Designers are never happy, are they? While cloud storage companies like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box have skyrocketed thanks to being the easiest solution for teams to share documents and files with each other, they’re more of a utility than a communication platform for designers who feed on iteration and motifs. No one really opens up Dropbox for inspiration, and thanks to that ideas, sketches, and updates don’t travel far from the person who designed them.
Chris Kalani, product designer at Facebook for 2.5 years has been mulling on this problem as a designer saw how it could be done better though a Facebook internal tool called Pixelcloud, which was built to solve a similar problem. After working on some projects with longtime friends Tobias Baeck and Johan Bakken, founder of the Norwegian digital agency Bakken & Baeck, they hacked together a tool for sharing and critiquing visual work for internal purposes. Realizing there’s a market need for a tool like this, the product has been refined into Wake, which has now been released publicly.
With a web, desktop, and iPhone apps, Wake is a clean place to quickly share screenshots and videos of what you’re working on, allowing you to get feedback outside of meetings and formal reviews. Digging into the demo Wake isn’t overloaded with features – it’s light responsive interface pops new screenshots into the mix, allowing others to either hit a like button or and comment on them. Talking about how basic the product seems at first glance, Kalani points out that it’s tough to get a sense of the value from looking a demo account – the real value comes from working with it as a team and passively getting the bigger picture over time.
What’s most exciting about Wake is that the product is getting into the right hands. In private beta, Wake worked with around 70 companies including Yahoo, Twitter, Cisco, Artsy, Medium, and BuzzFeed, as well as a few startups and Scandinavian media houses.
According to Kalani, building up that momentum has been a mix of personal relationships, some light media buzz, and then reaching out to designers at big organizations personally. “We really didn’t have contacts [to some organizations] but we reached out. I think it really resonates with people, so they were eager to try it out. It’s a lot of personal relationship building on our end.”
Coming up next Wake is building up a team in San Francisco and collecting more and more feedback from users as they test whether the platform is ready to scale. Free registration is now open on their website, where they’re adding in a couple hundred teams at the time.