Whimsical is a great online visual workspace that allows users to create diagrams, flowcharts, and sticky notes.
Software companies and many other industries can benefit from this cloud-based tool in several ways. It can speed up employee training and create a visual method for step-by-step procedures that can be visualized, easily understood, and then followed. If your business is looking for ways to streamline procedural processes, Whimsical might be the tool to consider.
FANTASY USE CASE
As mentioned, Whimsical has multiple functions, ranging from wireframes, sticky notes, flowcharts to mind maps. Each of these functions has a set of tools specific to the intended function. The free version of Whimsical comes with five free maps for each mode. Whimsical use cases include;
Organization charts are a feature widely used in Whimsical, especially by digital agencies. The tool allows users to create:
Organization charts – quick and easy creation
Infographics – you can create infographics to use with other training materials or presentations.
You can use Whimsical to create the following:
Li-Fi Wireframes – Whimsical stores all the necessary functionality, eliminating the usual barrier to wireframing. This is particularly beneficial for developers of mobile applications.
Course mapping – this is ideal for very visual users. Drawing the user’s path can be very efficient compared to typing it.
Mind mapping – Whimsical even has a workspace dedicated to mind mapping.
Whimsical allows users to create custom Kanban boards and to-do lists. The reminder feature is particularly useful for tagging and marking specific tasks. Users can even change the colors of the sticky notes for easy reference. This provides a great place to keep your things organized.
WHY USE IT?
Whimsical is very intuitive and easy to use. It has several well-displayed contextual toolbars, giving you everything you need to design efficiently and quickly.
The contextual toolbar is beneficial in the following ways:
REDUCE THE CLOUDY OF THE SCREEN
It is a common practice for modern app designs to have toolbars full of icons. However, unlike other visual tools, Whimsical only has six icons, which helps eliminate screen clutter.
You only see the relevant controls
Each toolbar on Whimsical is tailored or customized for what you are working on, reducing cognitive overhead. You no longer have to struggle to find available icons or search for disabled icons every time.
Actions are closer to where you are working
Contextual design means you can access relevant icons or controls without moving around the screen to reach them. Closed controls mean you spend less time navigating the screen, giving you plenty of time for content creation.
EASY TO LEARN
The design of the contextual toolbar makes onboarding fancy new users less intimidating. If you have just started using this tool, you can start with a few main controls and gradually add more. Since these options are tailored to each function, you don’t need as much mental processing to master them.
FAST EXPORT SPEED
Exporting diagrams and other visuals from fancy is fast and amazingly easy. Simply highlight the diagram, flowchart, or sticky notes you want to export and choose your preferred background. The final product is a high resolution .png export format. This makes Whimsical suitable for exporting visuals in emails and documents.
Whimsical brings together all the features you need from one visual tool. It’s a great tool for brainstorming, creating product specifications, user flows, wikis, and architecture diagrams, among other uses. However, it has its fair share of shortcomings reported by avid users. For example, most people want it to have custom lines and preloaded templates. However, the Whimsical team continues to improve and add features, so who knows what the future holds.
Mike Gingerich is President of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a website design and marketing agency. He is also co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook page applications for businesses. Listen to his social media and web podcast, Halftime Mike, available on iTunes.