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Talk dirty to me — during prototyping stage

Stop judging yourself on sketching, nobody’s asking for another Last Supper from you.


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Harshit Daga

3 years ago | 2 min read

Abstract vector created by starline — www.freepik.com

While talking to my colleague lately, he said “I do not like sketching my prototypes in the early stage because that takes a lot of time.

I asked, “Can you show me some of the paper prototypes that you have done before.

Sure!

Then he pulled out a notebook in which he has put the cutouts of the prototypes. They were the piece of art, another Monalisa by Vinci, another Untitled sculpture by Donald Judd and another Weeping Woman by Picasso. An extremely beautiful rendition of the UI in those 17–18 paper cutouts.

I asked, “Do you want to frame it?

He understood the sarcasm and laughed.

That was a Low fidelity sketch prototype which by definition means

“Simple and low-tech concepts. All you need to get started is a pen and paper. The goal is to turn your ideas into testable artefacts that you can then use to collect and analyze feedback in the early stages.”

Let’s talk about the “Why?”

  • When architect thinks of a design, they conceptualize it on a piece of paper with their hands working at the speed of their mind. Same goes for the artists too. As well as for any other profession. (No I am not supporting the scribbling done by doctors which only they understand.)
  • When you are developing and shaping an idea to a tangible or intangible product, what you need is to dump maximum ideas on that piece of paper. Nobody’s looking for your sketching skills at this point of time, they want to know about the functionality and alternatives for the same idea.
  • Sketch prototypes can drastically reduce the time one spends on iterations on a software (and yes I am considering the variants, components, and other advanced level stuff in prototyping software). It leads you to jump on different ideas iteratively. This is a decision making space for the framework of your application, not the case study you want to put on your website.
  • Many designers (not only UX designers), talk about the process more than the end result. Then why not spend some quality time exploring all the iterations in the process? Let’s make your process more legitimate?
  • Sketches don’t need anything except a pen/pencil, a piece of paper and an open mind ready for some exploratory trip. You can do this even while travelling on a bus (not recommended).
  • It’s not the teddy that you want to take a nap with, i.e., it’s not dear to you as you haven’t spent quite a long time on it. Let me explain — You put half an hour or maybe say 15 mins on a task and you love your creation. Also, you are biased now. Rather than that, take a stopwatch, and set the duration of 2 mins for each idea. All ideas are now of equal importance and you’ll now assess it in a more pragmatic manner rather than on personal bias.

While a lot of designers already use this method for exploring during the prototyping and ideation phase of the project, there are still designers who think this is not for them as they do not know how to sketch — believe me,

that is the last thing one wants to see at this stage. Just take a deep breath, and talk dirty to me — during the prototyping stage.

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