Sketching is an important tool in the UX design process. It takes you away from the screen and gives you the opportunity to design quickly and effectively. In order to make the process smoother there are a few steps you can follow.
1. Establish the goal of the page
By the time you are sketching solutions you should have an idea of the user stories, the user journeys and the pages needed to achieve these. Understanding the overarching purpose and goals of the page you are working on as well as what the goals of the users are when visiting the page will help you to focus your thinking.
I tend to write this out so I can keep referring back to it, for example for a product page the purpose of the page might be:
To allow users to find out more about the product and see it in more detail to ultimately decide if they want to make a purchase
Ultimately defining the goals of the page has a dual purpose. As well as helping to focus your thinking, defining the goals of the page makes it a lot easier to explain the page to a client before discussing content and layout.
2. Establish content requirements
Once you understand the goal of the page list all the content that will be needed on a page to fulfil the user needs; a content requirements. This content requirements will act as a checklist while sketching to make sure everything is accounted for on the page. Don’t worry about the order of this list right now, but content should be based on the insights gained from your audience. When creating this list think about what information people will need to fulfil their needs (often these needs are in the form of user stories).
Even though it is tempting to get straight into sketching this step is important. By understanding the different types of content you can start to develop a framework for talking through the requirements with the team and clients. However, ultimately users come to your site to find information and fulfil a need. It’s important that we establish the content needed in order to fulfil these needs as it can be easily missed once we get into the details of interaction design.
3. Prioritise your content
At this stage you will have all the content that needs to go on the page to achieve the user needs. Providing you have them, use personas and data from your user research to order and prioritise your list of content on the page.
It’s useful to think about:
- The narrative of the page – what story do you want your page to convey?
- What content is most important to the user in order to achieve their goals?
- The KPI’s for the site
4. Sketch mobile first
Now you know the content the page needs to have on it, and the order that you want this content displayed in it’s time to start sketching.
Sketching mobile first really helps you to focus on the vital elements. You may even end up removing unnecessary content. And of course, it makes your website user friendly what ever the device a user visits on.
5. Sketch consistently
An important factor in sketching is to keep elements consistent.
Use consistent sketching styles for images, buttons, text, and input boxes. This will make your UX sketches neater as well as making them easier to understand.
One final tip
Remember sketching is a quick way to flesh out your ideas throughout the UX and Design process. A top tip is to never spend so much time on a sketch that you would be upset to screw it up, throw it in the bin and start again.