Anyone tried out GuiMags?

14 Aug 2009 - 2:48am
5 years ago
15 replies
976 reads
Håkan Reis
2006

I found out about GuiMags <http://guimags.com> and got interested. Have
anyone tried them out?
I'm thinking of ordering a couple of kits. Any reaction on how they are
working out, is it any easier than just using the whitboard?
Regards,
---
Håkan Reis
User experience and .NET Consultant at Dotway AB
Øredev Program Committee

Our conference || http://oredev.org - It's going to be great in 2009
My company || http://dotway.se
My blog || http://blog.reis.se
My twitter || @haqwin

Comments

14 Aug 2009 - 5:10am
pascal geronimi
2009

Never used them, but it looks like a very neat idea for brainstorming
an UI. I want a kit!
Thank you Hakan for sharing this one.

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14 Aug 2009 - 6:02am
Jan Srutek
2009

One UI developer in my previous company brought those. We had a play
with them for a bit and then they were just left on the whiteboard
for months. They look nice, but as far as I can tell they don't seem
to be particularly useful or efficient. For brainstorming you are
probably better off with sketching and for more polished stuff - you
can just put together something in Visio in 3 minutes.
But I'd like to hear from others too, because initially they seemed
like a really good idea.
Thank you

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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14 Aug 2009 - 6:03am
Jan Srutek
2009

One UI developer in my previous company brought those. We had a play
with them for a bit and then they were just left on the whiteboard
for months. They look nice, but as far as I can tell they don't seem
to be particularly useful or efficient. For brainstorming you are
probably better off with sketching and for more polished stuff - you
can just put together something in Visio in 3 minutes.
But I'd like to hear from others too, because initially they seemed
like a really good idea.
Thank you

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14 Aug 2009 - 6:55am
jasonrobb
2009

Håkan,

Haven't used them. My reaction is they probably make sketching
easier the same way flame decals make a car faster. Personally, I
think that a visually polished UI would distract from the process of
sketching. I can see myself trying to line up the magnets to a grid
instead moving on.

Though they might be effective on my fridge at home to remind me we
need mustard. *shrugs*

Cheers,

Jason R.

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14 Aug 2009 - 8:42am
Håkan Reis
2006

Actually I was asking as I'm also a bit against the polished look.

For my self, I prefer using balsamiq <http://www.balsamiq.com/> and a
projector or just sketching on the whiteboard. But some of my colleges
thought this was a great tool.

Regards
---
Håkan Reis
User experience and .NET Consultant at Dotway AB
Øredev Program Committee

Our conference || http://oredev.org - It's going to be great in 2009
My company || http://dotway.se
My blog || http://blog.reis.se
My twitter || @haqwin

14 Aug 2009 - 9:02am
Jeremy Kriegel
2009

Bought some at my last company, but found most of the whiteboards
were plastic and not magnetic!

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14 Aug 2009 - 9:54am
Grady Kelly
2007

When I first saw these I thought they would be fun to use as well. Then you
see the price tag $98.00!

I did some research, and you can make your own.

First, design your own UI elements.

Next, you can get Avery magnetic sheets of paper for $10.00 for 5 sheets
http://www.amazon.com/Avery-Printable-Magnet-Inkjet-Printer/dp/B00006HN5Q

Now, if you want to write on them, FedEx/Kinkos has Dry Erase Lamination
that will run you about $7 a square foot.

So you could make 10 sheets worth of these for about $90, they would look
like you want, the size you want, and you could do ui elements that they do
not provide.

Grady Kelly
grady at gradykelly.com
http://www.gradykelly.com

On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 1:02 AM, Jeremy Kriegel <jer at moots.org> wrote:

> Bought some at my last company, but found most of the whiteboards
> were plastic and not magnetic!
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44678
>
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14 Aug 2009 - 4:17pm
Craig Melbourne
2009

I've seen these in action recently. They didn't seem particularly
useful as they only cover a small subset of elements. I think the DIY
approach Grady suggests would provide more flexibility.

Having said that, I'll probably get some for my Interaction Design
museum. They'll go well with the web stencil I just bought from the
Design Commission.

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15 Aug 2009 - 12:34pm
Abhay Rautela
2008

Drawing on the whiteboard is much easier, faster and productive while
brainstorming with your team. Plus you won't be limited to a basic
set of controls as in the case of Gui mags.

One place I would find use for Gui mags (or the DIY version) would be
at client workshops to get clients more involved as these would be
neater, simpler and more fun to use.

-Abhay

Cone Trees- User Research & Design
http://www.conetrees.com
http://www.twitter.com/conetrees
http://www.theuxbookmark.com
http://uxbookclub.org/doku.php?id=new_delhi
http://www.slideshare.net/group/web-accessibility

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15 Aug 2009 - 11:44am
Efraim
2009

@Craig:
We're coming out with more controls, also some specially for iPhone.
On top of that we have some more inventions coming up that will really
take Magnetic Prototyping up another notch... or 2!

