Finding joy in real time

by Claire Brown - central team member - communications

The team here at Local Welcome is geographically spread and so it’s rare that we all get to work together in the same room.

We get an awful lot done via video chat, but there are little things we miss out on by not physically being with each other,  like the good vibes that happen when people who love what they do get together to create stuff.

However, this week, we’ve had something of a revelation … Realtime Board is our New Favourite Thing.

Picture this: Efe, our designer is in London, Celia our trainee designer is in Derby and me (Claire) our comms lead is in Nottingham - all of us are sitting at home on the kitchen table in front of our laptops.

We’re coming off the back of a Sprint, with a million post-its’ worth of user testing analysis, primed and ready for our next iteration (iteration is techspeak for using what humans testing our service told us about their experience to improve it).

In testing, our users (humans) were confused about what it means to be a member of Local Welcome, so this was our focus for this iteration. Our brief was to answer ‘How might we communicate the features of paying membership so that people understand it and want to do it?’

We began with Efe and I throwing around ideas in a video chat as usual and Efe said he’d pick up with Celia later in the day. Later that afternoon he sent me this message:


Efe worked with Realtime Board during his MA at Central St Martin’s, he later told me: “My prior experience was very positive and during the sprint, Figma proved that the team works well within a collaborative platform so I knew you’d all confidently embrace Realtime.”

Hello Realtime

Accessing the board with the link Efe had emailed over to me and discovering the user journey storyboarding work he’d done with Celia was a really joyful experience. For starters, it looked lovely, as well as helping me to understand very quickly the work and thinking they’d done in my absence.


With our user journey mapped out, our next step was to storyboard the video we planned to create as part of the new iteration. In the morning the three of us jumped on a video call but all our eyes were on the board as we pulled the frames, copy and images for the video together as a team.

It felt super intuitive and super awesome, or as Celia more eloquently puts it:

“As a member of the team who works remotely, using Realtime Board transformed what could have been a series of long web-calls, scribbling down notes and sharing screens, into joyful and highly productive collaborative sessions with my design team.”

The storyboarding took about an hour and by the time we were done Efe and Celia were ready to crack on with the design for the video, knowing all of us knew exactly which direction we were heading in.

Our clear brief plus Realtime’s planning templates not only helped us to have group clarity on direction of this iteration but also to speed up the process considerably. By the end of the day we were ready to demo.


Team highlights

Efe: “The participatory nature of the board supported the design work and made it much stronger. It’s actually very fun and natural to use.”

Celia: “I really enjoyed moments when over the web call our ideas were flowing and the team’s name-labelled cursors were moving about the screen, swiftly translating our thoughts into visuals.”

Claire: “It’s really important to me that as a team we’re always on the same page - Realtime helps to make that a literal reality. Clarity is so important to achieving the end result you hoped for, so a big thumbs up from me on this.”

We like:

  • Bright and engaging

  • Lots of helpful templates and visual tools, like sticky notes and comments

  • Intuitive design

  • Being able to upload images, icons, text and slides

  • Saves time (e.g. no need to export PDFs for demo)

Things to think about:

  • Would it feel as fun and engaging if we were all in the same room?

  • The realtimeness of the board depends on how good each person’s wifi connection is

Next steps:

We showed off the board to Ben our ceo and Andrew our delivery manager during the demo and they were suitably wow-ed, so we’re going to try using it for our next retro - we’re already eyeing up some templates :-)