We draw things a lot. This isn't shocking — we're a design firm, right? And designers are virtuosos who create pretty pictures and gorgeous web designs — isn't that the case? We think different.
Why does ZURB sketch? Really, we can't help ourselves. We're visual thinkers so we break problems down by asking lots of questions and build solutions up by experimenting with lots of solutions. Most get discarded quickly. Some survive to see another day. This is our design process at work. We use quick and cost-effective methods like sketching to solve big problems.
Sketching is a great low cost tactic for generating ideas, making decisions and driving things forward inside any business. Some of its benefits include:
- Helps identify problems. Don't like what you see, how it reads or the interaction between a few pages or elements? Print them out, add notes and share them with your team. You'll be surprised by how little time and documentation it takes to identify problems and start seizing opportunities like this.
- Quickly generates lots of ideas. You don't need high tech tools or lots of time, just pen and paper to rough out lots of solutions. It's actually hard to get too detailed if you keep it lo-fi and that's a good thing early in the design process. Get all those "what if..." possibilities out in the open.
- Makes it easy to filter out ideas you don't want. Early stage ideas can be tough to grasp when they're trapped in conversation. Quick sketching helps you to try them out a bit and then filter and edit down before taking anything too far into implementation. Leads to a lot of, "Oh, that won't work, what about this" moments.
- Anybody can join in. Some of the best ideas we've seen start with somebody saying, "Don't make fun of me, I don't know how to draw." Sketching isn't about making pretty pictures, it's about explaining an idea so that other people can get it. It can get team members from any discipline within your company to participate.
- Invites critique. Sketching is loose and messy and implies, "These are ideas we're trying out, but haven't been decided on yet." They're visual and so lo-fi that most people can feel comfortable contributing to them. There's less ego when there's less polish.
- Makes it easy to rework and refine the ideas you want. Since sketches don't take long to produce, they're extremely easy to reproduce. Through this process we can quickly refine on our ideas.
- Helps tell stories. Words can only get you so far to convey an idea. Being comfortable sketching in front of other people is a powerful storytelling skill. It's particularly vital to interaction design because it can shed preconceptions and tie ideal user experiences together.
Sketching doesn't just mean putting pen to paper. It's a shift in thinking that gets you to be scrappy with your materials and nimble with your thinking. Rather than settling in to enjoy creating a masterpiece, your goal is to engage yourself and your team in energetic storytelling that solves problems for people. Sketching is at the heart of design thinking.
By getting lots of ideas on the table, getting teams to filter and then collaborate to refine them, ZURB is able to help companies quickly find the most worthwhile opportunities to build. This avoids costly implementation of unproven ideas and drives innovation in our clients' business.