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CanUX Day 2, Part 1: Sketchboards

Last year, when Brandon essayed about Sketchboards on the Adaptive Path blog, Derek and I became instant fans.  Since then we’ve played around with variations of the method at T+L—sort of hedging it with our existing process—so I was really looking forward to this session.

First we talked about the sketch part in 2 stages:

  1. Exploratory sketches: quickly saturate the design space by generating a number of rough options. Use word-play, inspiration libraries (hurry-up, imgspark!), conceptual models to drive this process.
  2. Refinement sketches: take the most promising ideas and add a more detail and weighting through different types of marks, labeling, etc.

Then we talked about the board part:

  1. Get a large sheet of paper or whatever you’re going to use to lay things out on and give it some structure: for example, use stages in a user flow.
  2. Add referential inputs like personas, scenarios, requirements, design criteria, inspiration, etc.
  3. Lay-out sketches, review, annotate, iterate and decide what you’re going to prioritize in wireframes.

A few personal reactions:

  • Although things can go at a fairly fast pace, you’re definitely trading scope for time.  Brandon proposed a 5 day sprint that would maybe output 3 or 4 wireframe-able templates.
  • I was impressed with how natural and intuitive the whole process felt. Sketching happens on an informal basis anyway—this just put’s some structure around it and invites dialog.
  • The main thing I love about Sketchboards is that they encourage and facilitate conceptual externalization. They force you to get your ideas out and onto the page, making them tangible, accessible to all and amenable to critique (before you fall in love with them!).
David Gillis More posts by David Gillis