our upcoming privacy browser), are their plans to have test results or other test data viewable within invision?

    Thanks for such an awesome tool! All that you do is very inspiring!

    6 points
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago

      Hey Grady!

      Regarding Version Control: we do have an existing 'history' mode within InVision which we're working on a revision to now (how meta is that?). Excited about that as I think it will take this to the next level. Version control is a tricky beast, there are many complicating factors that make it a hard one to nail. I think its in our customers' best interest that we continue to be relentless with our pursuit of refining our syncing controls/systems. Ensuring that these work with as little friction as possible with services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, etc is a subtle, but high-impact focus that everyone benefits from.

      Regarding Slack: Definitely! We love Slack, we use it to run our entirely remote team every single day. Have a couple refinements in the pipeline right now that I think you're really going to like.

      Regarding Craft Style Guides: Wouldn't that be great... wouldn't it... its almost as if that would be the perfect fit. ;)

      Regarding User Testing: So glad you're enjoying the Lookback integration, we'd love to do more here. Definitely on the radar and would love to see these sort of offerings deepen.

      PS- Big fan of Ghostery! Nice work!

      3 points
  • Aubrey JohnsonAubrey Johnson, over 7 years ago
    1. Would be so nice to know when Craft 2 might hit? Really hankering to use the Silver Flows integration :)

    2. I just like you InVision team, for making my work life easier and making all of this great stuff to keep the focus on the design and solving problems.

    6 points
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      Hey Aubrey- good to hear from you my friend!

      1) To say were stoked for Craft 2.0 is an understatement. Aby and Andrey built an incredible product in Silver and we’re very excited to have it integrate with InVision. And if the update I just got from the Silver Flows team is any indicator, its going to be much sooner than you might think. We’ll be rolling out a few phases of betas very soon so the community can help us work up to the major point release.

      2) We like you too. :) It was awesome getting to meet you in person a couple months ago. And honestly that sort of interaction is the perpetual key towards us staying in sync with the community. Please continue to challenge, question, encourage, and keep us accountable. That passion helps us ensure were working on the most important things.

      1 point
  • JC .JC ., over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    There are a bunch of microinteractions that changed when Invision released it's last big version. Y'alI went really minimal with the UI and I personally find the changes a hinderance to this day.

    For example, when I upload a bunch of designs at once, the invision UI has the designs appear pretty immediately on the webpage as if they are all uploaded. But when I click into the design, the webpage loads a white page and I have to refresh the screen a few times before I see anything. My internet is not blazing fast depending where my physical location is. While in older versions of Invision, when I upload designs, there will be a visual state that indicates that things are still uploading.

    Another example is that the 'upload/create' plus button is a lot smaller and harder to subconsciously click nowadays since it's small and has a smaller hit range.

    My question is how did y'all come up with such design decisions? How did y'all rationalize the marginalization of affordances for "sleek UI"?

    3 points
    • Billy Kiely, over 7 years ago

      Hey Jay, I’d love to have you chat with Charles Pearson , (one of our excellent researchers here)- super important that we capture this feedback and look for growth opportunities. I'll have him reach out.

      Regarding the uploading specifically, I believe you may have stumbled upon a bug there - it’s meant to let you instantly work with your local images (both as a thumbnail and in the editor) if they are taking some time to upload. I’ll contact support about this, thanks!

      1 point
    • Charles PearsonCharles Pearson, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      Hi Jay. I'm following up on Billy's note -- if you want to chat you can email me at charlespearson .at. invisionapp.com. It'd be great to connect! [And this goes for anybody else who might read this. If you want to chat all things InVision or really, interaction design, reach out!] Thx.

      0 points
  • Max LindMax Lind, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Hey Guys - thanks for joining us! Really exciting stuff in your camp as of late.

