Optimizing For Creativity, or, Why We Don’t Have a Landing Page

At first, it was the need to get the product out the door that trumped marketing considerations. But here we are two years later with a mature product, super users, and still no landing page.  In a world of conversion optimization, the Moqups homepage is something of a paradox.  One of our early users was fascinated by the whole thing.

moqupstweet

A landing page would be nothing short of a creativity killer for new users. It might lead to a few extra sales, true, but we’d be compromising one of core principles; creativity and design go hand in hand.

Moqups is a tool that enhances a distinctive creative process. Period.  Picture yourself in the perfect storm of a lightbulb moment and the right place to act upon it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, how do you like hitting a five-step funnel that ends with a credit card form?  Do you still remember exactly what you saw in your mind’s eye when the inspiration hit? Is the creative spark just as bright as it was when you ‘landed’?

The truth is any authoring app disparages its own value proposition when usability is taken over by sales and marketing considerations (the guys at Hemmingway know that).  It also disrespects the idea person, or, as Google calls them, the Smart Creatives.  We don’t think that they need a conversion funnel to pay for a good product.  Nor does anyone need much convincing once they have an idea.

Then there’s the technology angle.

HTML5 implies instant gratification. But if you throw the common growth hacking techniques on top of an HTML5 app you’ve broken that promise. In our Internet world of forgotten passwords, attention grabbing (but ultimately disappointing) headlines, and ubiquitous advertising, there’s no greater satisfaction than hitting a page and getting what was promised. By foregoing the prospect of more sales delivered by a marketing driven landing page, we’re giving our users an experience that they appreciate.

moqupstweet2

Finally, some of us have ADD, and conversion funnels are guaranteed to kill our temporary mojo.  Conventional wisdom dictates that Landing Pages are the holy grail of growth, but that simply isn’t the case with every app. We want everybody who hits Moqups to keep that creative spark alive and bright. Does this mean we will never, ever, ever have a landing page? No, it just means that whatever happens, we’ll always optimize for creativity.

 

New: Stencil Styles, Google Drive, Publishing

I mentioned in the previous post that we’re preparing a new version of Moqups that will take your sketching to a whole new level. While we wrap that up (there are a lot of new features that we’re excited about), we’re releasing a few enhancements to the current version.

Style the (previously) unstylable

styles

Now you can configure styles for all of the stencils—think colors, strokes and text styles—so go ahead and make that image placeholder really shine!

You can style multiple stencils at once by selecting them and clicking on the icon in the stencil toolbar to reveal the property inspector. Any change you make will be applied to all selected stencils.

inspector

And I know you’re going to love this: we’ve added Copy styles (Alt + C) and Paste styles (Alt + V) to the right-click menu, so you can paint many other stencils with one stencil’s styles.

Publish project resources

publish

Here’s the ability to host PDF and image exports directly on our servers, so you can embed them into web pages, project management apps, bug trackers or just send the links via email or instant messaging. Learn more

Add Moqups to your Google Drive

gdrive

If you have a Google account, connecting Moqups to your Google Drive makes it extremely easy to create new Moqups projects from inside your Drive, and have them show up next to your docs and spreadsheets. Learn more

Plus you can log into Moqups using your Google account. Learn more

Change your user name

We got a lot of these requests on support, so we included the ability to change your user name in the profile section.

What’s next

We’re preparing enhancements around typography, out of which web fonts (Google Fonts specifically) are the highlight.

Thanks,
Dan from Moqups

Nested pages, PDF links and more

Organize your pages

We’ve made some changes to the page manager to help you organize larger projects:

  • Reorder and nest pages to shape your project’s information architecture
  • Find pages by title with the sidebar search box

pages

You’ll find the new page manager in the left sidebar next to Stencils and Images. We’ve also kept a simplified version for quick navigation in its usual spot — thanks for the early feedback!

Links & hotspots in exported PDFs

moqups-pdf-links-outline

Projects exported as PDF get to keep their links & hotspots, so you can share interactive prototypes offline. And the Table of Contents conveniently reflects the your project’s page nesting.

Shoutout to hacker-in-residence Sergiu for tinkering with Qt’s C++ internals to make this oft-requested feature a reality!

Put a face on it

avatars
Moqups just got a set of bespoke avatars from the lovely Ana Botezatu to complement our Gravatar-powered profile pictures. And if you can’t find your animal spirit in the list, you can also upload your own image.

Presentation mode

tab

You can click the tiny tab under the viewer toolbar do hide all interface elements.

Check out the new features!

Coming soon

We’re working hard on a new version to bring you enhanced maneuverability (object rotation, resizing of multiple objects and groups), more flexibility in styling the default stencils as well as the ability to create custom ones, plus support for web fonts.

