sketchboard.io blog

Latest Changes

Powerful image pasting

By Tomasz Mucha Feb 20, 2017

While this is an extremely simple idea, it is very powerful. Image pasting feature is based on Sketchboard user feedback. It is a good illustration of how valuable your input is to Sketchboard community, which is now already over 120,000 users. Thank you for all the comments we’re getting. We really appreciate that! While the old way of uploading images into Sketchboard still works as previously, we see that the ability to add images without having them saved on the local drive streamlines the process.

Contracts for collaboration - the easy way

By Talitha Kalago Feb 16, 2017

Not many people enjoy thinking about, or reading, contracts. However they are vital to collaboration projects. Remember that the aim of a contract is to protect you and be sure everyone clearly understands their roles and deadlines. When put that way, contracts sound pretty good. There’s no need for them to be confusing, long or tedious. In fact, it’s often better when they aren’t. However there are a lot of vital points a contract should cover.

Is Sketch UML for me?

By Tomasz Mucha Jan 24, 2017

As in the cartoon below, it is possible to be misunderstood even when using grammatically correct sentence where all the words are individually clear. In this short blog post, I will walk you through why this is of importance while diagramming and whiteboarding when working on software development project. This is especially relevant if you need to interact with other people during the project. Let’s have a look at how Peter’s message gets understood differently by two different people, simply because they have different background and typically operate in different context.

Good Collaboration Starts With The Team

By Talitha Kalago Jan 23, 2017

Often, attempting to do everything alone results in a sub-par end result. Individual passion and dedication lead to a fantastic skill-set, however it’s rare that any of us can do everything well. Working as a part of a team lessens the workload and allows team members to focus on the things they are best at, which promotes a better end result and a higher quality product. Finding the right people However finding the right people to work with can be a daunting prospect.

Getting Things Done

By Helena Palha Dec 15, 2016

If you follow Sketchboard, you’ve probably noticed me blogging at you for the last few months. I get to research and write on a lot of topics related to visual thinking and remote work, but there aren’t as many chances to tell you about the people behind Sketchboard. This tool was created by Saiki. Since meeting Saiki, I’ve been inspired to change my approach to how I take notes, how I sketch and how I prioritize work.

Cool kids embrace multiple interests

By Helena Palha Nov 15, 2016

Remember the first time someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? It’s a harmless question to most 5-year-olds. But as we grow older, the same question keeps being asked in many different ways. At some point, it stops being a fun conversation starter and turns into the problem that keeps us up at night. How do we know our answer is right? What if we’d like to give 20 different answers?

Edit Invoice Billing Details

By Saiki Tanabe Nov 1, 2016

Never needed to have more details on your Sketchboard.io invoice? It might be because of your Account department or for some other reason. Now it is possible to add billing details that will be shown on your future invoices. Team subscribers can edit billing details through: Menu > Add Teammates > Manage Subscription > Change Company & Billing Details Organization subscribers can edit billing details from: Menu > Settings > Organization Settings Pick your organization and select: Your Organization Billing > Change Billing Details Billing details form shows on the right hand side what will be currently added to your invoices.

Sketchboard.io hit 100K users

By Saiki Tanabe Oct 24, 2016

Thank you for making Sketchboard possible! Sketchboard has reached 100,000 users, and continues on bootstrapped path on a grazy startup world where VC funding is mostly everything. We have taken slightly different approach, and in current state Sketchboard’s monthly revenue stream has reached brake even. We are working towards long lasting sustainable business. Sketchboard is still far from perfect and there is lot to do, but you have shown that there is definitely a need for an online team whiteboard tool like Sketchboard.

Take stock and head on to better creative goals

By Helena Palha Oct 23, 2016

Happy Halloween! Yes, time flew by as fast as ever. If you’re like me, you’ll be getting ready to start taking stock of your year right before mid November. This year I got off to an early start, focusing on my creative career. I did some soul searching and managed to boil my ideas down to just a few points. This blogpost is my way to share that insight and welcome you to share your ideas with the Sketchboard community.

Navigate the new normal

By Helena Palha Oct 10, 2016

The amount of time most of us spend scrolling down news feeds every week must be more than enough to understand the world of work keeps changing. We all know changes have only gotten faster since the financial crashes of the mid and late 2000s. And according to the latest LinkedIn studies, younger professionals are twice more likely to change jobs during their first decade out of college. There are many theories on why we’re seeing so many changes happen so fast.

