Sketching User Experience: The Workbook

Saul Greenberg et al

Published by

Morgan Kaufmann

ISBN

9780123819598

RRP

£12.99

Reviewed by

Angela Wheatcroft MBCS

Score

10 out of 10

Don’t be put off by the title. This is a book for non-artists, albeit those developing user interfaces who recognise how much visual communication helps clients and colleagues understand design concepts. If, as a non-artist, you already produce ‘visuals’ you probably use software with a library of images and preformed shapes.

While digital has many powers, it loses spontaneity and versatility, which can be essential in enabling a responsive and flexible design process. So, as the authors are all experts in the design process for devices involving human interaction, they encourage the reader to use visual methods appropriate to the stage of the process.

This book is really about enabling your own creativity, so ‘how to sketch’ only takes up a single chapter. Scribble sketching is used to capture ideas that arrive out of context at any time, any place. Building on this, simple sketching basics show how stickmen drawings and screen page mock-ups can be used to illustrate activities.

Digital drawing has its own chapter, which includes using Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote to create animated sequences. Throughout the reader is encouraged to combine both digital and hand-drawn methods wherever appropriate.

The more complex parts of the development process are also covered. So as well as the narrative storyboard, there are ideas for diagrams to record changing states and transitions, sequential storyboarding and illustrating interaction decisions over time. The final chapter is about how to involve users and capture their reactions and feedback to designs before making amendments.

This is a very positive book for the non-artist. It is profusely and relevantly illustrated and has a 50:50 balance between print and illustrations, which makes it very easy to dip into for ideas. The layout of the 250 pages is a demonstration of how uncluttered layout combined with simple design produces a highly effective teaching tool. To reinforce the point, there is also a detailed index.

Further information: Morgan Kaufmann

June 2012