Thanks for being with us,
Team Moqups

Moqups for Teams — and more

At Moqups, we know collaboration is kind of a big thing. So we’re excited to announce a fresh feature that allows groups to work better and get more value from premium subscriptions.

How will Teams help me us rock?

Share everything. You’re already sharing an office, why not share your mockups?
Save money. The same premium subscription serves an unlimited number of seats.
Simplify your billing. You only have to manage a single subscription.
Your own little corner of the world. With all the team’s projects in the same place, finding the one you need is a breeze.

team_detail

If that sounds super-great, head over to Account Settings > Team Members and add your mates. Learn more

Get Your Premium Subscription
(starts at $9/mo)

In other news

More transparency. Some people have complained that we’re too *cough* opaque in our development process. No more: we’ve introduced transparency controls for all colors. Bam! We put the alpha in alpha-designer. [Pun-eurysm alert, n.ed.]

color-picker-annotated

Supercharged images. ‘Choose files’ is passé. Just drag & drop images from your computer directly on your page, or even paste images from the clipboard. We make sure everything runs smoothly under the hood. Learn more

Copy/paste acrobatics. You can now copy/paste stencils between pages, projects, tabs, browsers and the space-time continuum.

Redesigned screens. My Projects is more straightforward and lets you search & filter to your heart’s content. Account Settings keeps everything about your account in one place.

Need help? Have some feedback?

Drop us a line at support at moqups.com. We love to hear from you!

It’s here: Moqups Premium

A new beginning

…sure feels like one, with a new infrastructure, a fresh set of features and new challenges ahead of us. Let me give you a tour of what you’re seeing in the new Moqups app.

New stuff for everyone

You’ll notice we simplified the interface, in part to make it less intimidating and also to make room for some things that are coming in the following months. In addition:

We consolidated stencil linking and the new Hotspots and added handy keyboard shortcuts. Now you can create interactive areas over the images you upload.

hotspots

To aid in drawing diagrams and notes, we’ve added diagonal lines and arrowheads for all lines.

arrows

Emil created a new image placeholder stencil which now scales nicely.

image

We added a note stencil to annotate your designs.

note

Premium features

We’ve invested a lot of energy in The Perks of Having a Premium Subscription:

Master pages help you set a common base for your pages.

masters

Live collaboration on projects to make teams more efficient (props to teammate Adi).

collab

Unlimited revisions for your projects, for when you want to save snapshots of your progress or branch off in a different direction.

revisions

The ability to create private projects, visible only to the collaborators you invite to the project.

private

Commenting in both the project editor and the viewer.

comments

Unlimited archived projects, to help you manage your project quota.

archive

What happened to free forever?

If you’ve been with us before this, you might get the feeling things are somehow restricted. “Don’t mess with the users” was a constant discussion while we navigate the intricacies of making a sustainable product.

New, free users get the chance to use Moqups in a casual manner: two projects and all the features of Moqups v1 and more. But what does the change mean to veteran users? If you had a lot of projects, you will see a message that you’ve exceeded the quota for the free account. Other than that, you can continue to use your existing projects exactly as before, with all the old features enabled. We hope this is a helpful compromise. Drop us a line through the feedback widget or on support at moqups dot com, we would love to know your thoughts on this. Also, we’ve put together a page with questions you might have.

What’s next?

We will continue to improve and add new features to both the free and premium versions of Moqups, based on our internal roadmap and your wonderful suggestions. As always, use the feedback widget and our email addresses to ask us anything.

– Team Moqups

P.S. If you bump into any issue with the new release, please contact us at support at moqups dot com with the details. We’re caffeinated and ready to tackle them.

P.P.S. We even have a Facebook page now!

Blokk, Grid Markdown support and about us :-)

Two little patches just landed in Moqups:

  • Dan (AKA Dan from Moqups) added Blokk like experimental support for the Paragraph stencil. He’s still undecided whether the Blokk style or Redacted is the way to go, so maybe you guys can help him make up his mind a bit ;-) 
  • You can now use Markdown to format the contents inside Grid/Table stencils. This means you can now apply basic formatting to the text inside the grid cells.

As always,  we’re eager to hear your amazing ideas, so please leave your feedback in our awesome community.

P.S. – By popular demand, we’ve created a homepage with some basic info about the team behind Moqups. Go check it out if you haven’t already!

 

Blokk like support in Moqups Grid Markdown

 

By the way: export to Dropbox & Google Drive, grids and more

What have we been up to at Moqups HQ…

…instead of updating our team blog? We basically spent the last few months working our rear ends off to bring you some long-awaited features and generally making sure Moqups runs smoothly. And while we’re still polishing a few things, we thought it would be a good idea to release the first batch of fresh stuff, some of which you might have noticed when you logged into your Moqups account.

