WWW… Wednesday! Mural
by Taylor Slattery | July 20, 2021
We want to create great products, but at the end of the day, time is money. Design is all about problem-solving, and having a refined, reliable process is the key to delivering reliable, successful products to our clients. Of all the stages involved in this process, the most critical and often the hardest to nail down comes first. It’s in the early stages where our ability to clarify the problem we’re aiming to solve determines the success of the project.
To solve a problem you need to first understand it, but problems can be deceiving and their true causes aren’t as obvious as they may seem. Visual tools have proven to be a great aid in understanding both the scope and flow of a project, as well as gaining less-obvious insights that help to narrow our focus and inform our solution.
Mural is a tool for real-time, web-based collaboration that utilizes the same tools and processes we’re accustomed to in the office, in a convenient, digital package. It makes use of sticky notes, shapes, and connectors, which can be used to create any number of charts or diagrams. While the obvious value of a tool like Mural is in the initial stages of a design project, its wealth of templates and features make it a viable tool through every stage of the process.
Templates allow you to jump right into a targeted session, so whether you’re refining user flows, collecting feedback, or organizing a presentation, you can tackle the problem head-on. Mural’s open nature can lead you in a number of directions, but templates help to stay focused on solving the task at hand. Getting carried away with Mural’s tools like images & gifs is part of the fun but can detract from the focus of your session, which, depending on your outlook, may be the biggest downside.
Mural is actually quite fun to use. Its suite of tools has the unintended effect of providing the means to quickly derail meetings. Well-intentioned sessions can turn into chat rooms or sketch parties without strong leadership. To make the job of wrangling the team’s focus easier, Mural has tools designed specifically for facilitating meetings & keeping forward momentum.
It’s easy to get lost in an infinite canvas, so Mural created a feature called Summon, which pulls everyone’s focus to a single point in the canvas. Even if you have some team members off drawing in a remote corner, Summon brings everyone together so it’s clear what is being discussed. To keep things moving at a healthy pace, a handy timer is available, so you can set hard limits on the various stages of your meeting and call for votes to help make decisions and solidify the direction forward.
Mural also makes it easy to grant access to guests, which makes checking in with clients a seamless part of the process. You can keep them engaged throughout the process, or as often as you see fit, helping to avoid costly revisions and the inevitable requests for last-minute changes.
You can try Mural for yourself and learn more here.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.