The first step in great UX design is sketching out our ideas, “Sketching frees our ideas from our mind allowing others to see them. A visual representation of an idea has the capacity to be shared, collaborated upon, and improved.” When we take the time to follow the steps, we are able to focus on one aspect of the design at a time. Sketching out the design and working through the various stages to a workable prototype is estimated to take about “30% of total development time.” This is a substantial use of resources and human capital, and it gives us an indication of how important this process is. Whether you’re new to UX design or experienced in the field, it’s important to move in a logical progression:
“Even Leonardo Da Vinci had to sketch out his inventions before he started to build them. No matter how smart you are, It’s impossible to go from a simple idea in your head to immediately building it out without hashing out the details in between. Sketching out your idea before you build it is necessary for every designer to do.”
There are business reasons to take the time to sketch out a basic design before moving on, “Sketches are a great way to engage the client because they are rough and can be torn up or erased.” Sketching can be done in a number of ways, and for many, it can seem like a daunting task. This becomes clear when we notice that digital design professionals (specifically those with UX wireframe tool and professional sketching experience) are traditionally called in to help an organization with their wireframing needs.
If you’re not sketching, you’re putting time and effort into designs that can be tossed out by the client or the users themselves. No one can afford to lose time in today’s digital workplace. Disruptive design was meant to create efficiencies, and what seems unnecessary can actually save you time in the long run. LiveTiles UX Lead Fred Showell suggests that you “draw out a few pages at once, to get a sense of page workflow and how the different parts of your site will link in to one another.” Fred also suggests asking colleagues for feedback. Artist and UX designer Ryan McGuire, of colorisa.com and gratisography.com, agrees: “Once you have a solid design foundation in place this makes it much easier to finalize the high fidelity elements.” He suggests that what seems like an extra step is actually going to save time throughout the course of the project. Chief Architect Erik Ralston thinks of sketching as a great way to avoid bias, “Bias is when you show someone colors or something complex. It can distract the conversation. If they don’t like the color or the font, it engages their mind more than the design.”
It’s not a consideration for businesses alone. A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Usability.gov, responded when asked if there were benefits of low fidelity UX sketching with an enthusiastic, “Of course.” This would apply to each of their core areas: content strategy, project management tools and visual design. Despite the recognized advantages to starting out with a basic overview of the project, “very few people actually sketch.” It’s hard to believe they would be in such a hurry that they’d compromise the quality of the project, but people tend to lose patience early on. The struggle designers have with UX development tools and slow progress is not a new one. It also applies to people in other fields. After all, we’re trying to create efficiencies and cut costs. It feels as if you’re jumping ahead when you skip steps. You are, until you have bugs, or the client doesn’t like the proposed intranet. Maybe the users have trouble navigating it. Eager to move on to a new project, the UX designer is suddenly stuck having to go back and re-engineer. If all goes well it’s a straightforward process, but if it’s a complex design that incorporates many disparate parts and legacy systems, it could involve taking the difficult path of “fixing a broken user experience.”
If you’re ready to start sketching, the question is, how do I begin? If you’re an excellent artist with a background in engineering, you can impress people with your drawing abilities, assuming they aren’t distracted by the artistry. When we think of it this way, “it’s a very creative exercise.” Unfortunately, not everyone can create that kind of picture, and even those who can might spend too long in producing it. If you want to learn UX sketching from a cartoonist’s perspective, you’ll want to “Sketch the outlines first in the lowest possible fidelity.” Writer and product designer Joshua Porter shares a similar concept:
“In truth, it doesn’t matter if you are good at sketching. The less formal the sketch, the better. In fact, avoid the urge to use a pencil as it leaves too much room for you to ponder, erase, re-draw, second-guess. But a permanent marker, now you’re talking. A nice big, fat Sharpie is the perfect tool.”
While that is one familiar way to go, the quality of the sketch usually has to be addressed, as in the case of one office that set up the ground rule: “We could comment on the ideas behind the sketch but the quality of the draftsmanship was off limits.” Others point out that using a pen and paper “may not be the most pixel-perfect portrayal of the final results.” To avoid this, a more hi-tech method could be used—one that achieves the necessary goals of the project through sketching while avoiding the unwanted problems associated with it. What if there was a way to gain the benefits of sketching out a digital design, share and collaborate with it more easily, and capitalize off of the work that you’ve done at each step along the way? This is what LiveTiles brings you. When sketching out your SharePoint wireframe, or any other aspect of your UX development tools, our SharePoint wireframe tool makes it possible to keep track of your original ideas. You can save the page, rearrange, drag and drop and display your designs for clients. Below is a screenshot taken while using LiveTiles wireframe mode.
Wireframe mode is also available in LiveTiles Cloud. LiveTiles Cloud gives you the opportunity to do this from our Azure-powered designer. LiveTiles maintains a rigorous two week release schedule that delivers the latest in UI and UX development tools and updates at a constant pace. Our global product team is constantly designing, building and testing new cutting edge digital design solutions that will make your intranet stand out. In fact, many of our current tiles were originally recommendations from our users.
LiveTiles Mosaic has the education field covered, with tiles for Ted Talks, YouTube, Twitter for education and Prezi. While completing assignments today, soon they will be learning project management software, running an intranet, using SharePoint wireframe tools and increasing employee engagement through digital design trends.
LiveTiles is doing more than ever to accommodate teams. Try LiveTiles to experiment with our wireframe mode, see your work in a sketch and as a completed site with the flip of a toggle switch, and make your sketch something to build on, easily.