Now with video uploads!

We recently added the ability to upload video files to MoreBlu. This means you can upload video comps or any video file you see fit (up to about 20MB in size). Uses we and customers have found:

  • mobile video comps
  • video of design reviews so people who can’t attend can review at their leisure (basically, Tivo for your work life)
  • commercial video spots

Here’s a MoreBlu tutorial video that we then uploaded to MoreBlu.

Anyone out there find other uses for video files on MoreBlu?

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Features & Fixes

It’s high time we announce a few new features and bug fixes on MoreBlu. Let’s begin with the squashed bugs …

RECENT FIXES

  • The Collections drop down menu order now matches the Customer page
  • Replacing a Slide now preserves the Slide name and comments
  • PNGs can now be dragged off screen to save a local copy (phew!)

In the meantime we’ve added a few new features that we’ve been using in our daily MoreBlu flow at 29th Drive—these are also popular requests from you folks.

NEW FEATURES

  • You can now set custom background colors for individual slides
  • Move Collections between Projects (just drag ‘n drop … it’s that easy)
  • Major performance improvements— (Slide page uploads are 450% zippier!)

 

 

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We have a new toolbar

Today we launched a new toolbar.

Using the product daily with customers has taught us a lot, and we’ve built on that knowledge.

MoreBlu New Toolbar—June 2012 from Kevin Goldman on Vimeo.

NEW TOOLBAR

    • Single-state—there is now one toolbar (up top) as opposed to two toolbar states (we used to have a big toolbar up top and a smaller vanishing toolbar)
    • Sitewide—the toolbar lives across the site
    • Active Breadcrumb—you can easily navigate between collections and customers via the active breadcrumb
    • New Icons—we have new icons for:
      • comments on/off
      • editing/reorder/deleting files
      • uploading files
      • thumbnails
      • pinning/hiding toolbar
      •  account settings & home
    • File Cloud—we realized the usefulness of the slide cloud and now show it all the time
    • Comment Count—a new icon for comments (that shows the number of comments) now appears next to a slide title when comments are made
    • 100% Your Design—you can hide the toolbar so your comp is the only thing showing

COMMENT SHIFT ISSUE

One drawback to the new launch is we’ve pushed a fix to region comments that affects only legacy comments (that is, comments you’ve placed on slides in the past). Those comments are now shifted to the left and you’ll need to manually move them to the right back to their correct placement. It’s a small pain in the butt—however, this change to comments cleans the code up and is future-proof. You’ll never have to move your comments again. Thanks for your help!

We’re really enjoying all the new functionality when collaborating with our customers and have more improvements on the way. Let us know what you think.

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New Feature: Public Collections (no login required)

Public collections are technically part of our forthcoming MoreBlu v1.1 release, but we’ve already rolled the feature out so here’s the scoop:

  1. every collection is private by default
  2. you can mark any collection public
  3. a public collection can be accessed by anyone with a link to the collection
  4. a public collection can be marked private at anytime, at which point it requires a MoreBlu login with permission to access
Why would you want a public collection?
A public collection allows you to share designs without requiring others to login or create an account. For example, you may simply want to show your designs to a new customer without the hassle of the customer creating a MoreBlu account. Along the same lines, a customer may ask you to make a collection public so it can be easily passed around in email with their fellow employees.

Check it out for yourself:
Beware before you share a public collection
The only thing to consider is that anyone with a link can view the public collection.
We decided on a green dot as the icon for a public collection. You’ll never see the green dot unless you mark a collection public. Below you’ll see the hover state of the green dot where we show the “public collection” text.

 

As always, let us know if you have questions or suggestions. Have fun!

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MoreBlu 1.1

We have a fresh version 1.1 release of MoreBlu brewing with some key features and refinements. We may add or subtract features for v1.1, but here are three things you’re likely to see in the new release:

Toolbar design update
a more elegant and intuitive toolbar

Homepage design update
the homepage will look different than the customer page and will feature recent activity

Public collections
the ability to make a collection public (so anyone can access it, even if they don’t have a MoreBlu account) and the ability to then make a collection private again. The default will always be private.

Our aim is to have this live in the next 4-6 weeks. Any features or fixes you’d like to see?

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Today I’ll be on ThisWeekIn.com!

Jose Cabballer of ThisWeekIn Web Design will be interviewing me (Kevin) today on the topic of “How do I create great presentations for my web design clients?”. You can tune in here at 2:30pm PST (we’ll update this post with the video when it’s available).

