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UX - sketching machine

UX Design
Sketching Machine - Lines and Curves Who Tell a Story

"I start drawing, and eventually the characters involve themselves in a situation.
Then in the end, I go back and try to cut out most of the preachments"  
- Dr. Seuss

Sketching is a fundamental part of the design process and it also helps communicate ideas or a story without the need for words.
The Sketching Machine - 30 Day challenge is designed to push anyone who is doing it much further, not only in terms of sketching but in terms of coming up with concepts, ideas and even time management especially if you are a UXer.
I would like to go deeper into what I learned not only in terms of 'refining' my sketching technique but also to showcase some of my sketch pieces for you to see. I really hope you like them, I did my best to produce something worthy.
Better understanding of the Human Element (our users)
This is an important one for UXers (User Experience designers), because we design services, procedures and products for human beings so we need to have a pretty good understanding of who our users are so we can be objective, to put ourselves in their shoes and 'walk a mile'.
This also helps us to develop 'Personas' to feel empathy and care for our users and their needs.
By sketching we improve our 'Personas' and if you do not know what they are, a persona is a sketch (picture) of the likely users. A persona also help us putting a face to our users.
Some elements found in personas

A persona consists of a brief description of who the users are, their needs, problems, goals, desires, gender and socio-economic demographic; no good peddling expensive products to people who cannot afford it, or designing complex systems for novices.
Below is a quick sketch of some of our users and the way they are likely to feel at some point during their respective user journeys.

Some examples of 'People with Emotions' - Frustration or Satisfaction levels.

Tools of the trade
A lot of UX designers come from many other design fields, example: I am also a graphic and web designer, so the tools available to me are many. This is something I feel very proud of, other tools include basic JavaScript, html and CSS.
"Post-it notes, pens, pencils, paper, whiteboards are not our only tools, we have many software programs we can use. I terms of hardware we can use things like iPads, cameras, phones, hard drives, etc."
All these tools combined are helping us develop a better user journey.
A lot of Master UX designers shy away from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, but for mock-ups, wireframes, journey maps, etc. I find them to be invaluable and when presenting concepts to a client, it has a very powerful visual effect, they can come very close to the real deal.

This is not a sketch but a mock-up using Yahoo mail as a benchmark. Design tools were Photoshop and Illustrator. Don't get picky, it is supposed to be a 'quick' prototype.

Below is a sketch of some of my preferred tools, even the Xbox helps me zone out and come up with really good ideas.

Here are some of the tools I use and chances are you do too.

Developing a story
On Day 11, I was not sure what to draw, luckily, we had friends coming over for dinner and it all happened from there.
What amazed me was that when I drew the story, there was such 'happiness' in every line because we had an awesome time and it showed.
My wife cooked a mean Paella, the wine was delicious and catching up with friends was great, please see below.

#SketchingMachine - Day 11, A Night With Friends

Unexpected outcomes

Meet 'Sketchio' this little guy came through while trying to draw apple apps and other interface related items.
I was going around in circles and every app icon looked like a 'dog's breakfast' and somehow I started letting go of outcomes then suddenly 'Sketchio' was born with no effort at all.
This is the beauty of the Sketching Machine 30 day challenge, you break away from what is familiar and enter other realms of creation.

Meet 'Sketchio' our little unexpected friend.

Improving existing models
My son was on YouTube watching '5 Nights At Freddy's' and there was a lot of colour moving up and down the screen; the sudden movement made me think of the 'Rubix Cube' and it took me back to the many times my fingers slipped when trying to turn and match the faces as a child.
Then this idea came to me:
"Why not put little ribs on the 4 corners of each face so our fingers don't slip when turning it."

Below is my idea of an improved Rubix cube. The ribs are only minute and there is enough 'clearance' between the faces (gap).

This could prove to be a great 'prototype' to see if it works so it can go to production and distribution, not only that, it comes in white and 'see through'.

I call this idea 'Random' as it came from nowhere and improves on an existing model.

Improving on existing Interfaces - Email on an iPad
I was heavily thinking about 'User Journey' and 'Human Centered Design' when sketching this sample (below) because it is important to make each user feel unique and special by providing an individually tailored experience.
Email is one of those things, we can chose a 'theme' and there it is and still not very personal.
I thought - Why not set it up so the face (picture) of the user is part of the theme so they can feel they belong, so I came up with this idea.
Mind you, this idea is probably out there already but I am giving it my own personal spin. When typing the keyboard will be coming from right to left NOT bottom to top, this is just to be different.

Email log in using an iPad, a more personal and individual experience.

Don Norman - The Father of Human Centered Design
I am currently reading Don Norman's 'The Design of Everyday Things' and it has blown me away by its simplicity and brilliance.
What is more remarkable; he explains the difference between 'Affordances' and 'signifiers' and I thought they were both the same.

Here is a tribute to the Master himself and I highly recommend his book.

Don Norman, the Father of Human Centered Design.

Understanding your strengths (point of difference)
User Experience is so vast, and there are many tasks we perform, it is not just about AB testing, Surveys, Mock-ups, Info architecture, Stakeholders, etc.

More importantly UX is about caring for our users, this quality is also known as 'Empathy' and by caring for our users we are also providing seamless design which will be used and by default will make a profit.
Having said all that, there will be times when one will be required to perform just about every conceivable task in a single day, but what is important is knowing who and what your strengths.

I love UI, GUI, UX visual design and this sketch came to mind based on what I love doing, what I do best and took the opportunity to use it as advice to young designers or anyone wanting to gain a foothold in the industry.

What is your point of difference as a UXer?

In conclusion (I've Made It to Day 30)
I am happy and sad I have concluded the Sketching Machine - 30 Day Challenge and I feel what I have learned will stay with me for the duration of my career as a Designer no matter where I end up.
It has helped me refine my sketching technique and made me a thinker capable of conceptualizing quickly on my feet.
I have also made a friend in Rizwan Javaid; he has encouraged me and supported me on so many levels and I now consider him a friend and mentor.
Rizwan is a rare breed, his kindness is one of the qualities I respect the most, and he always gave me words of encouragement when I needed them most, especially now that I am at the crossroads of my career.
A personal note:

'Thanks Rizwan, you are a Sketching Sage and I am in your debt.'
If you enjoyed this article, please like and share, it will help Rizwan to keep the Sketching Machine 30 Day Challenge going and it will help me showcase my work.

PS. Sorry if you find grammar or spelling mistakes, I apologize in advance, Mea Culpa.....
Louis Salguero

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© Website designed and developed by Louis Salguero - (UX, graphic, web) - 2017
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