Sketching is an essential tool for innovation. If you don’t explore new ideas effectively and cheaply at the start of a project, you risk expensive failures. At the fifth SA|UX forum Cape Town meet-up, we had some great presentations about the subject.
My talk covered the essentials of sketching for innovation: I’ve guest blogged it over on the 20Four labs blog.
We had a talk from Microsoft’s, Kath Roderick about Blend3 Sketchflow. I have to say – the tool really looks like it has merit.
- It’s primarily focussed on making fairly robust, clickable prototypes, so it may, be a bit more fiddly than a very early stage skecthing tool like Balsamiq. But it seems to make it easy to do a lot of the things that usually take ages during UX design.
- You can do data binding – to import sample data quickly into scrolly boxes.
- And you can make re-usable elements, like, say a universal navbar, and put them onto each page with ease.
- It also shows you your prototype pages as a network diagram rather than as a list (like say Fireworks or Dreamweaver does), which I think will make pages easier to find, organise and remember.
- Sketchflow lets you package up your prototype so you can put it on a website, and not worry about how to share the prototype. And the packaging mechanism includes a feedback tool so stakeholders can annotate and comment on it in their own time. Very clever.
Finally, we had a brilliant talk from Dennis Williams about how to make and use sketches even though you “can’t draw.”
Cape Town’s UX community is growing well. We had a turnout of more than 50 people.