New Organization Admin Features

By Saiki Tanabe Sep 18, 2016

Two weeks ago a customer reached out to us, commenting on how difficult it is to manage teams within an organization. The situation gets especially tricky when a separate IT team isn’t able to add or remove users whenever actual team admins aren’t around. We can’t expect to have an IT team admin included in each team, so as to add, remove or change users’ permissions. That would be difficult to scale as more teams get created within the organization, and eventually the other admins could forget to add an IT team admin to a team.

Get your message understood

By Sketchboard Team Sep 16, 2016

We’re well into September and your team is already on full speed after the summer. As you adapt back to a hectic work life, you’ll probably feel like reaching out for new tools. Today we want to make the case for any tools that could allow you to use the power of visual communication to your advantage. The transmission of ideas using symbols and imagery is probably the oldest form of communication.

Tapping Into Your Creative Potential

By Helena Palha Sep 6, 2016

I’m finally back with a new blog post. This time I thought I’d share a 3 minute video to motivate you to keep reading: To kick us off on a week of blog posts all about the challenges of creative work, I wanted to suggest a book I’ve found while researching on the topic. If you work in technology, you’re probably always urged to think and work creatively. But with so many professionals trained to see creativity as an intriguing innate quality, it can often seem like there are constant blocks to your team’s creativity.

Ship it now. Don’t wait up for perfection.

By Helena Palha Aug 16, 2016

Every time I blog here I know I may be read by people from a wide range of backgrounds. This means I need to make the core of my posts clear and direct, while the less fundamental parts remain open to whatever interpretation resonates with a reader’s context. My strategy is informed by personal experience. I’ve spent the last 10 years in 9 different countries. This lifestyle wouldn’t be possible without the notion of simplicity.

A Remote Team Takes Shape

By Sketchboard Team Jul 22, 2016

Remotely Sane team's first steps on working remotely

Summer Feature Recap

By Helena Palha Jul 12, 2016

We’re well into a typical Finnish summer. The evenings are bright and the weather changes faster than we can blink. Our community keeps growing - we’re over 87k visual thinkers. This post is a quick recap of our newest features. It’s our way to welcome newcomers and touch base with long-term users. Some features came by popular demand. After all, we value feedback and any chance to engage with other visual thinkers.

Riding The Remote Wave - Is It Sane?

By Sketchboard Team Jun 29, 2016

Our new comic strip Remotely Sane follows a typical startup team in their quest for flexibility and autonomy at work. After months in a coworking space, the team decides to go remote and concentrate on what really matters - offering an amazing product. The arrangement suits the CEO, who tends to travel a lot. The developers like the possibility of working from anywhere, and the support agent finds it easier to focus in a quieter office.

No team gets rich without trust because “no man is an island”

By Helena Palha Jun 14, 2016

I’m sitting in a small coworking space. My teams members are just a few steps or clicks away, and I know I could always reach out to them, whether it’s to ask about a task or how their weekend went. Although we communicate differently, we generally live by the same mantra - “take 5 minutes now, save 5 hours later”. This is very far from a previous job, where all my weeks would begin and end with all-hands meetings, and no morning could be started without a daily scrum meeting.

Scouting for Sketchers at Arctic15

By Helena Palha May 26, 2016

Sketchboard is on a roll! After going over the 80k user mark, last week we went to Arctic15 - a two day event where entrepreneurs, investors, corporate acquirers and media took over Helsinki’s Cable Factory. We were lucky to get visits from like minded professionals, from Sendgrid, Leadfeeder, Holvi Dreambroker, EntoCube, Microsoft Flux and Hub13 among others. There were also plenty of chances to meet bright examples of student entrepreneurship, academics and potential mentors.

Ready-set-sketch

By Helena Palha May 26, 2016

We’ve kicked off the conversation and we can’t wait to start hearing from your team. This week we wanted to keep breaking the ice by giving you a practical challenge: Start sketching today! You might think you’re not talented enough, say you can’t sketch to save your life and close this window. Maybe you find sketching would waste your team’s time. But be honest - are the daily Scrum standups saving you time?

Up, Up And Away!

