How to Draw 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.

Workshop at Opodz, September 18, 2013

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How to Draw Quick, Useful UI Sketches

  1. Quick, Useful UI Sketches September 18, 2013
  2. Opodz offers desk space and bandwidth in a well-designed collaborative work environment serving Downtown LoS Angeles in the Little Tokyo/Arts District.
  3. Lane Halley @thinknow
  4. • Why sketch? • Types of sketches • Sketching materials • Grids, containers and functional groupings • Your personal UI shorthand Tonight you will learn
  5. What’s a sketch? “A sketch is a rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not usually intended as a finished work.” — Wikipedia
  6. • Record what you see • Explore ideas quickly • Demonstrate ideas to others Why sketch?
  7. Sketches are “sketchy”
  8. Sketching is a core design skill.
  9. Many kinds of sketches • Visual recording • Sketchnotes • Storyboards • Concept sketches • UI sketches
  10. Visual Recording
  11. Sketchnote Sketch by C Todd Lombardo @iamctodd
  12. Storyboard
  13. Concept sketches
  14. UI sketch Sketch by Ray DeLaPena @rayraydel
  15. UI sketching is a core skill for product teams.
  16. “When a designer and PM are out of sync, it’s because one of them has gotten ahead of the other in some way. ...The way to fix this is deceptively simple: product people should sketch together. “ — Joshua Porter (@bokardo)
  17. Sketching helps everyone get on the same page.
  18. UI sketches help teams • Explore options quickly • Externalize thinking • Share understanding • Feel ownership
  19. Everyone can draw. Be fearless!
  20. Drawing tools
  21. Surfaces • Printer paper • Grid paper • Whiteboard • Notebook(s)
  22. The right notebook?
  23. Let’s cover the basics... • The pencil is powerful! • Primitives • Container and grid • Functional groupings • Your personal visual shorthand
  24. You can draw almost anything using basic shape primitives (circle, square, line, squiggle)
  25. The pencil has great dynamic range. Your lines can be faint or strong. Thick or thin.
  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 lines Get your pencils ready!
  28. Reverse wireframing • Quickly sketch an existing interface • See and understand UIs better • Develop sketching skills in isolation from solving design problems
  29. Visual shorthand Sketch by Chris Risdon @chrisrisdon
  30. Semantic sketching • Headings • Body copy • Images • Form elements • Controls
  31. 12 column grid
  32. functional groupings
  33. functional groupings (responsive)
  34. 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
  35. Ready? Here’s exercise #1
  36. Tip: Plan your sketch • Aspect ratio • Grid or columns • Functional groupings
  37. Basic vocabulary • How will you quickly draw • Headings (big, medium, small) • Body copy • Images • Buttons and links
  38. Use your new vocabulary to sketch exercise #2
  39. Now you’re warmed up Do three in a row!
  40. Extended vocabulary How will you quickly draw • Text input & label • Combo box • Checkboxes & radio buttons • Scrollbar
  41. Let’s practice form elements. Here are three more screens.
  42. Title Text Extra Line
  43. The next one’s tricky, but you’re ready for it!
  44. Here’s the last one. Focus on the structure.
  45. Congratulations! Keep sketching and you’ll continue to improve.
  46. Further vocabulary • Accordion • Carousel • Media player • And ...?
  47. Here are some of the ways I use sketching.
  48. Talking sketch
  49. Show and discuss alternatives
  50. Designer / developer pairing
  51. Wireframe walkthrough
  52. Making your mark • Notebooks • Drawing kit • Tablet software
  53. A few books that have inspired me.
  54. Show off your new skillz!! #uisketch