March 14, 2021

Whimsical Docs – A Designer and PM's New Best Friend?

Whimsical is a suite of collaboration tools like Flowcharts, Wireframes, Sticky Notes, Mind Maps. Last month Whimsical made a new addition to its suite – Docs. Whimsical finally has a way to include wireframes, user-flow diagrams and more into a single document. This makes it easier to communicate ideas and collaborate instead linking to individual files.

Whimsical Docs could be the perfect all-in-one tool for Product Teams in their day-to-day professional lives. Working on requirement documents, wikis, PRDs, ideation, user flows and more are some fun use-cases.

I have used Whimsical Docs for writing a planning document for the redesign of my Blog. It is now my favourite planning and brainstorming tool. Until I hit the free plan limit, Notion would be the backup option henceforth.

Docs makes Whimsical make sense for Designers and PMs

Whimsical suite of tools are the perfect thinking tools. They let PMs, Designers, Content Strategists and others to brainstorm ideas with user-flows, mind maps and wireframes among a few others. Those were already pretty handy tools to think through a problem and potential solutions.

Docs works together with other tools in the Whimsical suite. The entire Whimsical suite consists of Mind maps, User-flows, Sticky Notes, Wireframes and Docs. One can map out a feature right from adding context with documentation to making a rough wireframe to give shape to the vague solutions.

Whimsical Docs completes the suite.

How does it compare to other tools?

Docs does find some overlaps in features with other tools that might have a stronger foothold already. In terms of its offerings, it comes close to some other documentation tools like Coda, Notion, Google Docs etc. It also has some overlapping features with Miro, Trello, MindNode, even Figma.

Using a new tool for solving each tiny problem does not work out well most of the times. Docs prevents the context switching required in jumping across tools for specific use-cases. It offers all thinking and documentation tools in the same place. This makes it an tempting alternative.

It may allow some teams to replace Google Docs, Trello, Miro, Confluence and a bunch of other apps in its favour. Much like how Figma disrupted the Sketch-dependant ecosystem.

Steve Schoeffel, Co-Founder at Whimsical addresses the concern of overlapping features with other tools on Product Hunt,

"... there is a lot of overlap in the use cases covered by Miro and by boards within Whimsical (Whimsical Flowcharts, Wireframes, Mind Maps, etc.).

However, with Docs, Whimsical can now support a ton of totally new use cases that can't be done in Miro. For example: product specs, team wikis, meeting notes, client dashboards, etc."

What can we do with Whimsical Docs?

Docs combines text and visual elements into a single tool. It provides the best of thinking tools and documentation tools in one place. Who doesn't love that?

It becomes the perfect tool for project documentation, wikis, brainstorming, and managing tasks to some extent. There are some interesting examples for some of these use-cases and more on Whimsical Docs' website. Check those out.

In fact, the entire product design workflow can be reduced to Whimsical + Figma. As this article points out the benefits of doing something similar. With the introduction of Docs, Notion or any other documentation can also be removed from the stack of tools.

How much does it cost though?

The entire Whimsical suite of features comes with a generous free plan. It offers up to 3000 items per workspace. Items are the smallest units for each feature. For Whimsical Docs, text blocks, headings, image blocks, icons etc will count as an item. The free plan also allows adding unlimited members in a workspace, and also offers real-time collaboration.

This item limit is enough to explore that tool and fall in love with it. This Planning Document I wrote amounted to 118 items. That included the wireframes and user-flow diagram I cooked up.

Pro and Organisation plans are $10/editor/month and $20/editor/month. You can check out their pricing structure here.

Final thoughts

With Docs, the Whimsical suite of tools is now complete. It allows people to think, sketch out rough ideas, and communicate those decisions all in one tool. It has a great writing experience and a non-existent learning curve.

It's a perfect productivity boost that saves the time wasted on moving from one app to another. It's clearly targeted towards a very niche set of users, namely PMs, Designers and such. It works really well by solving some very specific problems of documentation.

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References

  1. Why you should be running your design team entirely on Notion + Whimsical + Figma
  2. Whimsical Docs (Product Hunt launch)
  3. Whimsical Website
  4. Featured image source

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