Interview with Marvel App Co-Founder Murat Mutlu

A great prototype is essential to any successful web design process. You can never really understand if a design will work properly unless you can test it out. Creating an HTML prototype based off of the Photoshop documents or sketches that you've already created can be a time consuming process. Wouldn't it be wonderful to just upload your PSDs somewhere and make them clickable? Well, Marvel is here to save the day! Marvel is a prototyping tool for web designers that makes it possible to upload your PSD or even your hand-drawn sketches and create a clickable prototype on an iPhone. We had the opportunity to ask Murat Mutlu, one of Marvel's co-founders and product designer about his work as a designer at Marvel.

How did you get into design?

I used to try and draw cartoons when I was a kid, I was really into Warner Bros. stuff and spent hours with colored pencils trying to recreate what I saw on daytime TV.


What do you use to help you continue to learn?

Dribbble mostly, you get to see how some amazing designers approach different areas of UI and UX. I spent way too much time procrastinating.


What tools do you use when you’re creating?

Right now it’s mostly Photoshop, although I’m starting the gradual switch to Sketch like many other designers, because of the time-saving it offers when cutting assets and viewing projects.


How important do you think knowing the basics of HTML and CSS is to a web designer?

It’s important to know the ins and outs of every platform you design for, whether that’s iOS, Android or the web. Your job is to design something that makes the most out of each platform. Without knowing that, it’s hard to know what’s available to make experiences better.

Turn sketches into prototypes


Other than Marvel, what’s one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

I really enjoyed my side-project Instabam,​ ​a location-based Instagram viewer. I think it was the first time I made an​ything that had users! It allowed me to try a bunch of different UX experiments that I would never have done in my day job (agency work).


Could you tell us in a nutshell why you decided to dedicate your free time to creating Marvel?

Marvel was the first thing I’ve ever made in my spare-time that I thought could solve a problem. In the past we’ve made a ton of stuff, from Instabam to Tuner, but they never really felt like something substantial.

The idea was just to solve a problem for myself because I hated not having an easy way to view my designs on devices and play around with them. Then you realize that there are millions of others just like you and that’s when you see the bigger picture in some little thing you hacked together in your spare time.


Is there any significance behind the name Marvel?

Sadly there is no great story. I used to buy tons of domain names in case I would need them in the future. I have about ten or so with the word ‘app’ at the end.

After we created the first releasable version of Marvel and we realized it needed a name, I looked through my list and saw that I had ‘’. I figured you can ‘marvel’ at what you create in our app so seemed like the right fit!

The other domains I had were ‘furyapp’ and ‘overdriveapp’ which don’t fit that well!

Information about marvel


Why do you think it’s important to see a prototype actually on the screen of the device instead of just a simple design that’s clickable?

You can’t really know what designs and ideas will look or feel like until you have a chance to view them on the devices they are being made for.

Prototyping lets you find problems before getting to the expensive part of a project. Validating and testing as early as possible is always a good thing.


Why is Marvel different from other prototyping services?

I think its growth is coming from its simplicity. It’s just really easy to put something together in a few minutes without having to navigate through a bloated piece of software.

Our iPhone app also lets you turn sketches into prototypes too, which means you don’t even need to be near a computer or have any design skills to quickly put something together. It’s really lowering the barrier to bringing your ideas to life.


Right now you have an iPhone app, do you have plans to create an Android app?

Yes! It’s around 85% complete. It’s fully functional, but just needs some polish.

Marvel on stage at Adobe Max Keynote


Can you describe the feeling of seeing Marvel featured on stage at the 2014 Adobe Max conference? Did you know that your app would be featured?

Had no idea! It felt pretty amazing, some of the other companies on that stage were household names. Now we need to deliver an amazing experience on iOS to match people’s expectations.


When did you make the decision to work on Marvel full time and what prompted you to do that?

This time last year we were still building it in our bedrooms, it was only in November when we managed to raise an Angel investment that we were able to leave freelancing and go full-time on Marvel.

Explanation of how Marvel works


Why is Marvel free? Will it continue to be free?

Marvel is built on top of the Dropbox API, which means we don’t have to worry about storing large files. Because of that, Marvel’s essentially ‘bring your own storage.’ So since we stay really lean with our costs, we decided to pass that on to the users and offer the best free plan around.

Marvel will always be free with no limits on projects.


Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

One thing I did that really helped was downloading free PSDs on sites like Dribbble and picking them apart trying to work out how all these great designers actually made stuff.

Then I would try to recreate them in exactly the same style but from scratch. I can honestly say before I started doing this I was pretty crappy at UI design. I had the ideas but never the execution, so I would definitely recommend that if you’re just starting out.