The team here at has made a concerted effort to be as “lean” as possible in developing the Yipee app and infrastructure. As the UX person, I’ve tried to take on the “only build what we have to” lean startup approach as well. I create wireframes in the always-awesome Balsamiq and iterate with the dev team very early in the process. These wireframes are great, but don’t obviously communicate behavior very well. Our app developers at Stonybrook University suggested trying InVision as a means to create a clickable prototype. Plus, as a SaaS app, InVision allowed our geographically separate teams to collaborate easily.

InVision allows a user to upload static images and give them “life” by making areas clickable, allowing navigation to other images. From this a UX person can spec out quite a bit of the interaction model of an application. This isn’t a new idea, but InVision has done a very nice job of making it easy and providing a lot of functionality to this simple concept. We’ve been quite happy with the results so far.

Uploading wireframes is very straightforward, as the app supports drag and drop. In addition, InVision is clever enough to match filenames so that if you want to upload an update to an image, it’s the same drag and drop process and InVision just figures it out and updates the existing file (and maintains all the hotspots for that image). This has saved a ton of work as we update the images quite frequently.

Early prototype of home page in InVision

Most apps have common sets of buttons across pages, like a tabbed pane or links/buttons in a header. InVision supports templates that can be reused across images. Also supported is the concept of an image as an overlay to another image, making dialogs a possibility without creating a new image with a dialog embedded.

We also made use of the comments functionality to describe behavior that was happening behind the scenes on the various screens. This allows the InVision prototype to serve as a document of record on the UI. We probably didn’t use this feature to its full potential as things moved pretty fast, but the capability is very nice.

Overall, we’re quite happy with InVision as a tool and will definitely use it again in the future. It’s reliable, intuitive, and hassle-free.

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