The Power of Sketching Interaction Designs

Some of my best designs (not speaking subjectively, but based on quantitative interaction metrics) come from spending a fair amount of my time literally drawing out prototypes and use-cases. Yes, with a pencil and paper. It’s easy to think through the functionality of a site in your head and assume you have it all worked out, but it’s never wasted effort to take things one step further. Or two, or three.

By putting pencil to paper, an Interaction Designer will spend more time putting himself in the user mind-set and create a bigger window into understanding the properties of their user’s capabilities. In a sense, it allows you to become an architect that brainstorms then refines countless drafts of his building to ensure all the beams and framing will hold up to the physical traffic, customizations, and decorations that future tenants will bring.

“The application of this understanding to the design, development and deployment of systems and services” – a.k.a. Human Factor – is all the rage for resume buffers. But as a manager looking to hire a real interaction specialist it’s almost too easy to spot the less talented that claim to be UI/UX experts showing such flawed designs in their portfolio. All of which could have been made far more intuitive and useful had they only spent the time with even an online prototyping/mock-up tool.
In some cases, sketching out website pages and functionality as I envision it has lent itself to providing inspiration for design elements. Take a look at these and you’ll see what I mean. And grab yourself some graph paper, a ruler and a nice no. 2 pencil already.