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InVision ambassador ambassador
Adam Bies Adam Bies

Can you guys improve your terrible hot spot implementation in both web and Sketch?

I am open to any suggestions anyone has for this but I am beside myself that InVision is a product designed to help user experience professionals improve the UX of their products — but InVision and the craft plugin are by far 2 of the WORST user experiences I've ever seen.

I use InVision and a couple of other badly designed software products that are popular in spite of their flaws whenever I give a presentation about what makes a bad user experience.

The absolute worst part of the whole experience is by far hot spot management — and there's no legitimate reason it has to be THIS BAD!

When you have a sketch file open and you try to use the plugin to link a hotspot to an art board — why are users FORCED to choose the linked artboard by this stupid drag and drop arrow system? Why can't I just select it from a DROP DOWN MENU? Am I missing something here?

I am working with a sketch file where there are hundreds of hot spots all over several artboards — and the resulting linking arrows make the whole experience like I am looking at a bowl of spaghetti.

When it comes to creating a new hot spot and linking it to an art board — I happen to know the NAME of the art board I want to link to, but instead I have to zoom out to view all artboards at thumbnail size and then just take a random guess as to which artboard I need to drag the stupid arrow over to — praying I get the right one.

I find the web-application handling of hot spots MUCH MUCH better than the implementation inside of sketch because of this very reason, and the ability to create hot spot templates, etc. It is MUCH more powerful in the web app side. HOWEVER — on the web app side, drawing the hot spots themselves is the most ridiculous experience imaginable, especially if you are trying to do it with any sort of precision. Plus anything you create in the web app cannot be synced back to your Sketch prototype.

You basically gave us the WORST of both worlds and told us to go eat cake.

If I had any choice in the matter I'd be using another prototyping tool if I can find one that can handle this very simple thing. The complexity and moronic way of managing hotspots in InVision is one of the main reasons I still find it easier to just cobble a bunch of PNG files together and create "hotspots" using old school image maps and using a GUI editor to draw / maintain them.

I've used InVision at 3 different organizations I've worked for and from what I can see — the InVision leadership are way more interested in shoving brand new features into the product and taking absolutely no time whatsoever to improve the broken experiences in the existing features that have been there for years.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but I can tell you I work on a team of 20+ designers in just ONE organization who have the exact same complaint about this broken experience as I am sharing with you.



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Beth Vanderkolk
InVision ambassador Beth Vanderkolk, InVision Employee , ambassador

Hi Adam!

Thanks for taking a minute to post here about your experience with hotspots. I wanted to touch base quickly and let you know that I'm chatting with the product manager about this tomorrow morning. I just wanted to explain the delay in my reply and not leave you hanging! I'll post again here tomorrow. 

InVision Community Manager


Adam Bies
InVision ambassador Adam Bies , ambassador Edited

Thanks for the reply. I think a lot of people would really jump for joy if this feature could be improved.

If I can be more positive and less rude about the request, I would put it this way...

If the original intended use case for these features were for people to build quick and dirty / simple prototypes with very little interactivity to get something approved quickly and into production — then the way things work now would be totally acceptable to most people doing it.

I've found InVision to be an EXTREMELY valuable tool when presenting extremely complex workflows for things like data scientists in the healthcare industry building out data entry workflows which took up to 30+ "screens" to put together. Even though it was a lot of work and many might consider it overkill — the result was that a single designer was able to take all of the user research and produce an extremely complicated high fidelity prototype which took over an hour just to give a walkthrough to the company leadership.

The leadership of the company thought the entire product was ALREADY BUILT because of how well the prototypes work to sell ideas like this. We spent 3 months working through iterations on the entire workflow in order to get it right — but we were able to hand off a very well researched and thought out hi-fi prototype which helped a group of 10 developers work together to build it out right the first time.

Now I am working on banking applications using the tool which have the same level of interactivity and detail as before — and once again it's easy to follow design patterns and create all of the necessary screens and overlays fairly rapidly.

The whole process slows down to a crawl when it comes to the hotspot linking. The choice is either do it via the web app and then be forced to manually drag and drop every single hotspot across the entire project every time you move a design block around. Or, you can build the hotspots in Sketch but you never know which board is linking to what.

The ultimate solution would be a simple PANEL in sketch, just like you use to set your typographic, color, line, and fill properties of an object or layer, where we can select the target artboard, set all of the same properties to the hotspot you can set in the invision web app, and create hot spot groups you can propagate across multiple panels in your project — as simple as creating a symbol in sketch which contain your hot spot group, and then applying it to several art boards at once.

That simple change would reduce the time spent messing around with hot spots in a complex workflow prototype by 75% or more. And then you'd have tons of happy designer customers who use it this way — and have another selling point. You wouldn't have to get rid of the existing drag and drop arrow functionality because I am sure there are people who use that. I would be willing to bet most people would switch over to the drop-down panel method though.

It's the same kind of "cutesy" UI stuff you've done in the web app — like making the user guess by floating their mouse around in this blank grey space waiting for a magical "add new section" link to appear. Is this thing the Magic 8 Ball or something? I've been using it for a year and I still despise that I have to swirl my cursor around in this invisible space waiting for Mysterio the magician to bring my "ADD NEW SECTION" link into view. A "plus" button with a label "new section" would kick ass compared to this.

I can absolutely assure you that designers all over the place who use these tools laugh their ass off and totally agree with me when I bring up these points. We like the tool — but there are UX issues that drive UX professionals insane.

If I'm missing something and went through some long winded spiel and I have just not seen a "panel" in sketch that allows us to do that then my apologies. I've been using the products together for about a year now and I haven't seen it.


Colin Murphy
InVision ambassador Colin Murphy, InVision Employee , ambassador

Hi Adam

Thanks for your thoughtful feedback - we need this to ensure we're improving.  Our goal is to REDUCE the friction in your workflow (not create it) and save you time so that you can build better products, faster.  It pains me to hear we're hurting and not helping in some respects.

On the first point: we are working on a new way to link up artboards in Sketch in addition to the current blue spaghetti - we call it this, as well ;)  We're aiming for an experience similar to what you described.  Look out for more on this shortly.  I think it will help and would love your input.

Regarding adding new sections / managing sections on the web - I agree.  It can be difficult to use.  We're looking at this, as well, but slightly longer time horizon.

Hope this comes as some slightly positive news!


Product Manager, Craft & Web Prototyping


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