I cannot emphasize this enough: sketch out your ideas before jumping on to a computer and starting your design. Sketching is good for the body and it’s good for the mind. Not to mention, it’s kinda fun to live like a kid again and practice those rudimentary drawing skills. But you certainly don’t have to be a fantastic illustrator to create a good idea. If you think you can’t draw, don’t let that hold you back. I can’t draw either, as you can clearly see from my photograph at the top of this article.
To be honest, I don’t sketch enough. I have been guilty of jumping straight on to the computer, trying to come up with the best design idea as quickly as possible. But I do see great value in sketching out a few possibilities before exploring ideas on the computer.
Some of the advantages of sketching out your design solutions are:
- Brain dump. Get the ideas out on paper.
- Explore several idea possibilities. And build the ideas off each other. Variety and iteration are great skills in UX.
- Force yourself to not settle for the first things that comes to mind.
- Writing it out helps so that you are not forgetting a key component.
- It gives you a prop to facilitate a discussion.
- Seeing it visually on paper really is drastically different than what is in your head.
- It helps you to communicate to another person by having the visual to discuss. Having the idea just in your brain could be misinterpreted.
- You can refer to dismissed ideas later. You might find new inspiration or that one of your alternative ideas might actually be a better one to develop.
- You can include as much or as little detail as you choose.
- You can do it without electricity. If your laptop has died or the power is out, you can still be working. Your boss will love that!
- Sketching makes it easy to dismiss an idea without be too emotionally or technically invested.
- It helps you focus your idea, from the abstract thought in your head, to the real world scenario on the screen.
So as you can see, sketching has many advantages. I encourage your to sketch your next design solution first, without ever turning on your computer. You would be amaze how many ideas you can create if you devote a bit of time and effort. One of those second or third ideas just might become the winner. Give it a try.