blog.frederique.harmsze.nl my world of work and user experiences

August 31, 2022

Some notes on Miro boards

Filed under: Adoption — Tags: — frederique @ 21:38

Yes, pun intended: I would like to share some of my notes with you, about Miro whiteboards with digital sticky notes. We recently used a Miro board for brainstorming in a workshop with business representatives at a client. Bottomline is that it worked very nicely, but there were a few gotchas.

Share the board in a way that suits the needs

We shared the board in two different ways, with each their pros and cons and applicability. The following worked well for us.

Invite the workshop participants by their email addresses

When you invite people by name or email address, they enter the board logged in with their account.

  • Pro:
    • They can simply navigate to miro.com and see the board that they have been invited. This was very practical for us, as we held a hybrid meeting: we pasted a link in the chat of the Teams meeting for the online participants. The on-site participants simply opened their laptop and navigated to miro.com in their browser without needing to find a complex link.
    • Their name can be displayed in the sticky notes they add, so that you can see who said what and ask themfor clarification when needed.
  • Con:
    • The first time they get a Miro invitation, they need to create a Miro account. It is free, but clients may be uncomfortable it. So check with the client if they have policies or strong feelings about internet accounts.
      Of course the entire Miro board lives in a cloud outside of our regular Microsoft cloud, and they may find that scary. But Miro is a Microsoft partner and its whiteboard integrates with Microsoft Teams, so they are not really strangers.
    • You cannot simply forward the board to another colleague whose input may become relevant. That colleague then needs to be invited first.

The people you invite to a specific board can only see the boards to which they have been invited. They cannot see the names of the users in the Miro team that this board is a part of; for that you have to be added to the actual team.

As a member of the Miro team, you see the names and addresses of the people who have been invited to one or more of the boards specifically. Actually: you only see the name when that person has and accepted the invitation and created a Miro account wih their name. Until then, you see only the email address with the label ‘Invited user’ instead of the name.

Share the board with a wider group of interested colleagues via a guest link with a password

When inviting individual people by name is not an option or too much of an administrative hassle, you can share a guest link. Then you do not need to log on. It is possible to use an unprotected guest link, but if the information you gather and share in the board has any kind of sensitivity, please set a password.

Pro:

  • No need to create an account
  • You can open up the brainstorm: you and the participants of the workshop can just give the link and the password to other colleagues who are not part of the core team.
    Don’t share such an anonymous guest link if the board contains sensitive information, as you have no way of knowing where that link and password end up. Fortunately, you can close it down: change the settings so that anyone with a link has no access, instead of Can view or Can edit.

Con:

  • You cannot see who has posted a note: they are labelled as Visitor. So if you want to know who added some idea, you need to ask them to type in their initials or something like that.
  • The link is ugly. No problem whatsoever when you can paste a link in the chat or some other message and people can click on it. But it is more difficult if people need to enter the link themselves

Make sure the board has at least one Co-Owner

In order to set a password on the guest link to a Miro board, you need to have Owner or Co-Owner permissions on that board.

At first, we only had the Owner. I had to disturb my colleague while he was very busy with something else entirely to get an upgrade to Co-Owner, so that I could set up that link. Next time, I will make sure to check there is at least one Co-Owner from the start

Strangely enough, I was able to change the settings to allow anyone with a link to edit the board without a password. That seems a lot more “dangerous” than setting a password for the link…. But this is what we experienced…

Lock the framework

If have structured your board with things like frames, title bars or shapes that should stay in place. Otherwise people will accidentally move them.

But when you have locked it, you cannot change the text in that title bar – for example. You do get a prompt to unlock, but that is not placed right next to your cursor, so you may miss it and wonder why you cannot edit the text.

Use the timer to timebox the brainstorm rounds

You can set a time, such as 15 minutes, by way of the timer icon in the top right toolbar. Then all of the participants can see how much time they have left, as the timer counts down.

When time’s up, Miro sounds a “digital gong”. However, we have switched off the moderators laptop speaker, because we used the sound system in the meeting room. So we did not hear that sound, and the timer just disappeared. It did not show the stopped time. Oh well, now we know that when we don’t see the timer anymore, time’s up.

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