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Austin Murphy
Austin Murphy

Introduction To Design Sketching



UX sketching is a crucial, yet often overlooked, aspect of user experience design. Sketching is a very efficient way of communicating design while allowing designers to try out a multitude of ideas and iterate them before settling on one.




Introduction to Design Sketching


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Many options must be considered in design, which results in the choice and the execution of the best one. Designers consider their options, and then proceed to work out the details, thus making UX design a two-step process:


This is a rarely used approach, but sometimes it can be helpful. Various visual solutions are considered at an early stage of the project, but it may take a long time to create digital sketches for all of them. That is why I draw design sketches on paper first, to consider different options and choose a visual design direction.


Annotations. Annotations are names and notes placed close to an element, to explain its content or other attributes. They add details that clarify other elements and are usually difficult to draw. For example, it could be the name of the block, some interaction details, an explanation of a picture, some ideas for future design variations, and so on. You can check out one of my examples to see what an annotation sketch looks like.


Notes. Just like annotations, notes are used to explain concepts. However, notes differ from annotations in their placement. They are not attached to an element or located near the described element, similar to this example. Notes can be placed at the top or bottom of the page. They can even describe elements that are not included in the design, questions that you may have, general explanations, unsketched ideas, and so on.


Gestures. Gestures are relevant in the case of touch device design. Drawing a hand gesture may require practice. There are several variants of gestures used to indicate different types of actions, so it is better to decide in advance how you designate a particular action (if it is not obvious, of course) and to practice drawing it.


Practice. For a start, you can try to draw a few apps. Open a web or mobile app and try to copy the screen, describing the elements in the notes. Whenever you have some free time, practice drawing basic building blocks of your designs. In general, practice makes perfect. In a while, it will become part of your designer self.


Prototypes. Make a clickable prototype to evaluate your design. Try to get feedback about some elements. This works particularly well when you are using templates - your sketches are of the same size. Obviously, it will be much easier to draw same size sketches if you are using a template. I will try to make it even easier by providing you with a few templates you can download and use: Mobile, Browser multi-window, Browser scroll, Personas.


Hybrid sketching. To put some life and realism into your sketches you can combine them with photos. That means that you have to take a photo and then draw some story with interface elements on it. This can also help you to notice some interaction issues and details.


Define what you need to draw. Decide exactly what you want to draw (e.g., the general history or a fragment of your design). Do you want to generate different options or to think through the details of one journey? Decide whether you are going to show your sketches to someone else or not.


Studio course. Introduction to the design process, including research, ideation, prototyping, critique, and iteration. Projects also introduce the vocabulary, principles, strategies, techniques, and conventions of drawing and rendering used by design professionals.


Studio course. Projects introduce rendering and prototyping techniques used for solving problems in three-dimensional media such as product design, packaging design, environmental graphics, and/or architectural/landscape design.


Studio course. Students define their own research problem and propose appropriate design solutions, guided by feedback from desk critiques with the instructor, group critiques, and reviews with a visiting critic.


Sketch has completely changed my workflow. As a design application that I spend 8 hours a day on, there is no other tool that has influenced my work as much. Its growth is out of this world; new resources and plugins are coming out almost on a daily basis.


ARCH 100 Introduction to Architecture Study (8) A&HIntroduces design studio instruction to students contemplating architecture as a field of study or career. Studio projects, informed by workshops, lectures, readings, field trips, and in-studio critiques introduce the history, theory, and practice of architecture. Includes instruction in basic design drawing and model making. Offered: S.View course details in MyPlan: ARCH 100


ARCH 201 Architectural Design and Representation II (5) A&HIntroduces the fundamentals of architectural design. Consists of a series of investigative projects that introduce principles of architectural design as well as concepts and skills in architectural and digital representation. Prerequisite: ARCH 200. Offered: W.View course details in MyPlan: ARCH 201


ARCH 303 Introduction to Design Studio I (6)Studio problems to develop initial awareness, knowledge, and basic skills needed in synthesis of building form and integrative aspects of architectural design with emphasis on the dwelling place. Limited to students entering the graduate program in architecture with baccalaureate degrees in other fields. Offered: A.View course details in MyPlan: ARCH 303


ARCH 304 Introduction to Design Studio II (6)Studio problems to develop initial awareness, knowledge, and basic skills needed in synthesis of building form and integrative aspects of architectural design with emphasis on the dwelling place. Limited to students entering the graduate program in architecture with baccalaureate degrees in other fields. Prerequisite: ARCH 303. Offered: W.View course details in MyPlan: ARCH 304


ARCH 305 Introduction to Design Studio III (6)Studio problems to develop initial awareness, knowledge, and basic skills needed in synthesis of building form and integrative aspects of architectural design with emphasis on the dwelling place. Limited to students entering the graduate program in architecture with baccalaureate degrees in other fields. Prerequisite: ARCH 304. Offered: Sp.View course details in MyPlan: ARCH 305


ARCH 310 Architectural Design Drawing I (3)Lectures, demonstrations, and exercises to develop skill in graphic visualization and representation as used in architecture. Concepts, conventions, and techniques of both freehand and technical drawing are used as a vital means to imagine, develop, and represent design ideas. Course material coordinated with ARCH 303 studio to integrate drawing in all phases of the design process. Offered: A.View course details in MyPlan: ARCH 310 041b061a72


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