By May 18, 2016

This week we reached 80.000 users! If you’re one of them, let us take this opportunity to thank you for using Sketchboard! We’re on a bootstrapped mission to help developers to collaborate visually together. Anything can start from just a simple sketch. Next we’d like to reach 100.000 users, so we’d be delighted to get your feedback and hear how you think we could improve. We’d also appreciate any time you could take to tell your team and your friends about us.

The Best 5 Minute Investment You’ll Make Today

By Helena Palha May 16, 2016

If you start working as a software developer today you don’t automatically turn into an odd, unintelligible creature. In fact, you’ll probably find your ideas get valued by professionals in other areas - anyone who creates for a living is bound to come across methods or tools first thought out by software developers. In the past you’d risk being caricatured as someone with excellent technical skills, but nearly no verbal ability.

Integrate One Slack Team to Multiple Sketchboard Teams

By Saiki Tanabe May 14, 2016

Previously Sketchboard for Slack integration supported only possibility to integrate multiple Slack teams to one Sketchboard team. What has been missing is to integrate one Slack team to multiple Sketchboard teams. Now support has been added and completes integration scenarios between Slack and Sketchboard. This has been especially tricky situation when you have a big Slack team and where everyone doesn’t work on same projects. You could have smaller users’ project and multiple users’ projects that are completely isolated.

Team Productivity Gets Visual

By Helena Palha May 10, 2016

If I had to take a wild guess, I’d say the main thing that still makes you cringe when you hear the phrase “visual thinking” is the idea that whatever it involves must be too time consuming. Maybe you’ve worked in software development for so long that anything “visual” would seem ambiguous or distracting. Or perhaps you’re fresh out of school, working remotely, mostly concerned with bridging the gaps between your work and that of your team members.

Introducing Organizations

By Saiki Tanabe Feb 9, 2016

We’re excited to announce Sketchboard for organizations. Now Sketchboard scales for your needs, you can start from a small sketch diagramming team and scale your visual communication needs to any size. Organization allows easily to separate work between different teams. Teammates can edit or view boards only if they belong to a team. You can have unlimited private teams. Organization users can belong to multiple project teams or cross functional units within your organization with simple understandable access right that is a team.

Forget post-its, sketch something!

By Ernesto Hartikainen Oct 5, 2015

Anyone who has ever taken part in an ideation or prototyping workshop of some sorts will be very familiar with post-it notes. A wonderful innovation that was born out of a failed attempt to create a super-strong adhesive. This invention first conceived in 1968 by Dr Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M, and further developed by Arthur Fry in the 1970s still remains in broad use. And for a reason. Post-it notes have presented a convenient platform for jotting down ideas and doing some manual processing such as grouping and selection.

Yearly Plans

By Saiki Tanabe Aug 31, 2015

Yearly Plans have arrived on Sketchboard.io. When you select a yearly plan, you’ll get 1 month for free compared to 12 month monthly subscription. Yearly plan can be selected from the dropdown menu => Yearly. Prices are shown per year. Payment is made in advance and it is non refundable as any other plan. If you have an active subscription, your plan doesn’t support yearly plans yet. Yearly plans support will be available when next period has been activated.

Markdown Comments

By Saiki Tanabe Aug 10, 2015

Sketching is fun and together with teammates it is even more fun, but sometimes teammates are not online at the same time. You might want to add some explanation, track open ideas or have questions to your teammates. So you write an email and send it to your teammates. Information is then distributed in different channels and you need to link to the board manually. That’s a little bit of trouble, but that’s in the past now.

HipChat Server Support

By Saiki Tanabe Jul 10, 2015

Good news for HipChat server users. Now Sketchboard.io for HipChat supports HipChat Server instances as well. To install Sketchboard.io Slash command on your HipChat server, go to your Group admin pages and select Integrations tab. Your HipChat Server instance should be addressable and not behind firewall. Until there is an official HipChat server listing for Sketchboard.io Slash command you can already install add on using an integration descriptor. Click “Install an integration from a descriptor URL”.

Organize and Group Sketches

By Saiki Tanabe May 19, 2015

Good news for heavy weight Sketchboard.io users. For quite some time, users have requested a way to organize or link boards. Tag feature is the first step to provide a bit of both. Tags make: easier to find boards group boards together switch quickly between related boards Group and Find boards Tags are similar to folders with the exception that the hierarchy is flat. Group related work together like marketing, technical and user interface design boards together, or bundle sketches based on users working with them.

