The Back of the Napkin
      Workshop




Solving Problems with Pictures

                  Dan Roam
    MIX08 :: UX03 :: ...
Visual thinking: what problems, what pictures, and who is
          „we‟?




                                            ...
Rather than draw this:




                                                               Let‟s draw this:




           ...
Rather than focus on this:




                                                               Let‟s focus on this:




   ...
Exercise 1: the Who is „We‟ self-assessment




                                                               5
2008 © Da...
a) I‟m in a brainstorming session in a conference room that
          has a big whiteboard. I want to:




               ...
b) Someone hands me a pen and asks me to sketch out a
          particular idea. I:




                                  ...
c) Someone hands me a complicated spreadsheet and
          asks me to look it over. I first:




          1. Glaze over ...
d) On my way home from a conference, I see a cute fellow
          attendee at the airport cafe, and he or she asks me wha...
f) I‟m an astronaut floating in space. The first thing I do is:




                                          1.       Tak...
Now comes the math, I‟m afraid…




                                            5-14                   15-20              ...
Napkin exercise, step 1


          Draw a
          circle and
          call it
          “me”…




                    ...
Step 1b


          Now draw
          another
          circle
          (more like
          a cloud)
          and give...
So, which problems shall we look at…




                                                               14
2008 © Dan Roam...
What‟s the business strategy challenge?




                                                               15
2008 © Dan R...
Put into words…


          The challenge:
           A new strategic vision
           A refined company
            mi...
How about a napkin map?




                                                               17
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK O...
Product development: Why are we collecting all these
          numbers?




                                              ...
19
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
20
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
21
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
22
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
23
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
24
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
What are the three things the CFO does want to look at?




                                                              ...
So, what might *that* look like…




                                                               26
2008 © Dan Roam   T...
Or, when executed in Expression Blend…




                                                               27
2008 © Dan Ro...
Step 3


          Draw in
          the last
          circle, only
          make this
          one more
          of a...
Step 3


          The
          universal
          visual
          thinking
          problem
          solving
       ...
3 parts or ourselves to improve




                                                               30
2008 © Dan Roam   TH...
Step 4


          Draw in
          the next
          set of
          blades,
          this time 4
          of them…
...
Let‟s think about „process‟ for a moment…




                                                               32
2008 © Dan...
The 4 steps of visual thinking:




                                                                  How can I manipulate...
Step 5


          Now draw
          in a
          corkscrew,
          and give it 5
          twists…




            ...
*whew*                             Time for a break on the islands…




                                                  ...
How about ten apples?




                                                               36
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF ...
Meet the SQVID… a.k.a „The 5 focusing questions‟




                                                               37
200...
Two ways to use the SQVID




                                                               38
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK...
SQV.. examples:




                                                                Qualitativ
                           ...
..ID examples…




                                                                              Delta
                   ...
Step 6


          Now draw
          in the last
          set of 6
          blades…




                               ...
The 6 ways we see:




                                                               42
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE...
<6><6>




                                                               43
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all ...
Framework 1: “Portraits” for WHO / WHAT problems




                                                               44
200...
Framework 2: “Charts” for HOW MUCH / HOW MANY
          problems




                                                     ...
Framework 3: “Maps” for WHERE problems




                                                               46
2008 © Dan Ro...
Framework 4: “Timelines” for WHEN problems




                                                               47
2008 © Da...
Framework 5: “Flowcharts” for HOW problems




                                                               48
2008 © Da...
Framework 6: “Multiple-variable Plots” for WHY problems




                                                              ...
Step 7


          Done: our
          very own
          visual thinking
          universal
          problem
          ...
Step 8




          Give it to a
          friend, and help
          them see the
          power of visual
          th...
Speaking of airplanes…




                                                               52
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF...
53
2008 © Dan Roam   THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
Dan Roam

                                                               djroam@gmail.com
                                ...
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The Back of the Napkin: Solving Design Problems (and Selling Your Solutions) with Pictures

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Let's face it: describing user experience is hard... unless we use pictures. This session demonstrates step-by-step how anyone, regardless of artistic talent or training, can use simple pictures to describe complex design and technical concepts, solve fuzzy problems, and sell others on breakthrough ideas.

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The Back of the Napkin: Solving Design Problems (and Selling Your Solutions) with Pictures

