The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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Feedback on Twiddla as a UI Design tool

Hey, I usually hang out over in the Business of Software group, so I apologize if it looks like I've just showed up to pimp my site.

We're getting close to putting our little web collaboration app into Beta, and I want to start off by marketing it towards web design teams.  That was the use case that originally spawned the idea, and the one for which I think the tool works best right now.

Since this group is populated by developers and designers (basically the crowd that will be using the app initially), this seems like a good place to ask for advice.  I'd appreciate any feedback the group might have to offer, specifically:

- is it useful in its present state as a tool for marking up design ideas in real time?
- would you actually use it?
- really? why not?
- any features it's missing or things that just don't work?

Thanks in advance!  Here's the url:
Jason Kester Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You might want to look at your site in Firefox, as it looks different to IE. Specifically, the yellow highlight around the bullets near the bottom-left is positioned incorrectly in Firefox.

It looks good though, but just tidy up the FF issue. As you are aiming at web designers, just supporting IE won't convince many people.

Is it free always, or just while in alpha/beta? Looks like you should be charging for this.
Entries of Confusion Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Just had a quick play, and I really like it. I think it works great, just need to fix the Firefox issues.

Start charging for this. I'd pay as it'd save me having to visit clients to do demonstrations.
Entries of Confusion Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Yeah, I probably should have added a disclaimer to my post:

"Kindly ignore the trainwreck that is our current homepage.  It shall be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery in due course."

The plan is to keep a free version available, even after we start charging extortionate monthly fees for the "Enterprise" version.  The model I've been kicking around in my head lately is a sort of limited-time session.  So perhaps you'd be able to use it for a 30 minute stretch, but if you needed the session open longer you'd either need to shell out a fiver or wait for a 5 minute "mandatory break" to expire.

As you can tell, the part where we charge money for the thing isn't very well thought out at this point.  It's not really a priority.  Like the man says, if you've got a million people using your thing, you aught to be able to figure out how to make a little money from it.  We're not quite to that point yet, so no need to sweat it!
Jason Kester Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I thought that a day pass like Joel's Copilot would work nicely for occasional users, but you probably want to allow monthly upfront payment too, so as to avoid having to sign up with the credit card every day. This is good for you too, as it means less transaction costs, better cashflow, etc.

Not convinced about the mandatory five minute "timeout". I think this will just be too annoying. I guess you could show some commercials here, just like on TV, but that is not a good thing from the user's point of view.

Good luck.
Entries of Confusion Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
-Tried to upload a picture, but after thinking for a very long time it told me "too large".  Then it was moderately difficult to close out of there ("oh - I have to scroll back up").  Would have been nice for it to tell me that much sooner, some kind of way to see what the restrictions are up front would be good instead of guessing.
-Chat was a bit on the sluggish side but more annoying was that it has so little real estate (2 or 3 words - your name is every other line).  My colleague took a moment to test it out with me and we spent half our time chatting in our corporate chat program because it was easier.  Since we are already running Jabber internally I'm not sure whether we would use this kind of thing.
-Thought it might be interesting to demo a website using this but unfortunately it doesn't support https or authentication.  Mind you, not sure whether I'd be comfortable using a third party website for sites that have authentication, so might be a moot point...

Bottom line - kind of neat tool but I'm not sure if I can think of a use for it.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
4 bug reports in one post.  Nice.  All easy to fix too (Except authentication over SSL of course).  Even nicer. 

Twiddla's chat is universally dissed.  Haven't had a single person come up to me and say "Cool app, and that chat is AMAZING!"  At the very least, we need to give it some more attention.  In the long run though, I think we'll be integrating with Jabber so that you can choose to view the chat portion with whatever client you like best.

Thanks for the feedback!
Jason Kester Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Hey Phib, thanks for kicking me into gear to fix a few things that have been nagging for a while.

There's a new build up that addresses most of what you found:

- uploads up to 15mb are now working
- chat is moderately less lame (wider, and w/o separate boxes for every line)
- pop-in boxes (like the photo uploader) now have static close buttons

You still can't log into your bank account with it, but like you say, that's more of a feature than a bug!
Jason Kester Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
That's rather nice, but does seem a little slow for me could be my connection, or the fact I'm using Opera? I'll give it a try at work tomorrow.
G Jones Send private email
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
You might want add some security. I thought that the "1" at the end of the URL was kind of weird, so I changed it and was able to jump around into other sandboxes and read old chat logs.

If you added more widgets, I could see people using this to quickly draw mockup web UIs. One could make their existing site the background and then layer on top mock widgets like login fields, and then send it off to developed.
Benjamin Manes Send private email
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Good ideas.  Extra design widgets are on the way.  Right now the drawing tools are a bit sparse, but the idea has always been to move towards an online, shared Omnigraffle.

As to security, you actually just discovered Public Sessions.  We've taken down the tools to navigate around and hop into random public whiteboard sessions, but you can still hack the URLs if you'd like and jump right in.

Private sessions will come back once we start thinking about charging for the service.

Public (browsable) sessions will come back when we come up with a way to keep the highschool kids from showing up and drawing johnsons all over your meeting!
Jason Kester Send private email
Monday, September 10, 2007
I like it! One thing thought, it doesnt show flash... I have a hard time figuring out how this actually works :)

good job
Guyon Morée Send private email
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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