Markdown Links and Shape Link Indicator

By Saiki Tanabe May 19, 2015

We have heard you and linking external web pages or Sketchboard.io boards should be improved. Markdown Links Users have requested markdown shapes to support links. It definitely makes possible to write more rich content. Open markdown editor by double clicking e.g. a Note shape. Select text Click link icon or press Cmd+L (Mac) or Ctrl+L (Win/Linux) Write link name inside [Google Search] and URL inside (http://google.com**)** After you have closed markdown editor, only link name is shown.

How to prevent CDN caching your updated JavaScript files

By Saiki Tanabe May 11, 2015

It is very annoying when you have updated your JavaScript files and then browser or some other caching entity caches your files and your latest changes are not there. I have tried to prevent this happening by hashing JavaScript file names manually, but process was very error prone. Therefore process was automated with small helper called Minish. When you change JavaScript files to be loaded from CDN to provide faster application load time.

Sketchboard.io Meets Real-time Presentation

By Saiki Tanabe Apr 9, 2015

To be honest, this is a feature that I needed my self. I needed to present Sketchboard.io and didn’t want to use Keynote or PowerPoint. I have always liked how Impress.js allows you to keep presentation using an endless canvas. I could have extracted parts of a sketchboard and add those to a separate impress.js presentation, but I didn’t. Impress.js mindset is so close to Sketchboard.io using endless canvas that I wanted to use Sketchboard.io itself to have the presentation.

All New Shapes with Search

By Saiki Tanabe Mar 17, 2015

Happy to introduce a bunch of new shapes, new context menu with shape search. Until now Sketchboard.io have had a limited set of shapes. That has worked quite well, though from time to time there are requests to new shapes. It is always possible to describe entities with boxes and it is still one of the fastest way to sketch your ideas, but sometimes it is more fun to have shapes that looks like the entity.

Sketch Gallery

By Saiki Tanabe Jan 27, 2015

Sketch Gallery is a new service that supports a way to share how you think about Sketch Design. Share how you approach problems by sketching. Site is like GitHub for public projects, get inspired or inspire others. You can publish sketches through Sketchboard.io. Sketchboard.io supports public and private boards. Public boards are automatically published on Sketch Gallery. Private boards can be manually published from the menu “Publish on Gallery”. Private boards are never published automatically.

Sketchboard API

By Saiki Tanabe Aug 15, 2014

Create Board Creates a board and shares the board on a default team of the user. POST https://sketchboard.me/api/v1/board/new/:application_secret_key Header Content-Type: application/json Parameters NameDescription user_email Required User in Sketchboard.io service. Board will be created on a user_email default team and always shared between team members even if board_password is given. board_name Name of the board to be created. add_users Users to be added on user_email default team. user_email needs to be admin of the team.

Search Sketch Diagrams

By Saiki Tanabe Aug 10, 2014

Paper sketches are best for understanding and communicating with others. There are still some problems with paper sketches especially from search perspective. Paper sketches get lost easily. This is due that paper sketches are thrown away and to support creative thinking. Most of the time it is even good thing that those get lost. On the other hand, sometimes you want to find your old creative ideas. E.g. you might create ideas before you actually work with the idea.

Sketching Linked Ideas Quickly

By Saiki Tanabe Jul 29, 2014

Do you feel that you could create related ideas faster, but tools slow you down? You want to create ideas and link them fast. Most of the time you need to create nodes separately and draw connection between them, lot’s of clicking, typing and drawing connections. Could be little bit tedious job. Sketchboard.io is also guilty for this kind of behavior, so users have requested to have possibility to create linked ideas quickly.

3 Steps to Sketch Design

By Saiki Tanabe Jul 16, 2014

Sketch Design helps you and your team to focus and orientate quickly to a story at hand. It helps you to better understand problems related to the story. It supports thinking what kind of tasks are related, which concludes to a better story estimation, e.g. as story points. Ultimately you’ll get a better feature implementation and expectations are communicated well to different stakeholders. Sketch User Interface ——– Sketch user interface could be many things.

Never Lose Sketch Design Again

By Saiki Tanabe May 20, 2014

At first I thought that versions might not be important for Sketchboard. Since Sketchboard concentrates creating sketches and concepts, not final products. Originally version control feature was added to the backlog due to “Three reasons why wireframing tools suck.” as a potential feature candidate. How wrong was I, there are many situations that versions are good for sketch diagrams and especially for concepts. I still wanted to have a proof that it is important for Sketchboard users, not to implement a complex feature that is not significant for them.

