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Quick, Useful UI Sketches
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Quick, Useful UI Sketches


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In this workshop, I'll lead you through a series of exercises which help you learn to draw good-looking, quick, useful, user interface (UI) sketches, followed by examples of how I use sketching in my projects.

As I've embraced Agile and Lean Startup methods, I've learned to adapt my UX practice so it is more QUICK, VISUAL, COLLABORATIVE and CONTINUOUS. Learning how to quickly sketch screen layouts and user interface (UI) elements helps me think through design problems, communicate ideas to other people, collaborate, and reduce the need for pixel-perfect deliverables.

First presented at SoCal UX Camp, June 1, 2013
Revised June 2, 2013 - modified deck for better self-directed learning

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

  • @sblakeborough Thanks for your comments, I'd love to hear back about how your workshops go. Leave another comment here tweet @thinknow, please!
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  • Lane, I can not thank you enough. I've proposed running a short series of training sessions at work. The intention is to raise the bar (and confidence in some) of our whole team's ability to communicate visually with one another and clients in this increasingly Lean UX age. I'm a passionate believer in the power of sketching and it will be a theme I shall return to. Your presentation will save me a lot of time. Thank you again.
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  • @figuercaro thanks for your comment. I appreciate your feedback!
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  • Thanks Lane for sharing, I really liked how you structure the presentation, very useful! :)
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  • Exactly what I needed and so timely. Thanks, Lane!
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  • 1. Quick, UsefulUI Sketches
  • 2. Lane
  • 3. What’s a sketch?“A sketch is a rapidly executed freehanddrawing that is not usually intended asa finished work.”— Wikipedia
  • 4. • Record what you see• Explore ideas quickly• Demonstrate ideas to othersWhy sketch?
  • 5. Sketches are “sketchy”
  • 6. Sketching is acore design skill.
  • 7. Many kinds of sketches• Visual recording• Sketchnotes• Storyboards• Concept sketches• UI sketches
  • 8. Recording
  • 9. SketchnoteSketch by C Todd Lombardo @iamctodd
  • 10.
  • 11. sketches
  • 12. UI sketchSketch by Ray DeLaPena @rayraydel
  • 13. UI sketching is acore skill forproduct teams.
  • 14. “When a designer and PM are out ofsync, it’s because one of them hasgotten ahead of the other in someway. ...The way to fix this isdeceptively simple: product peopleshould sketch together. “— Joshua Porter (@bokardo)
  • 15. Sketching helpseveryone get onthe same page.
  • 16. UI sketches help teams• Explore options quickly• Externalize thinking• Share understanding• Feel ownership
  • 17. Everyone can draw.Be fearless!
  • 18. Your supplies• Pencil (eraser & sharpener)• Paper (plain or grid)• Timer (for the exercises)
  • 19. Basic concepts• The pencil is powerful!• Primitives• Container and grid• Functional groupings• Your personal visual shorthand
  • 20. The pencil has great dynamicrange. Your lines can be faintor strong. Thick or thin.
  • 21. You can draw almostanything using basic shapeprimitives (circle, square,line, squiggle)
  • 22. 12 column grid
  • 23. functional groupings
  • 24. Visual shorthandSketch by Chris Risdon @chrisrisdon
  • 25. Reverse wireframing• Quickly sketch an existing interface• See and understand UIs better• Develop sketching skills in isolationfrom solving design problems
  • 26. Warm-up time.Let’s draw some shapes.
  • 27. • Draw a page of squares• Draw a page of circles• Draw a page of short parallel linesGet your pencils ready!
  • 28. Practice:Reverse wireframe sketches30-seconds each.
  • 29. Tip: Work from the outside in• Draw the outside box first• Create guides or a grid• Place large elements first• Add details and emphasis last
  • 30. Ready?Here’s exercise #1
  • 31. Tip: Plan your sketch• Aspect ratio• Grid or columns• Functional groupings
  • 32. Basic vocabularyHow will you quickly draw• Headings (big, medium, small)• Body copy• Images• Buttons and links
  • 33. Use your new vocabularyto sketch exercise #2
  • 34. Now you’re warmed upDo three in a row!
  • 35. Extended vocabularyHow will you quickly draw• Text input & label• Combo box• Checkboxes & radio buttons• Scrollbar
  • 36. Let’s practice formelements. Here are threemore screens.
  • 37. Title TextExtra Line
  • 38. The next one’s tricky, butyou’re ready for it!
  • 39. Here’s the last one.Focus on the structure.
  • 40. Congratulations!Keep sketching and you’llcontinue to improve.
  • 41. Further vocabulary• Accordion• Carousel• Media player• And ...?
  • 42. Here are some of theways I use sketching.
  • 43. Talking sketch
  • 44. Show and discuss alternatives
  • 45. Designer / developer pairing
  • 46. Wireframe walkthrough
  • 47. How do you use UI sketches?Share your photos with us!#uisketch
  • 48. A few books that haveinspired me.
  • 49. Thank you!Carbon FiveLean UX & AgileDevelopment for Weband mobile