Canvases Don't Work For Teams

We're going to zoom in on the design world for a second here, where all the work is stored together on one big canvas - such as Miro, Adobe and Figma. This approach is good for the creative, but quickly get chaotic and difficult for collaborators, slowing down the team.

Canvases get messy

Finding work on a canvas is slow. It's common to lose work or for one team member to need to ask another where the work is.

Teams inevitably move from one canvas to multiple canvases. This makes it even harder to find old work.

Difficult for collaborators to navigate

Managers, clients and other people on the team often struggle to use canvas-software. It's simply not designed for them, it's designed for power users.

Showing everything at once is distracting and confusing

A canvas often has irrelevant work, drafts and prior versions sitting alongside the work for review. Good for the designer, distracting and confusing for reviewers.

Creatives waste time organising

We've seen designers spend hours of organising their canvases and laying out signposts, to make things easier for collaborators.

Unclear status of the work

Which parts of the canvas are in draft? What's ready for review? It's often not clear.

The more bits of work you have in progress, the slower this gets.

So canvases are great for creatives, but can get difficult for collaborators as they get bigger. Ultimately, the canvas ends up slowing the team down

We propose a new paradigm: Push work to a central space for review.

Here, portions of the canvas are pushed to a central space designed for collaborating and providing fast, high quality reviews.

This is a common paradigm in software development, where programmers will push their code to a central repository such as Github to share new work. It's rare to share the entire codebase at once (although this was how it was done in the 90's), and showing people your work over Zoo. We think creative work needs a similar tooling update.

Isolate the bit that needs review

Instead of sharing the whole canvas, you share the specific part you need feedback on. This makes the process fast for the reviewer

Easy for non-designers

The Workflow platform gives collaborators a clear list of every piece of work that needs review. They can click through each piece and leave comments, screen recorded reviews, or chat. A fast, easy process that managers love and means you get feedback sooner.

Engage the wider team

In the shared space. Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Leadership can preview, engage with, and give feedback on the creative work in progress. And a few emoji reactions can help the creative team build momentum.

No more tidying or busywork

Creatives can focus on creative work without wasting hours tidying their canvas up for other users. Instead, they push work to a shared space.

Compare versions

Every time you push work, you store a snapshot of that version of the work. This makes it easy for collaborators to go back through time and compare.

Clear project management

Each piece of work can be viewed on the project management task board, so everyone can see the status (in progress or ready for review). You can also add important extra information such as a description, a due date, or discuss the work a chat thread.

Ability to change format

Even more magically, in this paradigm tasks can also change format. The first version of a task can be a text document, where the creative and manager get aligned on the brief. The second version can be a mood-board where references are collected. The next versions could be images with increasing fidelity. And quite possibly, for web design, yet another version of the work can be added which actually shows the live site!

This evolution could never happen on a canvas normally, and keeping track of the different parts of the puzzle would be very difficult.

Best practice

  1. For Figma designers, download the Figma Plugin to easily push work to Workflow.
  2. Figma and Miro users can share live links to the canvas in Workflow, as well as Figma prototypes. Select the work you want to share. Click share, and copy the link. In Workflow, create a new task, add a link to the task, and paste the sharable link.
  3. You can easily click the link in Workflow to go back .