By Felipe Erias Morandeira.
The goal of user-centred design is to understand people and technology to create systems that are usable, useful and attractive. It is more of a general approach than a fixed methodology, although there exist several semi-formal processes. Design usually starts with the gathering of knowledge about users and their goals, contexts of use, existing tools, etc. Those insights are synthesized into design proposals that need to be iteratively evaluated and refined.
This synthesis consists of two overlapping and complementary processes. The first one, prevalent at the beginning, generates and explores ideas. The second one strives to make decisions and narrow down the design, from general concepts to fine details. Sketches are used at the beginning, when the goal is to quickly explore different possibilities; prototypes belong in the later stages, when the goal is to confirm earlier decisions and narrow down the design.
Hand-drawn sketching has been a tool of craftsmen and artists for centuries. In an analogue way, we can sketch interactions and experiences when creating software solutions. These quick and inexpensive sketches are not only an invaluable tool for generating and exploring new ideas: they are also a great way to communicate initial design decisions and involve more people from the community in the design process.
This talk will start by positioning the role of sketching in a general design process. It will then present a number of techniques than may be used to sketch interactive solutions on GNOME, ranging from simple pen and paper to Free SW tools and frameworks. Several practical examples will be discussed, including some from my own work on GNOME applications like the Epiphany browser.
More information at http://blogs.igalia.com/femorandeira/2012/07/31/sketching-interactions-talk-at-guadec-2012/