Why Sketching is Essential Part of Product Interface Design Process?
Sketch (from Greek σχέδιος – schedios) is a preliminary drawing fixing the idea and main outlines of the created object. O. G. Maksimov says that: “A sketch is an image made in the process of a creative search for possible architectural and planning solutions in the form of drawings and drafts”. Modern reality added to this definition also the capabilities of a computer-synthesized way of creating a sketch.
Today, customers respond with interest to hand-drawn graphics, sometimes even take part in this process and our team appreciates this very much. However, this applies only to the early stages of choosing the variants. An expressive sketch can captivate, liberate the customer’s thinking.
The voiced thought is just an idea that is in the air, however being represented in sketch, it materializes and begins to live its own life. Sketching phase is a good time for the customer to focus the product designer’s attention on the important functional details of the interface.
Further, the sketch will be materialized into the user interface, and there will be no artistic understatement and generalizations. Obviously, for the final approval, everything must be thought through down to the smallest detail, depicted in all possible states, conditions and user flows. Some design elements can be changed, added or taken away from the final version of the user interface, but the dialogue is much easier when hand-drawn sketches come to product designer’s aid.
At this stage, the main UX architect’s tools are a pencil, sometimes a pen and a sketchbook, which is always within good UX architect’s reach. It is filled within a few months: these are sketches that come to mind, notes that the designer makes during communication process with a client or team, and drawings or sketches for projects. Illustrating the discussion of the project is also a good practice.
In our practice, hand-drawn sketches usually exist at the stage of initial product interface architecture discussion and brainstorming. This is a very important stage of user interface design, but it is worth remembering that sketch is not a wireframe. The difference between a project that was sketched manually and a project that was designed on a computer is huge. A hand-drawn sketch is a direct continuation of product architect, his thoughts and feelings. Computer version will look much simpler. Everything will be improved in it and reduced to certain standards. Therefore, if the project can not be «ignited» initially by means of putting a strong emotional charge into the first sketches, potentially, it may completely dry out in virtual space.
Nowadays, sketches are one of the important parts of a successful product interface design. Designer often refers to this method of thoughts materialization in the early stages of working on a new project. These sketches should be clear first of all for him and for the team members involved in the project at this stage. Then these sketches are turned into computer perspectives (or wireframes) that will soon be turned into product clickable prototype. Hand-drawn sketches help to demonstrate a way of thinking, individual approach to every single part of the product interface.
The aesthetics and product appearance are undoubtedly important, however, beauty just for the sake of beauty and with the further intention of putting, somehow, a function into it, has nothing to do with the ultimately working product. That’s why product designer often refers to this method of thoughts materialization in the early stages of working on a new project.