    • Talk a bit about your remote work culture... how do you keep your team's connected, what do you look for when hiring remote workers, what tools do you rely on?
    • Any updates on a release date for Design Disruptors?
    • The idea and execution behind the Design+ series is a great! (definitely worthy of more exposure)... do you see this idea growing beyond how it exists today? (i.e. Video series to Workshops to Conferences)
    • What's next for LABS!? :)
    • You already have a TON on your plate, but...any chance you might create a podcast in the future?
    3 points
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago

      Remote Work Culture - We now have folks all over the world: Prague, Taiwan, Serbia, London, Argentina, Canada, the US and elsewhere. Being a remote company allows us to hire the very BEST people regardless of location. We find that working remotely gives InVision team members authorship over their lives. We place emphasis on outcomes, not physical presence. We use Slack, Google Hangouts, and yes, InVision (dog-fooding is delicious!) to drive our day to day communication here internally.

      Design Disruptors Very excited about Design Disruptors. We're currently in the process of producing the musical score for the film and its shaping up nicely. I saw a cut of the film last week and my jaw dropped- the level of quality is seriously high.

      Design+ - This event series is such a kick. Our goal has been to facillitate discussion around the most important topics in design today. We've had these events in San Francisco, New York, Austin, and next month will be having one in London. Additionally we've been spinning up Design+Drinks social events all across the world. Our goal is to make these available for everyone in the community to participate regardless of physical location. Its so great to get face-to-face time with one another.

      LABS - Our very first LABS release, Craft, went over well. So well, in fact, that its taken on a life of its own. That's exactly what LABS was intended to do- allow us to dream up lofty ideas that are unattached to anything else we've built already and take a stab at producing free, forward-looking solutions. We have several more releases lined up that you'll see hitting under the LABS moniker in the future.

      Podcast - Love the idea of this. Its a natural fit for us and we've entertained it for some time. I could see us potentially moving in this direction in the future.

      2 points
  • Saul SutcherSaul Sutcher, over 7 years ago

    Would love to have a feature where I could visually see how all pages are linked in a sort of Invision style sitemap. This would be super helpful in getting clients to understand and utilitzing invision out of the gate.

    2 points
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago

      Hey Saul- yes have definitely heard this one before. Continuing to play with concepts around this. I'll have the research team reach out to you if you're game to help provide us with more feedback on what you're looking for here. Shoot me an email at stephen[at]invisionapp.com, and I'll loop you in. :)

      1 point
  • Kieran RheaumeKieran Rheaume, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Hey InVision crew, thanks for taking the time to be with us today :-) My question is directed at Clark..

    Back at the founding stages of the company, did you envision (pun intended) so many acquisitions and partnerships to come? They've all seemed to manifest pretty organically within the core product, and I'm wondering how expected/deliberate this has been, or whether these opportunities have more or less been pursued on as you go?

    2 points
    • Clark Valberg, over 7 years ago

      Hi Kieran, thanks so much -- it's so fun to take part in this. :)

      My expectations and goals for InVision have always been centered around up-leveling creative workflow for product design. That began with us pioneering the rapid-prototyping space, because frankly thats what I needed for my workflow as a designer. Next we moved on to collaboration, because again, we needed tools for better collaborative work as a team.

      Every subsequent move has been, in one sense, very organic because our approach has remained the same from the day we started. We ask ourselves "What are the biggest frustration and opportunities facing product teams today?". Then we ask "How can we create a solution that's not just marginally, but fundamentally better?". The acquisitions and partnerships you've seen so far today are a natural way for us to continue addressing these problems at increased speed and creativity -- and there's much more to come :)

      4 points
  • Rory Smyth, over 7 years ago

    I will sacrifice my first born if you pair with Bohemian Coding and create a true content repeat/grid tool (similar to comet) that works with Craft.

    That is all.

    2 points
  • Miro Kirov, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )


    I was really happy by the news that you bought Macaw, which I think is an awesome and the right step in InVision's progress. Seeing the blog post about it, it seemed like you want to shift the Macaw's team efforts into the future "Inspector" tool, which helps des and dev collaborate more easily.

    Are there future plans in InVision about generating complete layouts into code(like Macaw & Webflow) or are you shifting towards helping the hand-off of designs to developers (like Zepplin)?

    2 points
    • tom giannattasiotom giannattasio, over 7 years ago

      Hi Miroslav,

      With Macaw, we learned a lot about code-automation. That knowledge will certainly work its way into InVision’s products. With regards to Inspect (InVision’s upcoming code extraction tool), our efforts are currently aimed at helping developers extract code manually, which gives them exactly what they need when they need it. However, that’s just the first step. We see a lot of opportunities to help with the design to dev hand-off and we're exploring things like styles guides and automation. How far we take that really depends on user needs.