  1. 1. The Back of the Napkin Workshop Solving Problems with Pictures Dan Roam MIX08 :: UX03 :: March 5, 2008 :: The Venetian
  2. 2. Visual thinking: what problems, what pictures, and who is „we‟? 2 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  3. 3. Rather than draw this: Let‟s draw this: 3 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  4. 4. Rather than focus on this: Let‟s focus on this: 4 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  5. 5. Exercise 1: the Who is „We‟ self-assessment 5 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  6. 6. a) I‟m in a brainstorming session in a conference room that has a big whiteboard. I want to: 1. Go to the board, pick up a pen and start drawing circles and boxes. 2. Try to decipher whatever is already written on the board. 3. Go to the board and start writing categorized lists. Add a little clarification to what’s already up there – you know, to make 4. it clearer. 5. Forget the whiteboard – come on here, people, we’ve got work to do! 6. I hate brainstorming sessions. 6 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  7. 7. b) Someone hands me a pen and asks me to sketch out a particular idea. I: 1. Ask for more pens, preferably in at least three colors. 2. Just start sketching and see what emerges. Say, “I can’t draw, but…” and then make a horrible stick figure. 3. 4. Start by writing a few words, then putting boxes around them. 5. Put the pen on the table and start talking. Say, “No thanks, I can’t draw”, and leave it at that. 6. 7 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  8. 8. c) Someone hands me a complicated spreadsheet and asks me to look it over. I first: 1. Glaze over and hope it will go away. 2. Flip through the pages and see if something – I dunno, whatever – pops up. 3. Read across the top of the columns or down each row in order, to identify the categories. 4. Select a row and column at random and follow them to the data cell, then look for similar (or different) data results in other cells. 5. Look for the largest or smallest values I can find, then trace them back to identify them. 6. Notice that OPEX variance to budget is down for the second quarter in a row. 8 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  9. 9. d) On my way home from a conference, I see a cute fellow attendee at the airport cafe, and he or she asks me what I do. I: 1. Grab a napkin and ask the waiter if I can borrow a pen. 2. Pick up three packs of Sweet-n-Low, lay them on the bar, point to one and say, “Okay, this is me over here, and this is the customer over here…” 3. Pull out a page from my PowerPoint deck – a really good page – and start walking through it. 4. Start to recite my original job description: “There are three things that I do…”. 5. “What I do? Well, better buy another round, because we’re going to be talking a while.” 6. Say it’s too complicated to explain well, but ask him/her the same question. 9 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  10. 10. f) I‟m an astronaut floating in space. The first thing I do is: 1. Take a deep breath, relax, and take in the whole view. 2. Pull out my camera. Try to spot my house… or at least my continent. 3. 4. Start describing what I see. 5. Close my eyes. 6. Find a way to get back into my spacecraft. 10 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  11. 11. Now comes the math, I‟m afraid… 5-14 15-20 21-30 On a napkin, write your pen COLOR, and then… 11 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  12. 12. Napkin exercise, step 1 Draw a circle and call it “me”… 12 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  13. 13. Step 1b Now draw another circle (more like a cloud) and give it a name, too… 13 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  14. 14. So, which problems shall we look at… 14 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  15. 15. What‟s the business strategy challenge? 15 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  16. 16. Put into words… The challenge:  A new strategic vision  A refined company mission  A new operating philosophy  New retail fundamentals  New store standards  New customer practices  New training materials + 100 new staff every month… 16 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  17. 17. How about a napkin map? 17 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  18. 18. Product development: Why are we collecting all these numbers? 18 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  19. 19. 19 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  20. 20. 20 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  21. 21. 21 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  22. 22. 22 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  23. 23. 23 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  24. 24. 24 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  25. 25. What are the three things the CFO does want to look at? Financial Drivers Date Org Cut Unit 25 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  26. 26. So, what might *that* look like… 26 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  27. 27. Or, when executed in Expression Blend… 27 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  28. 28. Step 3 Draw in the last circle, only make this one more of a hotdog… then add in a+ symbol… 28 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  29. 29. Step 3 The universal visual thinking problem solving toolkit… Draw in the first set of 3 blades… 29 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  30. 30. 3 parts or ourselves to improve 30 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  31. 31. Step 4 Draw in the next set of blades, this time 4 of them… 31 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  32. 32. Let‟s think about „process‟ for a moment… 32 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  33. 33. The 4 steps of visual thinking: How can I manipulate This is what I saw, and What is out there? What do I see? these patterns? this is what I think it What am I looking at? Have I seen this before? means. Can I fill in the gaps? What are the limits? What patterns emerge? Is this what I Have I seen enough – expected… or not? Which way is up? What stands out? or do I need to go back What seems to be and look at more? When you look at this, do you see the same missing? things? 33 2008 © Dan Roam, all rights reserved
  34. 34. Step 5 Now draw in a corkscrew, and give it 5 twists… 34 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  35. 35. *whew* Time for a break on the islands… 35 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  36. 36. How about ten apples? 36 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  37. 37. Meet the SQVID… a.k.a „The 5 focusing questions‟ 37 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  38. 38. Two ways to use the SQVID 38 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  39. 39. SQV.. examples: Qualitativ Simple Vision e Elaborate Quantitative Execution 39 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  40. 40. ..ID examples… Delta (change) Individual Status- Quo Comparis on 40 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  41. 41. Step 6 Now draw in the last set of 6 blades… 41 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  42. 42. The 6 ways we see: 42 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  43. 43. <6><6> 43 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  44. 44. Framework 1: “Portraits” for WHO / WHAT problems 44 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  45. 45. Framework 2: “Charts” for HOW MUCH / HOW MANY problems 45 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  46. 46. Framework 3: “Maps” for WHERE problems 46 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  47. 47. Framework 4: “Timelines” for WHEN problems 47 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  48. 48. Framework 5: “Flowcharts” for HOW problems 48 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  49. 49. Framework 6: “Multiple-variable Plots” for WHY problems 49 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  50. 50. Step 7 Done: our very own visual thinking universal problem solving tool kit! 50 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  51. 51. Step 8 Give it to a friend, and help them see the power of visual thinking, too. 51 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  52. 52. Speaking of airplanes… 52 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  53. 53. 53 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
  54. 54. Dan Roam djroam@gmail.com Office: 415-695-0231 Mobile: 415-823-5794 39 Romain St. SF, CA 94114 www.digitalroam.typepad.com www.thebackofthenapkin.com 54 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
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