A lightweight desktop application I created for viewing reference material without having to tab out of design applications. This initially began as a personal tool, but after receiving so much positive feedback from artistic communities, I developed it into a full fledged application.

Try refBoard Here!


  • Actionscript 3
  • Flash (Adobe AIR)

The Problem

“Most design applications have no means for viewing reference materials while working, regardless of their importance in any creative workflow.”

User Persona

  • Uses design tools, e.g. Photoshop or Maya often.
  • Makes frequent use of reference images.
  • Has very limited screen space to work with.

Essential Tasks

  • App window “floats” over other applications.
  • Discrete UI, must be easy to work around.
  • Scalable.
  • Display multiple images at once.


User Testing

After sharing an early build with the Polycount community, I received a massive amount of positive feedback. Before long, artists were sending emails asking for various features and volunteering to test new builds. With this feedback, I was able to take the application further than its initial scope.


  • Base functionality tweaks.
  • Usability improvements.
  • Aesthetic overhauls.
  • Ease of implementation.


  • The ability to save and reload boards via proprietary “.refb” format.
  • Usability improvements for drawing tablets.
  • Basic image manipulation.
  • Various UI tweaks.

The Result

An ever expanding, lightweight, platform independent image viewer with a host of features tailored specifically for artists and designers.