      So really… What are your needs? What do you hope to see?! ;)

      2 points
  • Toby ShorinToby Shorin, over 7 years ago

    Hey thanks for doing this! I have a question for ya'll.

    From here on the ground, it looks like InVision's goal is to own the end-to-end design "stack" and become the Adobe of the new interactive design. Your recent acquisitions indicate that you're well on your way to this future.

    We're all aware of the immediate challenges in the field that need solving—collaboration, responsive layouts, streamlining of design–>dev workflows, etc. I'm curious to hear your further thoughts about the challenges designers will increasingly face as you and other companies solve these problems. What are are the issues you think InVision will build tools to address in 5-7 years' time?

    2 points
    • Stephen Olmstead, over 7 years ago

      Hey Toby- excellent questions (and tough ones too- I like!)

      We are focused on continually evolving the InVision platform into a cohesive suite of tools that drive your entire design workflow. This unending pursuit to better ourselves and our platform only works if we are listening to our customers and taking action accordingly. We have learned a lot (both things to do and things not to do) and will continue to learn from those who have come before us.

      Our industry changes so fast. That makes the '5-7 years down the road’ question a difficult one to answer. We believe the BEST companies are adaptable. It’s all about embracing the pivot. As we evolve as designers, the tools should do so as well.

      That said, more immediately we’re excited about the release of Motion (better tooling for microinteractions), Inspect (better tools for dev handoff and file speccing) and the evolution of Craft (pushing the boundaries tooling inside your screen design tool of choice). Workflow also represented a significant step forward for us with team collaboration, and theres much more coming on that front. Responsive is always on the radar. Its one of the many reasons we were so pumped to welcome Tom and his team to InVision. They 'get' this aspect of design at the deepest of level and are bringing this perspective/experience to our future endeavors here.

      We’ve got a very packed out pipeline that we can’t wait to share with you. Promise we'll continue to drip it out in the coming weeks. :)

      1 point
  • Giovanni HobbinsGiovanni Hobbins, over 7 years ago

    I noticed you recently stopped hiring designers (ie you took down the job listing). Any chance that will change in the near future?

    Sorry this question isn't about what's next in the product but I felt like the other commenters covered everything I had in mind.

    1 point
  • Jared Rauh, over 7 years ago

    I'll keep it simple – The one thing that always seems to be missing is when users have to click into inputs to simulate keystrokes. Will you ever be implementing the ability to type in defined areas?

    1 point
    • Billy Kiely, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      Hey Jared - This is a feature rolling out in InVision's Craft Prototyping (formally Silver Flows). I too am excited for this! keyboard

      1 point
  • Henrique NogueiraHenrique Nogueira, over 7 years ago

    Working with sketch files as a team isn´t as easy as it should be. I believe invision has the ability and technologies to make this work (some kind of collaboration platform, cloud-based, like working with adobe creative cloud, or even google docs ). Are you guys thinking about anithing like it?

    1 point
    • tom giannattasiotom giannattasio, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      Hi Henrique,

      Thanks for the question. We're working on a big leap to help manage Sketch and Photoshop files with Inspect. However, there are plenty of other ways we can improve collaboration around a file. It sounds like you may be asking for version control. Is that a fair statement?

      Managing design assets has always been a tricky beast and no one has quite nailed it yet. That being said, it's certainly an area we're thinking about as more and more source files are uploaded to the platform.

      Any thoughts on what you'd love to see?

      1 point
      • Henrique NogueiraHenrique Nogueira, over 7 years ago

        Hi Tom,

        Yes, version control, cloud synced is one of the things i have in mind.

        But i'm thinking more than sharing assets with developers, something like sharing especific elements from inside a design file (like a sketch symbol, for example), so designers on my team can easily use this elements on new designs, without having to actually open the file just to copy it.

        I believe the evolution from Styles, inside craft, would be sync this elements online.

        1 point
  • Timo Nagel, over 7 years ago

    I am personally not a fan of online design software like "figma". I love the native performance of tools like sketch and their abilities with plugins.

