CanUX: 5 Sketches or Else

by Luke Wroblewski November 18, 2008

At CanUX2008 in Banff, Jerome Ryckborst outlined his methodology for getting groups of developers to good design solutions in the absence of professional design help.

  • In some organization, developers are doing design. How can we deal with this?
  • Parallel design: have several developers attempt to solve the problem at the same time. Parallel design means we get to hear from everybody
  • 5 Sketches: saturate the design space, mash up the ideas, get to a pretty good solution, analyze it, and deliver a written statement
  • tep one: discuss the problem with subject matter experts to understand the competition, market, and personas
  • Step two: craft a problem statement to which the team can respond, without limiting creativity or dictating a specific solution
  • Step three: sketch five substantially different ideas. The first few are quick, then get to an uncomfortable sticking point and need to work past it. Sketch on large paper with minimal detail, label all actions and outcomes.
  • Step four: presenting a sketch only takes seconds. Each person presents on sketch, etc. Need to use green thinking hat (build on ideas).
  • Step five: mash up ideas to create a new sketch that uses parts of yours, parts of others, and also includes something new. Can modify, iterate, improve all ideas. Mash ups are about getting everyone to work together. Contribute ideas and find new ideas.
  • Step six: get to a pretty good solution. Time to iterate.
  • Step seven: analyze the pretty good solution sketches. One comment per sketch per person around and around. Ensure you are providing constructive feedback.
  • After the analysis, repeat the previous step –move toward convergence of ideas.
  • Step eight: write up a written solution that captures the final interactions the team settles on.
  • Review the written sketch together, point by point, to check that there is agreement. If not resolve, disagreement.
  • Benefits: brings a new set of skills, employees are more engaged, saves time/money, influences future designs