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User Interface Sketches

July 11, 2011

User interface sketches by Jamie Kapitain

When I was designing software at Brainpark, early in the development process, we held public meetings. We discussed the problem that our software was aim to solve and then listened to ‘real’ people – that is, people who are not involved in computer software development. There was an owner of a summer camp, a university professor, a restaurateur and many other potential users all with their own perspective on the problem.

We then presented conceptual sketches of our product for feedback. It was important that we shared sketches rather than refined, digital mock-ups. In his book Sketching User Experiences, Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, defines sketches as inexpensive, disposable, tentative and noncommittal. It is these qualities that leave a user at ease to provide honest feedback. When people look at a Photoshop mock-up that appears built, some tend to hold back. Sketching in software development is not a new idea but a reminder never hurts – the more sketching, the better.

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