Hey folks! Excited to share the next addition from InVision LABS with you: Craft Freehand—a fast, flexible new way to collaborate in real-time right from Sketch and Photoshop.
With Craft Freehand, you can immediately push all of your artboards to a real-time, infinite canvas, complete with shareable URL. Loop in anyone you want for quick, lightweight, live collaboration sessions. Mark up the design, toss in images, comps, text, etc and then iterate the session when you’re ready.
Nerd tip: try holding the ‘option’ key while drawing a right angle or circle with the pen tool. Shape detection makes us happy. :)
We’ve been using this internally for some time and its proven to be an invaluable tool for expediting design reviews with our internal peers and stakeholders. We hope you enjoy and find it as helpful as we have.
As always, we welcome your feedback and are dedicated to continually enriching Craft. This tool (like all of the Craft components) was born from community feedback and requests and is 100% free to use. Thank you all for your continued support!
Thanks Stephen. We are back to Microsoft Paint.
Jokes aside, this is a great addition to a very good product! Looking forward the prototyping stable release!
Thanks Ale- appreciate it. Be sure to hit us up with any comments feedback after you've put it through its paces with your stakeholders and/or team. Enjoy!
We already have a place to comment in Invision. Why do we need this?
Hey Jason- great question. We built this with quick feedback sessions in mind (though it could certainly scale beyond that). Sometimes you just need to get some live feedback immediately. Given Craft's proximity and context within Sketch and PS, being able to launch this right from your design tool of choice helps maintain a sense of flow and urgency in the design process. We don't see this as a replacement for commenting, rather an additional opportunity to provide another light, touchpoint of feedback earlier in the design process.
Would definitely be curious to get your feedback on how you run design reviews or live feedback sessions today. Are those synchronous or asynchronous? What does that process look like (ex: calling folks over to your desk to chat, setting up a screenshare, etc). Thanks!
this is very, very awesome. kicking the tires now. immediate feedback:
- "erase everything" should specify that it erases sketch artboards too. we assumed it meant just stuff added in Freehand.
- would love a zoom keyboard shortcut.
edit: nevermind on 2.
Same thought on #1. Also a way to remove/lock/hide a Freehand?
Those things aside, this is an awesome tool which is likely to get immediate and regular use in our workflow. I was skeptical until I checked it out because I've never quite been able to wrap my head around collaborative design tools, but this is more about collaborative communication with anyone on the team which is a need I run into all the time. Also love that it's not competing for voice bandwidth so we can stick with the voice tools that we already use and are comfortable with.
Sam & Jim- great feedback, thank you. We were playing with a couple different options for 'clear' and 'delete' settings right up to release. I'll pass this feedback on to the LABS team.
Well figma, its been real.
My immediate thoughts: It looks awesome!
My 5min thoughts: Wow, I'll be stressed as hell using this.
My final thoughts: Working is groups is great for brainstorming. Working in tandem can get chaotic. I'm stressed out just looking at the GIF Stephen posted.
On a personal note, I would benefit more from all of the parties taking their own ideas, generating them, and later presenting them before me at a later date rather than in real time. Maybe it's my personality type? (introverted) I get that this way is traditionally how it's done so the new "real-time" aspect is foreign to say the least.
Collaboration is certainly useful but I think real creativity comes when you are alone with your thoughts and your own canvas. Nice tool regardless!
Andy- LOVE the depth of feedback here- thank you for vocalizing your reaction as you played with it. This is exactly type of feedback were looking for. I'd relish the opportunity to get you chatting with a researcher from the LABS team on this. I think digging in to how you approach and run design reviews would be key on actioning from our side. Want to hit me up at stephen[at]invisionapp.com to do a quick session together? We'll make it painless- I promise! :)
Additionally, the whole 'solo focus time' and/or 'group presentation' dynamic is an excellent conversation we're trying to pay careful attention to. There are a number of different work styles and mindsets at play within teams that were endeavoring to reverently balance. You're not alone in that. Internally we often follow more of a diverge > converge > diverge path vs true unfettered real-time multiplayer. Part of the fun is figuring out which parts of both of those approaches are composed of 'good practice' vs 'we've always done it this way bias'. Ultimately I think its somewhere in the middle.
Sorry to totally nerd out on design process... old habits. ;)
What an absolute nightmare, no idea why companies keep thinking this would actually be a worthwhile way to work. This sort of system should only be reserved for one of the nine circles of hell.
If I worked somewhere that tried to instigate this I'd do everything in my power to argue against it. Definitely REEKS of a product devised by an team of executive meddlers.