Sketchboard.Me Confluence Plugin

By May 3, 2014

System Requirements Sketchboard.Me Confluence Plugin editing requires modern web browser like Chrome, Safari or Firefox Since version 3.1.0 plugin supports SVG rendered clickable elements directly on Confluence page. Support requires a modern web browser that supports SVG like Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE11. Confluence installation server needs to support Arial or Helvetica font for PNG image generation. Add Sketchboard.Me Macro You can add Sketchboard.Me Macro to a page by editing the page.

Security Response to Heartbleed

By Saiki Tanabe Apr 13, 2014

On April 7, 2014 information was released about a new vulnerability in OpenSSL (CVE-2014-0160). Security bug is called “Heartbleed”. This affected most of internet service, and Sketchboard was also affected. As of right now, we have no indication that the attack has been used against Sketchboard. What Sketchboard has done? Sketchboard updated it’s OpenSSL library version that fixed the bug on April 8th, 2014. New SSL keys were deployed. All browser sessions have been cleared.

Introducing Images

By Saiki Tanabe Apr 11, 2014

Happy to introduce images on Sketchboard. This has been one of the most requested features. Images can be now dragged and dropped on a board. first open a business board drag image from your desktop to the board Images can be used as normal elements, connect and resize images as you wish. Uploaded images are found from an image library. Image library is accessed through board context menu. Double click or long press board to open context menu and select image library.

Introducing New Shapes

By Saiki Tanabe Mar 27, 2014

We are happy to introduce new shapes. Most of users requested new shapes in the Sketchboard survey. Clear trend of the survey was to be able to create better looking content with version control. So that’s what we are working on. First features to roll out are new shapes and move elements to foreground/background. Now Sketchboard provides generic shapes category. Feature would not have worked out very well without move elements to foreground/background, so that is implemented as well.

Diagrams in GitHub

By Saiki Tanabe Mar 6, 2014

We are exited to announce Sketchboard initial integration with GitHub. Now you are able to upload diagrams directly from Sketchboard to GitHub. You can keep documentation and images on a same repository. Example usages: Create project intro with a diagram that makes it easier to get into the project. You can refer images from the repository README.md file Have an overview project design at GitHub wiki Update GitHub Pages technical blog with sketch diagrams See e.g.

Sketchboard Flavored Markdown

By Saiki Tanabe Sep 12, 2013

Highlight important topics on your board using text formatting. Sketchboard users have requested possibility to format text. For starters Note and Just Text elements implement simple text formatting. Formatting is based on Markdown, initially following text formatting rules are used. There are some differences for Markdown. Sketchboard legacy *bold* makes text bold and not emphasized. In the future another probable exception might be that two underscores are used for _underlined text_ and not for text bolding.

Export Only Selected Elements

By Saiki Tanabe Aug 31, 2013

From now on Sketchboard obeys selected elements when exporting a board. In case you have selected some elements from the board, exports obeys the selection. In case you don’t select anything, full board will be exported. Steps Select elements Select export method, e.g. Print Export Only Selected Elements as PNG Export Only Selected Downloaded File

Flowdock Integration

By Saiki Tanabe Aug 30, 2013

When your team uses Flowdock as a virtual room to keep everybody uptodate in the team. Sketchboard brings to that collaboration a virtual visual board. In Sketchboard you can sketch ideas together at the same time or separately when you have time. One possible way to work is to draft something out and have conversation about the design on Flowdock. For that purpose it is now possible to send a message from Sketchboard to Flowdock Team Inbox.

User Account and Team Account

By Saiki Tanabe Jul 22, 2013

When you sign up, Sketchboard creates a user account that is called My Profile in Sketchboard. In case you have not been earlier added to a team on Sketchboard, Sketchboard creates a default team account for you. You can add team members to the team and share boards with them easily and securily. By default boards are private and you need to select the boards that are shared. User Account == My Profile You can update your Sketchboard profile from “Settings” => “My Profile”.

Map View

By Saiki Tanabe Jun 20, 2013

Map view allows users to quickly see the board at once. This is especially useful when big board do not fit to the screen. To enable Map View keep z key down. Recenter the board by moving your mouse and release z key. Map View is only enabled when elements are not edited. New Shortcuts + zooms in (when not editing an element) - zooms out (when not editing an