January 13th, 2009

There is a fuzzy line between what constitutes a paper prototype and a wireframe sketch loaded with sticky notes. Although Danny originally tagged them as prototypes (which is perfectly valid in my opinion), I would like to expand the possibility that such design representations may have uses beyond paper prototyping. Instead, sticky paper can also be used in the conceptualization stage in which wireframe generation and sketching fall into. Could this then be called a stickyframe?

Stickyframing, or the idea of using sticky notes combined with sketching can bring great value for a design process. The strength of such a combination is the decreased effort for changes or modifications provided by stickies, while at the same time having the immediacy and flexibility of ideation that sketching allows. Sometimes during paper sketching we’ll draw out an interface element and then we’ll want to reposition it. At other times, we’ll want to redraw an element while the remaining interface parts are perfectly fine. In both of these situations, we’re often forced to redraw the whole page view as we generate more design knowledge. Stickies of course help combat such inefficiencies.

On the same note, an emergent thought comes to mind which further could extend stickyframes – digital photography. Just the same way as Danny Hope took pictures of the various page views and posted them on flickr, the same could be done in a design setting. Photography could not only allow for the various interface states to be frozen as a future reference. More so, photographing sticky wireframes could allow for a reuse of various elements (or their states) across different pages. It’s just a thought, as the fight for increased document agility continues on.

Credits: Danny Hope

8 Responses to “Stickyframes”

  1. Tom Buchok Says:

    The concept of stickyframing is great. Makes a sketch much more agile.

    We've had some success with initial design meetings guiding the prototype design. We'll arrive at a "lowest-common denominator" that becomes the working prototype — i.e. it works for all the various ideas on a concept.

    As we lead up to the working prototype, though, stickyframing is something I'd like to try at an upcoming meeting.

  2. Yandle Says:

    "Photography could not only allow for the various interface states to be frozen as a future reference."

    I currently photograph every iteration of a given screen (i.e. every time someone ammends a screen, I photograph it). But I also really like the idea of using photography to capture every state too.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful article, Jakub.

  3. Juan Sanchez Says:

    I used to joke about making "Felt Prototyping" based on what kindergarten teachers will use sometimes to tell stories. They stick different pieces of felt up on a felt board that represent characters or objects in a story and change things around as the story progresses. This might be a better solution :-)

  4. Marcel Zimmermann Says:

    Great! I was inspiried to try this by a video "Paper Prototyping: A How-To Training Video", by Jacob Nielsen. He uses sticky notes in evaluation sessions. In my last project I used this technique in a desing session hands on with the customer. It works great because we used an A3 Paper with a browser-screen on it and then we added the sticky notes as the content boxes or features. That makes fun and is one most efficient techniques I've ever used. :-)

  5. Louise Says:

    I really want a Fuzzy Felt wireframe kit! How tactile, how lovely, make me one! Please. I already tell my son that my job is "mostly cutting and sticking", Now, how can I get away with lego . . .

  6. Ben Crothers Says:

    We sometimes use 'stickyframing' as part of the user requirements workshops we run. It's great to first ask workshop participants to write out their ideal pieces of content – one idea per sticky – and then ask them to arrange them on the glass in ways that makes the most sense to them.

    We get some surprisingly good ideas come out of it. And another vote from me for Fuzzy Felt Prototyping!