    What is your take on tools like that?

    1 point
    • tom giannattasiotom giannattasio, over 7 years ago

      Web or native is one of my favorite debates, so thanks for bringing it up!

      While I don't have a hard stance on one or the other. I think that we're at an interesting point in the evolution of the browser where functionality that was typically owned by desktop software can now be reproduced in the browser. We're going to continue see desktop apps making a leap into the browser and I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that transition. It is my belief, however, that certain types of tools benefit most when they exist outside a standard browser.

      Performance is the case usually backing native apps and it's certainly one of the most important when supporting intense, creative workflows. However, I think there are tremendous UX benefits that browser-based apps miss out on as well. If you're building an application that people need to have in front of them at random yet extensive intervals throughout their day, your software probably benefits from being on a dock. I look at the browser as a junk drawer and tabs as items in that junk drawer. I throw a ton of junk into it. So does my wife and my daughter and it all gets shuffled around over the course of weeks. Some tools work well in a junk drawer – like a bottle opener. Some tools – like my phone – do not. I need it all day, every day. My phone doesn't go in a junk drawer; it goes in my pocket for quick recall and extended use.

      Most of InVision's tools are in the browser because they're centered around collaboration and encourage a rapid workflow. Ideally we get you in and out as quickly as possible, so you can get back to your day. So, I think it really boils down to how a product can you best serve its users. Sometimes things align in the browser. Other times it requires a purely native or even a hybrid solution.

      1 point
      • Giovanni HobbinsGiovanni Hobbins, over 7 years ago

        I really like your junk drawer analogy and I think it's really true.

        But looking at Google's Chrome OS (which admittedly has many issues) leads me to believe the browser does not have to be a junk drawer forever.

        In the end, the overall trend is all just moving towards remote computing. Remote data storage is already mainstream. Remote gaming is not far away. Only a matter of time before our computers are just browsers anyway.

        0 points
  • Dana Smith, over 7 years ago

    It wasn't until more news about Craft that I realized the Sketch version had more things (like Styles!) Are these same features in the backlog for the Photoshop plugin?

    1 point
    • Billy Kiely, over 7 years ago

      We love Photoshop and Sketch, iOS and Android, Windows and Mac and we continue to strive to support as many platforms and configurations as possible. That said you have to start somewhere and rather than wait for complete parity across platforms we’ve chosen to push out what we have ready as soon as possible. We’re pretty aggressive about building and releasing as fast as possible. We believe designers appreciate those daily/weekly updates with incremental changes vs monthly/quarterly updates with big drops.

      2 points
  • Esteban Contreras, over 7 years ago

    What do you think about the term "Experience Design" as a discipline / approach / concept (not a product)?

    0 points
  • Tony GinesTony Gines, over 7 years ago

    I'm curious about what the ratio of mobile prototypes to desktop prototypes is. I feel like I'm in the minority in the design field lately because I'm not building iOS apps every day. All of the tools that come out seem to be laser-focused on building iOS app prototypes instead of website prototypes. Can you share some basic data on how your users are using InVision?

    0 points
    • Billy Kiely, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      You're not alone Tony! Desktop prototypes own a sizable space in InVision. I think we're seeing a larger number of mobile prototyping tools surface because of the importance of micro interactions when designing for mobile (which is also the reason we're building our Motion feature).

      We see desktop projects contain a much larger set of screens as the flows tend to be telling a much fuller story, whereas mobile projects are usually focused on just a few interactions.

      0 points
  • Nakkeeran Raveendran, over 7 years ago

    Hey guys, thanks for doing the AMA. Great to see lots of progress at invision. I don't have any questions today as the one I planned on asking is already been asked. If you got some spare change and hungry for more acquisitions in the mobile prototyping space, you might want to have a look at Canvas Flip FYI . Keep up the good work :)

    0 points
  • Johnson VinoJohnson Vino, over 7 years ago

    So I have list of questions,

    1.How did you get a concept to develop the invision 2. What is you vision 3. You are giving the best plugins that is Craft for free, what is the reason behind it. 4.What makes you better than marvel 5. Did you able to provide designer social media in invision

    0 points