How Design Can Change The World

A couple of weeks ago we got an intriguing kind of message. We get many interesting messages – some of them we print out and they become office memes – but what struck us about this message was that it came in not very long after we wrote about the importance of giving back.

Jono told us about the XPRIZE Foundation, a non-profit that sponsors and manages large international competitions that bring about “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity”. Their motto is, ‘Making the Impossible Possible’. Founded by Peter Diamandis, their board of trustees includes Elon Musk, James Cameron, Larry Page, and Arianna Huffington, amongst others. When Elon Musk comes calling
you keep reading.

The latest competition, worth $15 million, is designed to eradicate illiteracy through the creation of Open Source software that will teach kids reading, writing, and arithmetic within 18 months. This will greatly benefit areas where little to no education exists.

While XPRIZE provides the logistical support for product launch, it relies on all types of people to come up with solutions. The recently launched design drive encourages designers to create visual mock-ups of what the literacy software would look like. How will an illiterate boy or girl learn that A is the first letter in the alphabet? How will software on a tablet teach somebody to spell their name for the first time? It’s a powerful challenge. And design is where it all starts.

Jono noticed we have a tool that encourages design collaborations. We also have a community of designers who build many awesome products using Moqups.  While software engineers are going to build the product, it’s unlikely that many of the teams that form up will have the design skills to get their rocket software off the ground gracefully.

This is why designers, and the design drive, are important to this challenge. It’s all about generating ideas and creating that perfect storm of creativity, know-how, and collaboration that leads to truly innovative solutions. Here’s what Jono has to say about it.

If you’re a developer, scientist, teacher, writer, or a designer, you have the opportunity to participate, just by providing feedback and ideas. You also have an opportunity to form a team with people who are passionate about making a difference in the world, the way these people did. Given the technology that exists and the tools at our disposal these days, this is a clear cut chance to make the world a better place.

Go to to start sharing your design ideas!

Giving Back To The Community is Important For Your Startup

Countless startups are built with open source projects. Moqups, built entirely on open source technologies, is just one example. The hours that developers the world over have put into these technologies simplified our lives and saved us from reinventing the wheel. Because we owe our existence to the open source community, we wanted to give back in our own way. So we created the non-profit plan for all non-profits, educational organizations, and members of open-source projects.

Initially it was just the open source community that came to mind, but then we decided to experiment with educational institutions and non-profits. The reasoning behind the decision was simple; one of our core beliefs is that software should be easily available to those who need it most but can’t always afford it.

To date, we’ve had over nearly one hundred universities sign up and, along with them, entire classes of students. It was amazing to hear from a professor of Hong Kong’s PolyU, considered one of the world’s top Design schools, who wanted to use Moqups for his ‘Information Architecture and Visualisation’ course. Talk about validation. But it’s not entirely surprising. Moqups has almost no learning curve, anyone can use it. Instead of spending valuable teaching time on learning a tool, the course director and students can get right into the course material. We’ve also had numerous NGOs and non-profit organizations reach out. Among these we count Mozilla and Khan Academy.

Giving back to the community is not the whole story though. It’s an important reason, to be sure, but there’s also the simple fact that many entrepreneurs need to count the pennies when they’re starting up. We get it, investing in growth and infrastructure is probably more vital to your product than design and creativity tools for which workarounds exist. This is especially true for schools or NGOs whose options are limited given the lengths they need to go through to justify spending. And of course, there are the starving students, and we’ve all been there, so helping them out is a no-brainer.

To be honest, we never thought the non-profit package would be so successful. For some odd reason, we figured that only a few organizations would take us up on the offer, but we’re blown away by the response. Every time the new school year rolls around we’re swamped with requests from places like MIT, Berkley, Stanford, or Carnegie Mellon. As an aside, we also never thought we’d reach remote places like Greenland where the local government is using Moqups to wireframe a new citizen portal, but that’s another story.

This brings us to most important lesson of all. Take our advice and do this with your own startup. Here are three good reasons why:

  1. You get constant feedback and validation for your product.
  2. It’s an excellent source of motivation during the ‘bad old days’ most startups experience at one point or another.
  3. That feeling when your product is truly helping people solve their problems is priceless.

In the technology sector, where we’re always using open source tools, the sharing economy manifests itself daily. It helps grow new companies and build great products. So giving back puts us at the heart of the revolution.

But if all these are not compelling enough reasons, there are about eight more furry ones below. When Texas Husky Rescue contacted us because they wanted to use Moqups to design their new site, they bribed us with several images that kinda made our day.

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.

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


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


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

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


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.


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.]


Supercharged images. ‘Choose files’ is passĂ©. 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 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.


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


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


We added a note stencil to annotate your designs.


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.


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


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


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


Commenting in both the project editor and the viewer.


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


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!