Sketches don't have to be pretty, you know (here's the proof)

I read Bill Buxton's Sketching User Experiences earlier this year. I loved the book and the value Bill puts on sketching as the foundation of user experience design.

Scared to sketch?
I've always been a sketcher. I doodle and draw a lot so I'm pretty comfortable doing it. But I know others aren't. Some people I know feel really intimidated by sketching. They prefer to go straight to Axure or Visio to start their designs. When I ask them why, their response is always something along the lines of "I'm not a good drawer". Which is so disappointing. Using sketches to design user interfaces (UIs) is never about how good a drawer you are! It's about getting ideas down. Seeing how they work on paper. Scubbing things out and trying again. Cutting things up and sticking them back together in different ways.

Take a look at my sketching
To prove just how unimportant *drawing* skills are when it comes to sketching early ideas for a UI, here's a sketch of mine. I did this sketch on the whiteboard in a meeting with 3 clients. They ended up taking the marker from me and adding their own bits to the sketch. It was such a great, energetic exchange.

See. It's not a pretty sketch by any stretch. But it worked. The people I was working with were able to see what I was thinking. And then we all collaborated and made improvements together.

Relax! It's just a sketch
Sketching is so powerful. If you aren't a great drawer, it doesn't matter. Just sketch. Don't worry about how "good" it is. Sketching will always help you clarify your thoughts and ideas to others...and yourself!

About Suze Ingram

I'm a User Experience consultant from Sydney, Australia. I'm passionate about designing better user experiences that engage customers, empower employees and bring real benefits for businesses. If you'd like to get in touch, drop me a line at

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Anonymous said...

Nice post. There is a tool named "ForeUI", which allow switching the style of wireframe, thus a design can be pretty or ugly as needed.

Halman Freud said...

I do the same. I am a designer and a programmer and if you see my papers... well. My last achievement was a whats app download site but I have worked months on it.