Wireframing with pencil and paper

28 May 2009 - 10:38pm
5 years ago
11 replies
1213 reads
Johnny Wooder
2009

I've noticed a general trend, especially in smaller companies, in
which ux strategy is documented/created using pencil and paper.
However, I find that these companies do not submit any formal ux
strategy to their clients. I suppose its a way to work through the
design without having the mess of formal documentation. How does
everyone feel about graphic designers coming up with ux strategy
using this method?

Comments

29 May 2009 - 2:08am
rohitkulthia
2009

I do the same..wireframe by rough sketch. Its fast and ideas come up
easily. Though after doing that we wave to put up an ACS or workflow
in ppt document.

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29 May 2009 - 2:45am
jasonrobb
2009

I'm a graphic designer at the core, and this is exactly how I develop
experience strategies/designs. I work at a small startup company which
means I'm only an arms reach away from the only 3 people whose
opinions matter. I think that's a fortunate thing, that others
aren't so lucky to have. Reason I say that, is because if I had to
communicate via email or phone, it might not work as well. I could be
wrong, it's just that I haven't tried it.

Some of my sketches are in my portfolio, if you're in to that sort
of thing: http://jasonrobb.com/i/jasonrobb-resume-portfolio.pdf

The sketches, indeed, aren't submitted to any "clients" but the
stakeholders in our startup. It works for us.

Cheers,

Jason R.
http://jasonrobb.com
http://uxboston.com - ux book club
http://uiscraps.tumblr.com - good, bad, and noteworthy interface
designs

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29 May 2009 - 6:33am
dirtandrust
2008

I'm a graphic designer turned web designer turned IxDer and I can say
the pencil paper thing definitely is core to graphic design.
Basically, "Get away from the computer" if you really want to be
creative.

As Bill Buxton says in "Sketching User Experiences": "Designers
can sketch, non designers can't". That's paraphrasing but
basically sketching is the first step to the design and interaction
design process.

However, we don't show anything less than Balsamiq's to developers,
sales or other departments in the company. Makes our ideas look more
considered and professional.

As for formal documentation, that's the first step to go whether a
company does pencil/paper or not (most companies see documentation as
a waste of time, grrr!) so I don't see the two things as linked
unless you consider a great company will do both.

The company I work at has its own clients creating user manuals that
we should have created. Not a good look.

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29 May 2009 - 9:33am
Josephine M. Giaimo
2009

Wireframing with pencil and paper is a useful tradition in the
usability field. When doing low-fidelity testing, it's much less
intimidating, and more inviting, to hand a prospective user a pencil
and ask "What would you change?" than displaying a wireframe
created using software.

My past experience with large clients is that they supported the use
of low-fidelity wireframes during the design process. At the time, a
"portfolio" wasn't even a gleam in someone's eye.

Now, prospective clients persist in viewing wireframes in a
portfolio, out of the context in which they were developed, and we
professionals let them. Why?

Everyone wants "good design". But, few designers can do the
required research, and fewer clients want to invest the resources.
We can hope that art will make up for science--but sometimes, it
doesn't.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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29 May 2009 - 9:57am
Erin Lynn Young
2009

Many of the art directors I work with have stacks of my sketches on
their desk.

Recently, in a kick-off meeting for a quick and simple project, I
sketched up my take on the requirements and handed the sketch to the
AD (kind of joking around),

Days later, I was at her desk reviewing her work, and my heart was
warmed when I saw that she had that quick sketch right in front of
her.

Do what works in your circumstances. Hand-drawn sketches may or may
not be appropriate for clients, but tools like Balsamiq have proven
out the theory that a sketchy look sometimes helps clients who are
new to UX planning understand that what they're viewing is not
actual design.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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29 May 2009 - 12:08pm
Stew Dean
2007

I tend to use pencil and paper or a white board to explore first ideas
before moving over to wireframes. Some graphic designers also understand
user experience and vica versa but the point of wireframes and all the
accompanying diagrams is not to think from implimentation back to concept
(be it creating an interface in photoshop or coding up an applicaiton
first).

Sketches can help with concepting as you can go through multiple interations
and ideas quickly. If you're going to make them presentable you might as
well get someone who is quick at doing wireframes. I've done 'just in time'
wireframes on paper and they can be hit or miss sometimes.

Stewart

2009/5/28 Johnny Wooder <johnnywooder at gmail.com>

> I've noticed a general trend, especially in smaller companies, in
> which ux strategy is documented/created using pencil and paper.
> However, I find that these companies do not submit any formal ux
> strategy to their clients. I suppose its a way to work through the
> design without having the mess of formal documentation. How does
> everyone feel about graphic designers coming up with ux strategy
> using this method?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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--
Stewart Dean

29 May 2009 - 12:33pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> I've noticed a general trend, especially in smaller companies, in
> which ux strategy is documented/created using pencil and paper.

Am I the only person who objects to the idea that UX strategy is somehow
equivalent to sketching wireframes?

-r-

29 May 2009 - 2:32pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On May 29, 2009, at 1:33 PM, Robert Hoekman Jr wrote:

>>
>> I've noticed a general trend, especially in smaller companies, in
>> which ux strategy is documented/created using pencil and paper.
>
>
> Am I the only person who objects to the idea that UX strategy is
> somehow
> equivalent to sketching wireframes?

No. "UX Strategy" seems to be another term that everyone uses
differently.

I was taken by surprise when Scott Babb tweeted this a few days ago:

> Jared Spool eloquently describes an Experience Vision. PixelMEDIA
> calls it Experience Strategy http://www.uie.com/articles/experience_vision/

In my opinion, it's not a strategy. It's a vision. They are different.
I imagine a given UX Strategy could encompass many such visions. A
vision is just a snapshot of an imaginary point in the future.

So, I'd like to see us start to use UX Strategy in a consistent
manner, so we all know what we're talking about.

Jared

29 May 2009 - 2:35pm
Will Hacker
2009

I have performed low fidelity testing on paper using sketches, Visio
printouts, and Photoshop mockups. They all have their value and it
depends on the purpose and audience. I like sketching for both the
speed and that it focuses you on what a user might be trying to
accomplish as opposed to what widgets are available in a set of
wireframe stencils. As someone above said it also communicates to
clients it isn't a finished design.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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29 May 2009 - 3:39pm
dustbin
2008

Re: strategy vs vision

1. Obviously agree that wireframes and ux strategy are not analogous.
2. Jared, can you iterate a bit more on strategy vs vision? I've always mandated that the vision - a unified vision- is what is trying to be acheived. The strategy is the actions put in place to create or move towards that vision.

Vision = goals, results & benchmarks
Strategy = managable actions to acheive vision

I'm reading your view as something different...

~ d

29 May 2009 - 10:23pm
Graham A. Brown
2009

As a graphic designer I am very surprised with this naiveté of the question and some of the statements here. When I was taught graphic design, it was all from the users experience. And we were taught to do our research %u2014know the end user. Maybe because I started my career before computers that I am still more comfortable doing thumbnails after I have done the original research or linked up with the sme's and users. The advantage I find is that I am more open to change when still on paper. I have found that many creative types are more open when they start on paper or ideally on a electronic whiteboard for group brainstorming. An architecture friend of mine also has a preference to start with pencil and paper to generate ideas. A graphic designer must be involved in all the issues of the design from how it looks and operates. Graphic designers are not decorators. Designing for print or electronic media there is inherent in the design the user experience and we can not forget that.

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