Promoting sketching

A sketch of a hand in the thumbs up positionSketching is a really, really important part of the UCD process, in my opinion. It allows us to communicate, and get feedback on, ideas and approaches quickly and with little cost.

However, not everyone is initially comfortable doing it. People may feel that they can’t really draw, and are uncomfortable sharing rough sketches, as they feel that it isn’t good enough. You can tell people all you like that fidelity is not important, that it’s about communicating an idea – but that doesn’t always work.

I believe that, in order to move a team to a more sketch led culture, this is the first hurdle that must be overcome. An idea that I got from my colleague and friend Lee McIvor (@leemcivor) is to play a form of Pictionary. And this is exactly what we do at our team meetings here at TUI.

I choose a different theme each time (brand names, cities, household items), write a dozen or so on pieces of paper, split the group into 2 teams and start the game. The teams play head to head, the first to guess the answer correctly gets a point. It’s a playful way of showing that sketching is about conveying a concept quickly and not worrying about fidelity.

This technique not only breaks down that sketching barrier, but it also helps to bring the teams together more. Most of all, it’s fun, and that’s important.

However, it’s just the first step to instilling a sketching culture; the next step is making sure that the process has a sketching step and project plans give time for this.

Image courtesy of magicmarie at stock.xchng

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