CanUX: Sketchboards- Good Design Faster

by November 18, 2008

Brandon Schauer’s workshop at CanUX 2008 in Banff outlined a methodology for collaborative sketching that enabled teams to jumpstart the product design process.

  • Clients want great experiences and they want them fast
  • Traditionally designers use wireframes to explore designs but they only focus on a single page of the experience at a time.
  • We need a process to explore ideas without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. It needs to reveal the best of multiple options and gets everyone’s input and buy-in.
  • Sketching: explore and find lots of ideas (exploratory sketching) or gain convergence (refinement sketching).
  • Exploratory sketching: lots of ideas, rough & varied, need to draw up 6 or so. Can use a word list to pick new ideas, or an inspiration library of design artifacts, or conceptual models like spectrum, 2x2, or grids.
  • Refinement sketching: fewer, better ideas with a higher level of fidelity. Can use shading to imply importance and call-outs to explain elements on the sketch.
  • Sketchboards: get a large sheet of paper so lots of ideas can be added. Create some structure between your refined sketches on the large sheet of paper. Add inputs like requirements, personas, design criteria, etc. to show the whole picture.
  • Sharing sketchboards: show ideas, walk people through the sketches, facilitate a discussion, draw on the sketchboard to make changes or clarifications.
  • Completed sketchboard allows you to determine what you should invest in wire-framing since it takes time.
  • Think carefully about the best time to use a sketchboard. Sometimes you need to sprint quickly through them. Sometimes you need to move more slowly.
  • Sketchboards allow you to: focus on having the right ideas at the right time; have a lot of ideas; make design an activity everyone can be involved in; provide visbility into the design process by working on large scale sketchboards; make design tangible by forcing people to stand up and interact with the sketchboard and each other.
  • More Info: Sketchboards: Discover Better + Faster UX Solutions