Posts Tagged ‘linowski’


Friday, April 10th, 2009

Just made some slight adjustments to the existing alternative sketching technique, aiming to steer more in the direction of brain storming or mind mapping. This resulted in something I’ll call a sketchstorm. Wanting to feel less constrained in the explorative stage of a project, little frames were sketched on a larger paper size (11×17) without any “alternative numbering”. Simply, the interface ideas which were more related to each other were grouped more closely together. As alternative concepts emerged, they were drawn outward away from the center. The center of the page still contains a focal idea which the sketches try to support. Overall, I can say that the larger sheet size combined with small interface representations did feel more free.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

Interaction Sketch Alternatives

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Inspired by the High Level Layout Aternatives sample, when I was sketching some ideas for fluidIA the other week, drawings such as this emerged. Even though the use of letters as a way to distinguish alternatives was borrowed, the intention wasn’t really about exploring layout. Instead the focus was more about exploring a number of various interaction alternatives where screen or state changes are interlinked with some form of action (mostly key presses in this case). The sample also makes use of a simple title suggesting a unifying idea for all alternatives. Just thought it would be worthy to share.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

Sketching Alternative and Social Activities

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Recently as I was thinking about an assignment of designing a new playlist system at work, a number of ideas collided all into one and resulted in this design sample. The desire was to explore alternatives, quickly, of high level activities, which would have to support interactions between a number of actors or people. So I jumped back into pencil, paper and marker mode. As simple or obvious as it may seem, what I think might of worked well worth noting is the use of colours to denote different (or same) people. Another thing that perhaps worked out was the use of one activity as a starting point in the center and then branching out toward alternatives.

I think this little sample was influenced by other’s work as well worthy of noting. First of all, here at TU Delft we were exposed to quite a bit of mind mapping exercises which in a way resemble the interface sketches of Jonas Löwgren. Then again, this sample also shares the high level characteristics of a user journey submitted by Steve Johnson. Finally, as I’ve written in my personal blog I’ve also began questioning the sterility of one path user flows wondering about how to explore the diversity of activities.

The sample isn’t perfect, and as is argued in Pencils before Pixels, the lower the fidelity of the sketch the harder it is to use it to communicate with others. However when I showed the sketch to others, and supported the sample verbally, it enriched the conversations.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

Sitemap References

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

In a way, sitemaps can be thought of as a unifying table of contents of an information architecture project. They provide a way to zoom out and view the whole organization from a bird’s eye point of view. As interesting as things look from the clouds, one can fly around only for so long, and information architects often also allow to come back down to the wireframe or page level. This zooming back in is often done through some form of referencing. Here in this sample I began referencing at least three things: wireframes, content inventories, and additional sitemap pages. Wireframes are referenced with a red “W#” stamp, content inventories with a “C#” stamp, and additional pages with upper corner blocks. Some time ago in the past I also referenced user scenarios at this level. The list of references could possibly be expanded to accommodate other item as well.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

Generic Content and Section Labels

Friday, February 6th, 2009

While designing, it’s not rare that at times detailing is avoided and more rapid exploration is favoured. This very much applies to wireframing as well and in particular content or section areas. When wanting to document such an area or content reference quickly, I fell into the habit of using the less than and greater than signs to suggest generic labels or variables. Using these signs allows to visually distinguish real content from the labels. In addition, this technique also allows for more granular fidelity in design documentation as some things are more detailed while others are left undefined. In a way then, using such generic labels moves wireframing one step closer toward sketching by allowing for such incompleteness.

A couple of years ago Dan Brown has also written about such different content representation techniques and also created a nice summary poster. It would be interesting however to see some stronger visual language or styling to help distinguish all of Dan’s different content representation types: actual, dummy, labelled, symbolic, and lipsum.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

State Level Wireflows and Transitions

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

How do we document states changes when the page gives way to richer interaction? Here is one sample of my own work where I began to document state changes in a separate document away from the wireframes. Having access to detailed visual samples I cropped parts of the interface and layered flow arrows to represent these interactions. Typically however, these would not be so stylistically detailed and would probably be more wireframe like, or even sketched if speed mattered more.

Now to the meat of this sample. There are at least two things that I find useful which come to mind when documenting such interactivity in detail. First of all, transitions matter. Bill Buxton recently mentioned in his latest book, Sketching User Experiences, that interaction designers have too much focused on the states and not enough about what is in the space between them. To fill the states gap I personally find it interesting to seek inspiration about transition possibilities from JavaScript events such as the ones provided by jQuery. There are quite a bit of these events available and they range from key presses to double clicks, to mouse scrolls. Secondly, I sometimes complement events with conditions. Conditions are basically some form of written logic which applies to the event. For example: sometimes a state does not change on a mouse click alone, the mouse click has to be held down for more than 3 seconds and only then the new state kicks in. To represent these conditions, I put them right under the events in a smaller font. This is just one way of doing it. If you have other ways, please don’t hesitate to submit.

A word of caution. This one can be considered a form of a detailing technique where it’s really up to your best judgement when to perform. I definitely don’t do this for all parts of an interface. As others have mentioned in the past, sometimes things like this are best resolved through dialogue with the developers while the prototype is being built. Sometimes however, when the user experience can really be affected by how these states transition, it really helps to put it on paper.

Here is also an interesting article on the same technique.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

Colouring Clickables in Wireframes

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Sometime ago I felt a need to represent in wireframes everything that could be clickable or actionable. This came largely from people asking me where one could click on inside a wireframe during presentations. When I just presented black and white screens it was not always easy for them to distinguish standard content areas from clickables and people would ask for confirmation. For this reason I began using one colour, usually red, to denote any interface areas, buttons, or text links that could be acted upon. In this regard, I found that this justified and consistent use of colour worked out pretty well.

Credits: Jakub Linowski

Flexible Sitemaps

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

When thinking about high level web site structures, we often rearrange content or page items. I at least, place page holders here and there, look at new content, and then revisit the structure as new knowledge or insights are generated. This is especially so during the early phases of site mapping. In order to imbue these documents with more agility and flexibility, sometime in the past I developed the habit of avoiding arrows and line connectors. I felt that the lines slowed me down as they added an extra step to the work flow. Each time I would reorder a page item, I would then also have to rearrange the lines as well. Instead I began using indentation, tone and alignment to suggest hierarchy. Perhaps this tactic is not perfect, as changing the background colour of an item also requires additional time. Nevertheless, it’s still one step closer in the direction of making documentation more flexible to change.

Credits: Jakub Linowski