In my job I am required to explain my thoughts and ideas to other people. I’m nothing close to a UI designer but I use simple sketching while explaining and it worked every time.
A whiteboard is my best friend but paper, napkins, your white shirt and other people’s faces work just as well.
When sketching is useful :
- When explaining things to someone
- While thinking
- While planning (to take over the world)
- While having sex, to explain to your lover what they should do to you
No special skills are required for sketching
- Open a web browser
- Sketch the web browser
- Ask a user interface designer/someone you think should be good at sketching to sketch the same thing
- Compare and observe that the results aren`t very different
- Mock the other guy for not doing a much better job than you
Words are not always enough
How to sketch your idea
- Follow the logical flow/scenario of how your idea would work
- Example > if you sketch a “forgot password” then you sketch first the home page, then sketch how the user would access “forgot password” and only last you sketch your new idea of the “forgot password” functionality.
- Sketch the context in which your idea fits. Having the object or an image of the context in front of you helps
- Sketch first the known & existing things/functionality, in very general details
- Example > if you want a “forgot password” button then sketch a web browser and the general things found on the page
- Sketch your idea, while explaining it
- Your main point/focus should be sketched in more details than anything else, to have peoples’ focus on it
Here’s an example of a password recovery sketch.
- Use A4 paper, not notebook(papers you can move around, put in different order)
- Do not use colors (they distract people from the functionality. But can be used on important details)
- Erasers, tippex and things that cover mistakes are useful
- Apps like GeniusScan+ for iPhone can be helpful to upload your sketches online
- Apps like Whiteport can be useful for showing scenarios and telling user stories
- Put the pen down on the paper (start from a static arm position)
- Plan to end the movement after you ended the line
- Start to draw the line
- Lift the pen off the paper, but the arm movement continues a bit longer
Tip : For short lines use only fingers/hand. For long lines use full arm.
Tip : Use a dotted line as separator or to show hidden objects.
- Sketch a square out of 4 lines
- Do not sketch with one continuous movement
- Start with the upper left corner
Tip : for squares with rounded corners just cut the corners with a line.
- Do a circle in the air before starting on paper
- Just like with lines, lift the pen off the paper but continue the movement