The ranking goes:
During the pandemic of 2021, distancing requirements made option 1 impossible (as well as, thankfully, option 3).
People can collaborate on ideas using a variety of digital tools. There are collaboration tools you can use (with a little extra effort) if your organization subscribes to Microsoft Office 365 or Google’s Gsuite.
Mural vs. Miro: Tools for digital facilitation
You will most likely come across Mural and Miro in 2021 if you are considering purpose-built digital facilitation tools. As tools for digitising group creativity, these two have established a reputation among facilitators.
You may also be familiar with RealtimeBoard. RealtimeBoard has been renamed Miro. Rebranding your startup for no good reason is normally not a great sign, but so far the branding agency has been contained to the superficial and the product remains sound (for now).
Using our products
To be able to work remotely, we chose digital whiteboards and facilitator tools for our business’s two main domains. Adapting to client needs meant coordinating business strategy sessions, product development work, and organization design work with the right tools.
Our consulting expertise has also been turned into postgraduate and executive training through our partnership with a university client in recent years. We deliver courses in Design Thinking and Customer Experience Strategy to MBA students and executives through this program.
In assessing these solutions, we had to take into account a fairly diverse range of users and scenarios. Should your use case not be covered well here, please leave a comment and we will discuss it.
Recommendation: Whatever you have already.
Our clients’ businesses contain a variety of preinstalled technology. One of our responsibilities is to adapt to meet client needs. Therefore, we need to make the best of what we have, not complain about what we don’t.
We generally recommend using an existing solution if one exists. Using the technology that the group is the most familiar with will enable us to spend less time on technical training and more time adding value to our clients. It is not our purpose to assist clients with adoption of a tech tool, but rather to assist them in overcoming their business challenges.
Our Winner: Mural
Each option is well matched on a feature by feature basis. You can use sticky notes, public libraries of templates, and frameworks to draw the attention of participants. Their similarities in terms of their User Interface designs may reflect a level of competitive inspiration or just a convergence of dominant design characteristics. They are easy to switch between from one project to the next.
We tend to choose Mural when there isn’t prior familiarity, preference, or an existing tool in place. Mural offers a consultancy programme that has helped us onboard it in our own business. As a result, our clients and students have had no additional software licensing costs when using Mural in boardrooms and classrooms.
We have chosen Mural because of its consultant-friendly nature. As part of our workshops and classes within our team, we have set up workspaces, provided clients and students with guest accounts, and scaled up additional seats when needed. Together, this support has proven to be an efficient workflow and a better value offering compared to Miro.
Miro? Why not?
The same goes for Miro. There is no shade we can throw on their product (just their terrible, terrible rebranding). Mural is simply better value for us as consultants and educators.
Miro is a great competitor to Mural and has no doubt been a positive influence on Mural’s product development. Looking specifically at extensibility, Miro has long had a head start on integrations with other popular digital productivity tools (Slack, Zapier, Gsuite, etc.).
Mural has only recently begun to take advantage of this integration advantage and to become a part of the productivity ecosystem. Mural was largely non-existent in 2020 when it came to pushing data to other apps whereas Miro had a robust push system.
We create reports and analyses following client workshops in order to generate insights and help clients turn their ideas into reality. The push data integration features of Miro are a great help in improving our postworkshop productivity workflows (both in comparison with Mural and in-person sessions).
Miro’s lead in taking an open system strategy (similar to Slack and Zoom) has motivated Mural to be a better product. It is expected that by mid 2020, Mural will also be an open collaborator with a half decent Zapier integration currently in beta.
As well as building and supporting useful native add-ons, Miro invests in native development. Wireframing, one of Miro’s native extensions, highlights how Miro develops useful native extensions while also supporting and integrating apps like InVision for advanced UI design and prototyping.
Miro is a pretty cool product. It makes no sense to switch from Miro to Mural if you or your organization are already set up with Miro. Having used both, there are a few times when I wish I could tap an integration and remember I’m in Mural.
Mural’s main difference is that they specifically support educators and consultants. In cases where a project requires a workflow better suited to Miro (like when we want to be able to push data and content from our boards into other apps or formats), we can enable it for that project. Mural takes care of most of the work for us.
Pricing and Value
If you are a small to medium business looking for a standard solution, the features are pretty similar. So your choice may come down to price rather than quality. As for Mural’s pricing structure, we think the $12/user/month Starter plan is plenty for most SMEs looking to use it internally. Compared to Miro, the prices are more complex, but starting at $8/user/month, paid plans are more affordable.
You may find that Miro is the better option right now. If you work in a large organization where procurement processes are based on the 9th circle of hell. It’s hard to switch in and out of tools without a lot of flexibility, as you don’t always have to use those nice integrations.
If you aren’t sure, both Miro and Mural offer Free plans to give you a chance to try their services and get a sense of which product is right for your team. Miro’s Free plan is resource restricted, while Mural’s is time limited. Both also offer enterprise pricing plans if you are looking to roll out paid accounts to more than 50 people and want to haggle for a discount.
Miro and Mural are useful tools for hosting remote workshops and facilitating groups. Either of these would be a solid alternative to a real-world whiteboard and sticky notes.
Mural will suffice for most use cases for those with the autonomy to pick their tools project by project, as well as consultants and educators.
The digital facilitation of work is an evolving area. In the current climate, it will continue to make a positive impact. We can expect both companies, to continue to innovate in their quest to be the best tool for sharing ideas and collaborating.