UPDATE: here’s the video …

 

Here’s a primer on what we’ll talk about today—and, yes, we’re also the makers of our own awesome presentation app MoreBlu (which you should definitely take for a spin):

1. What are the most common challenges when presenting design work to customers?

  • Customers can’t easily locate and view specific comps
  • It’s hard to provide feedback
  • The presentation tool itself can distract from your comps
  • Design context: if you customers don’t view their design to scale and on the intended device, they make poor design decisions

2. What are best practices in presenting web, tablet and smart phone design?

  • In Context: Web design comps should be reviewed in a browser, not email, Acrobat, Mac Preview or Windows Photo Viewer. Mobile design work should be viewed on mobile devices, not cinema displays or laptops. When work is viewed in context, you can better judge  contrast, readability and fat finger issues. There’s a workflow context that is also important— churning through designs in email is different from viewing a web page or mobile app on a mobile device. Some customers may not know how to efficiently download, unpack and properly view a ZIP full of files. Everyone knows how to click a link on a web page. Reviewing the work in context ensures that the mental context matches the context that the design will ultimately exist in.
  • 100% to Scale: Design comps should be viewed at 100% scale. By default, most image viewing apps (Acrobat, Outlook, Gmail, Mac Preview, Dropbox, Windows Photo Viewer) scale your design work up or down. You don’t want a customer to view your work above or below 100% scale. Doing so will make your one pixel details (that you spent hours to refine) fuzzy. If customers view your work above or below 100% scale, they may unnecessarily ask you to make page elements smaller or larger.
  • Content over App Chrome: The presentation tool chrome (it’s UI and windows) can rub off on your design work. Using a presentation tool with as little chrome as possible puts your designs front and center.

3. How do better presentations make you a better designer to your customers?

  • Fewer clicks make for happy customers. For example, it may take a hundred or more clicks to successfully navigate ten comps. With the right presentation app, your customer can go through the same work in just ten clicks.
  • Customers expect great design work, but they’ll also appreciate well-managed design presentations. Customers should be able to give feedback on the actual each design. If you send your design work via email, you’re not giving your customer a great experience. Instead, you’re encouraging long, hard to read email discussions that are difficult to manage, decipher and track over time.
  • Customers will value your attention to detail. Showing a customer their iPhone app comps on an iPhone makes you look smart and allows the customer to give you more accurate and real-world feedback. I guarantee that your customer will be more engaged if you show iPhone design work on their iPhone.

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Here we go!

MoreBlu has launched and we couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead.

Here are a few things I’ve heard expressed while pushing MoreBlu out the door:

  • amazing that it happened given our day jobs, disparate locations, kids, yard remodels, etc.
  • now is the time—we’ve been talking about and working on MoreBlu for over a year
  • many friends and peers have helped along the way (Tommy, Rich, Nate, Alec, Vince, Levi, KevinE, etc.)
  • we have lots of refinements and features to release in the coming weeks and months
  • this is really just the beginning

If you’re new to MoreBlu, here are the elevator shoes: MoreBlu helps you make better design decisions by presenting designs in context (desktop or mobile), at full scale on a custom URL with a vanishing toolbar. Our Free account provides 1GB of storage with a 10 file daily upload limit. Our paid plans begin at $6/month, has 8GB storage and no upload limits. Go take it for a spin.

Here we go, yo.

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There Will Be Bugs

And we will be squashing them as they come to our attention. You can email us to report a bug (note: all of us read every contact that comes in, so we’re good about responding). We use Desk.com which makes it easy to keep track and prioritize fixes and features. You can check out our MoreBlu support site and let us know if there are support articles you’d find helpful.

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IE9 is not fully supported … yet

We’ve been testing MoreBlu in Chrome, Safari, Firefox and IE9. All browsers can currently use MoreBlu in “view only” mode—that’s a permission setting for users who need to view designs, make comments, reorder items and have general access to MoreBlu. However, if you want to upload files via drag and drop, IE9 won’t currently work. There appears to be a fix on the way—IE10 will support the HTML File API.

If you’re an IE9 user, you can use MoreBlu but you just won’t be able to upload files. You can still view work and collaborate with notes and comments (which is what 99% of customers do when using MoreBlu). If you need to upload files, jump over to Chrome, Safari or Firefox for now.

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Poll Positions—the results are in

We’ve been running this poll for many months asking designers how they present their work. The biggest take-away is that many designers still rely on email to present their designs. I’m not going to say this is horrible because people obviously get work done this way: comps get reviewed, ideas get swapped, things get done. However, there is a much better way.

MoreBlu’s 7 core principles stand in direct contrast to emailing PDFs, ZIP or PNG files to a customer for review. That’s because we believe that  Acrobat, Windows Picture Viewer, Mac Preview and any image loaded into any browser will display at less or more than 100% scale most of the time, and that viewing designs not-to-scale creates all sorts of problems. In fact, we likely lost a bid for this very reason.

In addition, dealing with a zip file or PDF attached to email can be a hunt-and-peck experience of 20+ clicks. Even Gmail search becomes cumbersome if asking a client to “.. find that one slight variation I made eight or ten months ago”. People don’t view web sites on printed paper or within Acrobat. They don’t use their iOS device on a cinema display. Image size, font size, readability and “fat finger” issues are best judged on the comp’s intended device.

We developed MoreBlu to make it easier for our customers to view the designs we create for them, and in the process we made our lives easier. One of the great things about MoreBlu is we’re launching with a “forever free” account so you can simply try it out and see if it works for you .

 

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