I wish you and your startup all the best man, but this is way too low effort. You're going to get nothing but hate here (understandably so).
Also: since your target audience is designers you're really going to have to show how your app is better than Sketch + symbols or Figma + components. As far as I can tell, it's the same functionality.
Hey Matt, appreciate your input here! No doubt that Sketch and Figma are powerful tools. I use them myself and they're great. But they are made primarily for high-fidelity design and for full-time designers.
When it comes to wireframes, we are hoping to empower not just full-time designers but also product people, devs, marketers, entreprenuers, etc to wireframe the ideas they have. Even though Sketch/Figma are way more approachable than something like Photoshop was back in the day, they are still complex and hard to use for non-designers. Whimsical makes it possible for entire teams (including all the non-designers) to collaborate and design and make products together.
But even for designers, not all teams have a fully built-out component library that does everything they need. That's a fairly significant investment and can be time consuming to manage. Even when it is built, it's still slower to design something like a table or just a simple radio list.
And that's what I was getting at with the button example in the post. You have to worry yourself with far too many details and adjustments and pixels when you're in Sketch. This diverts your attention and time from exploring and working through the bigger ideas.
We worked hard to define fairly rigid constraints in Whimsical so that it would remain semantic and fast and simple. Hopefully, as we continue to build more elements and features into it, it will demonstrate even more clearly its advantages and usefulness.
Anyway, just wanted to explain a bit more. There's a more detailed write-up of some of these same points here: https://whimsical.co/design/fast-collaborative-wireframing-app/
it's amazing how relevant this comic continues to be:
oof. i get the premise that you get distracted by the high-fidelity options available in tools like Sketch, but framing it this way is needlessly adversarial.
Bold enough to rag on Sketch, but not enough to write a proactive headline like "Why You Should Design Wireframes with Whimsical"
Eh, sure. It was more of an experiment. Perhaps the next blog post title will be more positively framed :)
I disagree. It ONLY makes sense to create our wireframes in Sketch. Early discussions are all about the whiteboard, random sheets of paper and sticky notes but when it comes time to wireframe we start from Sketch.
We do wireframes, prototypes, mockups, presentations, stakeholder reviews and developer handoffs all with Sketch + Invision. I could work through an entire project with one Sketch file if I wanted.
I fully agree. The more software systems we add, the more unneeded complexity we bring into a project. The last thing we want is half our project in one tool while the other half is in another. Moreover, its hard enough on-boarding clients to use the tool (Meaning using invision)
That being said, I do enjoy that this tool has other UX tools, but not enough for me to switch. UX Pin did the same thing, but never hit my pain points... which was creating interactive responsive mock ups without managing 40 art boards because of the breakpoints.
Yep, I can empathize with getting the clients onboarded to additional tools. It's a legitimate pain point.
That being said, wireframes PNGs from Whimsical can be exported into InVision (albeit manually at this point) if the desire is to do everything in there.
Of course I'm biased but I think the wireframing process feels really fast in Whimsical compared to doing something similar in Sketch (pre-built elements, thousands of searchable icons, wireframe-specific shortcuts, etc). But time will tell how many others feel the same way and if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. As I mentioned in one of the other comments, we hope to build a unified workspace that's tailored to the ideation phases of building software.
Would love for you to give Whimsical a spin and to hear your thoughts on the actual product experience, though of course no pressure. Cheers!
Right, I hear you. I've worked with a very similar process before.
Though one of the other things I've experienced is the pain of trying to do it all with a lot of remote teammates and stakeholders. Often times, it can be hard to get the whiteboard/paper sketches/sticky notes experience when that's the case. And that's actually one of the main reasons we're building Whimsical. It's a unified workspace that is tailored to the ideation phases of building software.
Another thing that's a bit different than the Sketch/InVision setup is that you can have the entire team creating and collaborating inside Whimsical at the same time. It's tough in Sketch because only designers typically feel comfortable creating in there so the rest of the team (PMs, devs, etc) are left out. Also, stuff like flowcharts and sticky notes exercises aren't really a strength and so things can quickly get fragmented.
At any rate, I'd still love for you to kick the tires on Whimsical if you're willing. Any and all feedback is helpful, especially as we're still building out the core experience.
I expected a full-length article with thoughtful opinions. I left extremely disappointed.
It's like when Samsung takes a stab at Apple in their ads: it looks desperate. If you have to resort to bashing on your competition just to try and sell your product, you failed.
Yeah, was going for more of the quick hitter / thought provoking type of thing (as in, wow, I never thought about how many low-level decisions I have to make just to put a button in my wireframes) but I see that fell pretty flat. I think the article you were probably expecting was this one: https://whimsical.co/design/fast-collaborative-wireframing-app/ which focuses more on us but also touches on some of the shortcomings of the other wireframing solutions out there. At any rate, thanks for the feedback. Will probably stick to the more in-depth, thoughtful types of posts going forward :)
As someone who didn't really know Whimsical it felt weird but now that I played around with the tool, I get it. I still prefer the article you linked though.
I personally don't think it's a replacement for Sketch but I could definitely see myself use it during workshops and ideation, especially with the addition of sticky notes and mindmaps. I see what you are going for and I like it so I'll keep a close eye on your development!
The space of design tools is a though and crowded one nowadays. I wish you guys all the best and hope to see Whimsical grow in the years to come!
Agree with Matt C. Unfortunately, web based tools are majorly handicapped by the ephemeral nature of web based tools :D. If adobe buys you guys 6 months from now and gets integrated into XD or something. Im S.O.L. and I have to rebuild everything in Sketch or XD or Axure or whatever...best of luck tho!
Glad you brought this up actually. It's a topic we've discussed a lot internally as we decide what we want for the future of our company.
Our strong desire is to bootstrap Whimsical to profitability and keep building it independently for the next 10+ years.
We too have seen the unfortunate cycle of new products getting launched only to get acquired and shut down 6 months later. Or the alternate path of raising VC money that requires a certain growth trajectory that's not always attainable and also leads to a shutdown.
We have already put a lot of love and work into making Whimsical what it is today. Our dream is to continue to do that for a long time to come. In fact, our plan is to add a desktop app next year. Of course we can't control our fate entirely but hopefully we'll be around for the long haul as a dependable and delightful tool for visual collaboration.
Thats cool, I hope you guys become profitable as well! Best of luck to you and your team.
Hey all, just wrote up a new blog post. It's a bit cheeky I suppose. But the core premise is that wireframes are meant to show the general layout, content, and functionality of an interface, not the style and aesthetics. It's so easy to get sucked into messing with trivial details (like what the buttons look like and whether the alignment is correct) when that time would be better spent on the bigger ideas.
For me, what you're describing here is an issue with the designer, not the software capabilities. I can frame a website in no time in Sketch without ever getting to the style and aesthetics.
Hell, I can even make a presentation of an idea, how it'll work and not even touch on the buttons.
I didn't understand why I should not be using Sketch at all. Try positive title next time and, just a suggestion, talk why you're better, not why other software is bad...
Appreciate the feedback here. I wrote a reply to a similar comment. TL;DR probably better to just stick to the positives on what we are building. You live and you learn :) https://www.designernews.co/comments/293257