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Get Creative and Find More Patterns With Find and Filtering

Written by 
Gino Valencia
September 24, 2021

We’re all pretty familiar with the find feature for text-based applications like Word docs: If you need to change all references to “dogs” in your article to “cats,” you would do a “find and replace.” It saves you time and you avoid missing any stray dog (pun intended) references. 

But why is the find feature also valuable for visual collaboration? It’s an underrated tool for pattern identification and so much more. Give me five minutes; let’s journey together, and I’ll convince you.

Hack the post-brainstorm cluster and pattern identification

Building a feeling of trust and creativity for your brainstorms or user research sessions is only part of the facilitator role. It’s just as important to lead the pattern identification and deduction that happens once all the ideas and feedback are on your mural.

If you do clusters in your brainstorming (if you don’t, I highly recommend it!), try labeling the clusters with the same color — like a dark purple. You can use the find feature to quickly highlight the cluster names you want to prioritize or discuss as a group. Get creative with how you and your collaborators use colors to identify patterns, and use the find feature to focus on different elements of your mural.

With the filter for dark purple selected, I’m able to focus attention on cluster themes.

👉  Bonus tip: create your cluster groups as text boxes if your brainstorming was on sticky notes. This way, it’ll be easy to select an object to focus your voting session — and avoid accidental clicks on objects you don’t want included in your vote.

Track participation in your async project or coursework

Real talk: most of us have room for improvement at async collaboration. When you assign distinct colors to each breakout group or individual collaborator, the find filter makes it easy to see how many sticky notes are on the mural of each color. You can then filter to review or respond to all ideas or thoughts from each collaborator — or provide prompts if more folks need to leave contributions.

With individual collaborators, you can also use our new “find by last edited by” capability to filter directly by member or guest names; no color coding needed. My colleague Sasha on our education team recorded a video demonstrating how to use this new feature to keep track of classroom participation. Watch it here!

👉  Bonus tip: did you know each MURAL member is automatically assigned a distinct avatar color that appears first in their custom colors palette? It’s the same across all your murals. 

Customize MURAL templates with your branding or client’s favorite colors

MURAL templates are a great way to save time preparing for a workshop or get ideas for an upcoming meeting, but it can feel overwhelming to try to change up their designs. There’s actually a great “hack” I use all the time to quickly swap out standard template colors for new ones — whether it’s to highlight a client’s brand or just use my own favorite colors (I call dibs on lime green).

Here’s how I do it (plus a video version, for easy following):

  1. Use the custom colors palette in the color dropdown to build their colors on a mural. I then save client colors to my content library for easy reference.
  2. Create a mural from a template.
  3. Open the find menu to filter elements by background color. Then it’s easy to select only the filtered elements and change them to your custom color.
  4. CTRL(COMMAND) + SHIFT + Click and drag to select locked elements.
  5. Right click, select “Unlock.”
  6. Wave magic wand. [Editor’s note: this is not a real step, but Gino insisted we leave this in.]
  7. Change the color.

Building out 1:1 templates for catching up with each of your direct reports? Find out their favorite colors (or their favorite team’s colors, go Giants!) in an icebreaker and then customize the murals accordingly.

Want to impress a client or prospect in a discovery session? Create a mural with their brand colors so they know from the start you did your prep work.

How to find the find feature

With MURAL, the find icon looks like a magnifying glass on the top right corner of the mural. You can also use the CTRL + F (or CMD + F) shortcut to quickly open the search bar. 

You’ll now be able to search and filter elements of the whole canvas or your selection, including:

  1. Search for a word or phrase.
  2. Filter by object type, including text boxes, shapes, and sticky notes.
  3. Filter by color.
  4. Find by last edited by, which allows filtering by the member who most recently edited text on a sticky, shape, text box, or title.

Combine the search and any of the filters for the most powerful results from find. 

Have another way you use find in a mural to uncover patterns? I want to know about it! Share your knowledge on my Community post here.

About the author

About the authors

Gino Valencia

Sr. Manager of Success Architecture @ MURAL, builder of connections, and customer spirit guide. Husband, father, burrito connoisseur, and will take you in a dance battle.