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Young children communicate well visually. When they want to articulate something for which they simply don’t have words, they point to objects in their environment. When they want more food and their plate is empty, they point to their empty plate or slam their plate down onto the table to signal hunger. They are prompting their parents to visualize what they are asking for. Their parents see the empty plate and know they’ve just finished eating their food. Their child must be asking for more food.
Visuals are effective ways in which to communicate. Sometimes sketching is the fastest way to convey a need or ask a question. According to education professor John Hattie and cognitive psychologist Gregory Yates, people are not all just better visual learners or auditory learners. Lab studies show that people learn best when the stimuli they receive are from different types of media. Our brains are wired to integrate information in different modalities. When we want people to understand something that we are explaining to them, we can reinforce our meaning not just through words, but also through pictures and sounds. Read More
These days, it’s easy to design mobile user experiences using powerful tools such as Axure RP, Blueprint, or Protot.io. But when creating early mobile designs, we should still start with the same simple sketching techniques that we’ve traditionally used for desktop designs. Now, there are apps that let us get our sketches on real mobile devices for demos and usability testing. In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite tools for sketching mobile user experiences.
When I first started designing user experiences for mobile devices, there were almost no tools whose specific purpose was sketching hand-held user interfaces. Designers were creating six-ups and Photoshop and Illustrator templates for their own use, but since these belonged to individual designers or design agencies, few became resources for the larger UX community. Fortunately, the landscape has changed, and many tools and resources are now available for designers to sketch mobile user interfaces—working within the constraints of device screen sizes—then turn their sketches into interactive prototypes. Read More