Export projects to your Dropbox or Google Drive

export-options

Have the PDF/PNG version of your projects delivered to your Dropbox or Google Drive account, presto. Ultimately we will have tighter integration with GDrive for things like shortcuts to your projects and the ability to create mockups on the spot.

Grid systems

grid-systems

You can now find new grid options under Project settings (a.k.a. the cog thing on the top). They’re standard 960px-based systems used throughout CSS frameworks and we’ll add the ability for custom ones momentarily.

Note: Don’t forget to select Snap to grid to help you align objects to the grid columns.

Avatars

avatar

In preparation for the collaboration features, we’ve added avatars to our user accounts. To use this feature, you will need a Gravatar account associated with the email you use on Moqups. Go on, put a pretty face on that wireframe!

Soon: premium features

Some things coming your way: live collaboration; feedback tools; master pages; sharing and privacy settings. If these are your cup of tea you can follow @moqups so you don’t miss the big day.

Postscript: Moqups, in numbers

As we speak: 6 folks — you’ll meet us as soon as we can get some decent mugshots, 50,000 users, 22,000+ Chrome installs and a ton of good karma on Twitter and other media outlets. Things are, as Larry David would put it, pretty pretty pretty good.

See you soon,
Dan and the Moqups team

New release: Duplicating and Exporting large projects

Changelog:

  • Bug fix: Exporting very large projects to PDF should work fine now.
  • Feature: By popular demand, you can now make copies of your projects. You can access this new functionality by clicking the Save Project as menu item under the Moqups logo as well as under the Duplicate icon in the My Projects dialog.

 

Quick weekend update

A new version of Moqups that includes several bug fixes and improvements is now available for everyone.

Here’s what we’ve done:

  • New iPad stencil
  • New Tree stencil
  • The iOS button stencil can be resized both vertically and horizontally
  • Configurable line height support for the Paragraph stencil
  • Buttons stencils can now be smaller than 16 pixels
  • CMD+SHIFT+? will now open the Keyboard shortcuts dialog for Mac users (F1 is many times conflicting with the Brightness adjustment on Macs)
  • Better visual feedback when saving and autosaving
  • Projects in Edit mode have their own URL (useful for bookmarking)
  • Fixed some server side issues when saving big projects
  • Offline Lost Project Recovery –  click the Moqups logo and then “Recovery” in case of a connection problem or browser crash.
  • Moved to a new, more powerful cloud infrastructure thanks to our incredible folks at SoftLayer. This should dramatically improve our recent scalability and stability issues that hit us due to the incredible demand.
  • Many other things that are invisible for your eyes but make Moqups more snappy and stable overall.

A fix for failed PDF exports on very big projects is also pending, so please bare with us just a little bit more.

Most of these changes are in response to our amazing community, so THANK YOU and please keep feeding us with your creative ideas or issue reports.

Ten thousand users. And one big Thank You!

10,000 registered accounts. Who would’ve imagined such a great response mere weeks after the public beta — not to mention the almost 8,000 Chrome Web Store users who added Moqups to their browser homepage. We’re ecstatic! So, a big thank you from our small team for your warm welcoming.

Around the world

It makes us immensely happy that these 10,000 people from every corner of the globe signed up with us because they really found value in Moqups one way or another. We avoided any tricks to force sign-ups. We parted with social login services with their seamless registration and whatnot because we felt that’s not important at this stage. We kept email marketing communication to a minimum (zero). We thought really hard about how to make Moqups instantly available without sign-up so that you can easily take that elusive idea off your mind and onto the screen. Thank you for letting us know these were good decisions.

Harder better faster stronger

Oh boy! You guys contributed over 160 ideas on our community website, dozens of suggestions, bug reports and feedback through our customer support system and via Twitter. We also learned just how much you dislike Comic Sans and its friends and we defaulted to something better :-). Other than this (unpardonable, some might say) ahem, slip, our internal backlog (a.k.a. our big ol’ TODO list) aligns perfectly to your observations, so we seem to be pretty much on the same page, which is encouraging and awesome.

Human after all

From the inception of Moqups, our mission was to allow creatives to exercise their imagination without any obstacles. One particularly obnoxious obstacle is to be asked to pay for something you’re not convinced about. That’s why the main functionality of Moqups will always stay free. To be honest, we’ve never seriously thought about numbers because it’s more interesting to just build value to our users. I believe this approach worked wonders so far.

Bottom line: we will probably take some of your hard earned money for irresistible features coming in the next releases. Spine-tingling stuff like collaboration, privacy & security preferences, limitlessness (which is, I believe, an actual word), priority support and feedback tools that will help you work more efficiently with your peers. Many of you already expressed the need for such features and it’s our plan to offer you all of that and then some.

Thanks again, everyone!

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