One of them just released: The GuiBoards: Special magnetic
whiteboards that have resolutions (iPhone, computer screens, HD, and
so on) pre-printed on them that corresponds with the size of GuiMags,
so you can draft even faster.

Second is our little book that explains most our development secrets.
It's got raving reviews on Amazon
(http://www.tinyurl.com/theunplugged) and is available for Kindle
also.

Next we have some more stuff, that I'm even more excited about. But
that's still in development. To stay updated, put yourself on the
e-mail list at GuiMags.com and you'll be the first to know!

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14 Aug 2009 - 7:36am
Mark Plant
2009

Håkan

I bought a set and, honestly, they've mainly stayed in their box.
It's actually quite a limited set of controls and (not
unsurprisingly) you need a magentic white board which is not as
common a facility as you might think. Having said that, I mostly work
on client site so the facilities available vary considerably.

I regularly end up with drawing the basic structure of a solution on
the reverse of a sheet of post-it flip chart. I then use an internal
window with the framework / common elements of the UI on one side,
and white board markers to sketch on the other.

Mark

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15 Aug 2009 - 11:38am
Efraim
2009

Hey Folks!
It's Efraim here, inventor of GuiMags.
Thanks for your post and reply. Allow me to explain some of the ins
and outs of using GuiMags.

Quoting "Jan Srutek": "We had a play with them for a bit and then
they were just left on the whiteboard for months."

-Yeah, I've seen this happen before. Just like buying your first
Mac, it takes some time and effort to get into the habit of using
them. Once you're used to them, there's no going back. Especially
team-meetings are a blast, since they get a lot shorter...

Quoting "Hakan Reis": "Actually I was asking as I'm also a bit
against the polished look. For my self, I prefer using balsamiq"

- Totally understand! In fact, I'm a big Balsamiq / Napkee fan too!
Here's the deal: There's an early phase when an idea isn't crystal
enough for a detailed mockup (Balsamiq). That's when you use GuiMags.
Don't use them for looks (they're not THAT good looking), use them
for speed. Quickly move around, talk with your team. When the idea is
more solid and stops changing, that's when I use Balsamiq.

Quoting "Jeremy Kriegel": "Bought some at my last company, but
found most of the whiteboards were plastic and not magnetic!"

- Surely you didn't buy them from us, we don't sell plastic mockup
tools. You must be confused with something else?

@Grady Kelly:
True, you can make them yourself. On our blog we display how. The
good part is: you can make whatever you control you want. The bad:
lamination comes off when you use them a couple times, bend them or
clean them. But indeed, it's a good idea, in fact, that's what we
did before we manufactured them professionally.

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16 Aug 2009 - 12:45pm
Efraim
2009

@Conetrees:

I absolutely agree with you that drawing on a whiteboard, especially
in a collaborative session, gives you more freedom.
One thing that happens during these sessions is that you find
yourself drawing the same controls over and over. In that case, it's
just easy to slap a magnet on there that you can move around. That's
what they're for.

But I certainly wouldn't limit myself to what controls my
magnet-case has or not!

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18 Aug 2009 - 4:50am
darci
2009

"One place I would find use for Gui mags (or the DIY version) would
be at client workshops to get clients more involved as these would be
neater, simpler and more fun to use."

I tend to do that with post-it notes with elements drawn on. It may
not be as pretty as the GUI Mags, but no one feels bad about
scribbling over post-it notes or drawing their own elements to add in
to the design. I like the really low-tech version as it seems to let
people feel more capable of adding their own ideas.

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18 Aug 2009 - 5:38am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 18 Aug 2009, at 02:50, Darci Dutcher wrote:

> "One place I would find use for Gui mags (or the DIY version) would
> be at client workshops to get clients more involved as these would be
> neater, simpler and more fun to use."
>
> I tend to do that with post-it notes with elements drawn on. It may
> not be as pretty as the GUI Mags, but no one feels bad about
> scribbling over post-it notes or drawing their own elements to add in
> to the design. I like the really low-tech version as it seems to let
> people feel more capable of adding their own ideas.

I've had mixed experiences with this sort of thing.

I've not used GuiMags - but I have done paper cut outs of hardcopy UI
elements and let people play with them as well as sketching stuff out.

Some folk have seemed happier playing with the paper templates. Others
have seemed happy to abandon them quickly and just start drawing. Not
quite figured out why yet.

Something I have noticed is that people seem to take ownership of
sketches. If somebody draws something it remains "theirs" - and other
people don't fiddle with it much without prompting. The hardcopies -
because they're mass produced I guess - seem to stay more communal.

This, of course, may just be down to my lousy facilitation skills ;)

I tend to bring a whole bunch of stuff to a session like that and just
use whatever people seem to be more comfortable with.

Cheers,

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

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