Cool release! :)
How is this managed though? Are these temporary URLs that expires or can I keep updating them? If I can keep updating them, can I actually find it in invision web? Do they ever expire?
Currently I don't see any export option to capture that output of the session. It would be great to actually be able to capture these as notes though.
Hey Jonathan- you can keep updating them if you continue to push via Craft interface (it will know that its the same document and update the same URL). You can't find these on InVision web, right now this is stand alone. There is no export currently though its an excellent request that I'm noting for the team to consider now. Thanks!
Yeah, I think it'll be great to have some form of control like removing/expiring the URL. Folks like me will be dealing with sensitive information a lot so these will help us keep our stuff secure.
Even a simple toggle like on boards / prototype with password protection can help too :)
This is amazing. Thank you!
It would be good if there was a 'create new freehand document' button. So I don't have to go into sketch create a new document and then create freehand.
I've used it to feedback to our developers design reviews. We've all enjoyed it so far. It would be great if there was an arrow tool also :) could see myself using it for user flows if that was an option.
Love it Leanne- thanks for the feedback. Chatting with Labs team now through this.
Also one quick note: you can go to freehand.invisionapp.com now and generate a new freehand without needing to go through sketch every time. This won't allow for artboard export if you launch it this way but it will give you a flexible, collaborative surface that you can fire up and dump images into and mark up with team whenever you need without additional tools required.
Amazing I'll do that from now on. Thanks for the reply Stephen!
Awesome- we've honestly been using it all over the place here internally. Most of my 1-on-1's with reports and in our planning meetings starts out in this fashion.
This is excellent! Definitely see its potential for better communication. Can't wait to use this in my reviews.
What ever happened to "Prototype"? It says that it's on Beta. Anyone have any info about that?
Hey Luis- Prototype is still in Beta, we're working hard to get that fully-released ASAP. In the meantime hit us up if you'd like to chat about getting on the current beta iteration. :)
What is the best way to do that?
I'll get you hooked in- hit me at stephen[at]invisionapp.com with a good email for you and I'll send instructions.
Oh nice! Stephen, I'd buy you the proverbial beer if I could check out prototype - I'd be sure to share the awesome news also. See me as part of testing team!
Is this primarily for remote working? I can't imagine using this in the office, to be honest.
Hey Stephen- appreciate the feedback. We've found using this in both remote and local situations to be helpful. On the local side how we've seen this play out is in a 'board room' scenario. In this case there's a central screen (projector, flat screen, or large monitor) showing the Craft Freehand session. Team mates are also connected on their own laptops/ipads and able to toss in sketches, comps, images which in turn show up on the main screen for group to discuss. Essentially it takes the role of a collaborative whiteboarding session in that case.
One instance we've toyed with is a large touchscreen monitor as well which can receive input so that users can literally walk up to the screen and draw with their fingers. Your mileage may vary in that case based on tech available and group size.
All that said- we just publicly launched this and are TOTALLY looking for feedback. We want to hone this and make as potent as possible for both remote and local applications. We covet your feedback. Give it a go and let us know how your experience played out. :)
thanks for the response!
Guys, thank you for this magnificent & simple tool! )
Can you make zoom experience more similar to sketch? I mean when I in 69% and press plus button I get 100%. Now it is quite hard to set zoom at 100%. It starts for example with 69, and then when I press plus - 139%.
I know I can press cmd+0, and then cmd -+, but it is not so obvious for my client who doesn't use this shortcuts in work.
Hey Steven, really enjoying this product so far. Am going to use it in a session with a stakeholder this evening. Developers here love it as well!
Two questions for you. Is there any way to preserve sessions via export? Is there any way to access freehand sessions outside of Craft, like my personal Invision account?
How does this relate to LiveShare? Doesn't that have the same functionality?
There's definitely some similarities for sure- good eye. Both are collaborative environments designed for facilitation of live design reviews. Where the two differ is implementation and stage of workflow. Whereas LiveShare is based around InVision prototypes, Craft Freehand is positioned near the front side a of workflow and jumps off from the screen design phase itself.
The kinship and potential intersection between the two products is certainly something we'd love to explore down the road. However, right now they remain completely separate products. Freehand's position within Craft also means you don't need an InVision account to use it out of the gate, you can deploy these sessions directly from Sketch and PS.
Ah, interesting you don't need an Invision account. I didn't get that at first.
I totally see Liveshare and Freehand becoming the same product down the road, like you said serving different purposes, but offering the same features.
Thanks for updating Stephen!
Is this Mac only as I don't see the option for on Windows.
This is currently Mac only as is the rest of our Craft suite. That said we definitely have Win support on the request list for consideration (Sketch is currently Mac only, so this would apply to PS only at this point in time).