What Happened to Invision? The Once Darling of the Design Industry Is Dead

Picture this: InVision, once the prototyping market's undisputed ruler, holds the crown for a hot second. Then *poof*.

What Happened to Invision? The Once Darling of the Design Industry Is Dead

If you're a tennis fan, you might remember "The Choke" of 2010.

At the Wimbledon tennis final, Tomas Berdych faced off against Rafael Nadal. Berdych gained quite the lead in the first set, but Nadal executed a remarkable turnaround, staging a comeback that saw him clinch the title after losing the first set.

Berdych was, understandably, distraught.

Now, imagine a fumble even more staggering, surpassing the futility of that legendary mishap.

Enter Invision, once the undisputed champion of prototyping tools, now fumbling its market-leading position. It's a tech world plot twist that rivals the biggest blunders on the sports field.

Today, their CEO sent out an eventually expected but not really all that surprising email, putting all the rumours to bed that, yes, Invision would be ending their ongoing support for their "design collaboration services".

"Today I am writing to share that after careful consideration we have made the difficult decision to discontinue InVision's design collaboration services (including prototypes, DSM, etc) at the end of 2024. For important information, details, and guidance on next steps read our FAQs."

How on Earth Did This Happen?

It isn't easy to articulate just how massive Invision was at one point. They had the entire prototyping design market in the palm of their hands.

There wasn't a day that went by in my career when I wasn't using it. It was so important to my workflow, and the workflow of so many others.

Their prowess was particularly vital when bridging the gap for Sketch users, a design tool that lacked native support for prototyping. InVision stepped in as the game-changer, enabling seamless transitions from static designs in Sketch to interactive prototypes.

Then? Well, nothing. No updates, no news - just radio silence. What was going on? And OH SHIT, here comes Figma for your breakfast.

Gulp. Too late.

The known fastest thing in the universe is the speed of light, the second fastest thing is the rate at which Silicon Valley pumps out new software. If you snooze, you quite literally lose, which is exactly what happened to Invision after seemingly countless years of slumber.

Well, that's not entirely truthful.

They did venture into the realm of InVision Studio, an entirely new tool that positioned itself as a formidable alternative to Sketch and the then-new Figma.

However, this endeavour appeared to be a lacklustre journey.

Mobile App Prototype Tutorial with InVision Studio | ToptalĀ®
Invision Studio. Source: Toptal

Plagued by terrible performance issues, the tool's ability to craft prototypes with animations became inconsequential because, despite its promised functionalities, it never managed to attain a satisfactory level of performance.

It's worth noting that this was at a time when people were complaining about the performance of Sketch, the then-defacto standard for UI creation.

It is, for all intents and purposes, a massive bag fumble - a moment of sheer disappointment that future business students will no doubt learn from.

It's unknown if we'll ever find out exactly just what went wrong, but over at r/userexperience on Reddit, a user by the name of DumpTrumpGrump, alleges the team at Invision was confident they'd be bought by Adobe.

"It was weird. I think they were certain Adobe would acquire them and took their foot off the gas. I actually don't know why that acquisition didn't happen. My guess is Adobe felt like they already owned the same user base. I think they didn't get into the prototyping creating game early enough or deeply enough because they thought this acquisition was gonna happen early on. No one ever said that to me, but it was the feeling I always had."

InVision's once-unassailable position is now all but dead, marking a pivotal moment in the ever-evolving saga of digital innovation.

According to the CEO, all that's left is Freehand, which was acquired by Miro. Whether or not Invision will continue, or if they're working on any new products currently, is unknown.

RIP Invision.