Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - Sketching UX

This week’s UXPA event was a little different. We were joined by Dr. Miriam Sturdee from Lancaster University, Dr. Makayta Lewis from Kingston University and Dr. Ernesto Priego from City University who, rather than giving talks, got us all joining in.

Photo of my sketches in my sketchbook

Ernesto got us started by talking about co-designing comics to represent experiences of lockdown. He showed us how visualising the experience someone has can be more accessible to everyone, rather than a written report, and can give more context than tiny video clips.

But the idea of drawing what I have found in my research was a bit daunting; his comics looked amazing. So it was reassuring when he showed the process of making the comics. They didn’t appear in perfect form, but were first drafted out in pencil, before the lettering, ink and colour were applied. As this was all about co-creation, there was also workshop time with participants to make sure it truly represented their experience.

Amazing. But I was still skeptical that I would be able to do my participants justice with my basic drawing skills.

This is where Miriam and Makayta came in. They regularly run half day drawing workshops for their students and had condensed their workshop down to give us a flavour of our potential.

Using a Miro board they started drawing live for us. Starting with stick people they got progressively more detailed while asking us to join in at home.

This was not art but a way to show our ideas. We were encouraged to use pens and to not be precious about our work.

We progressed from drawing stick people to hands (important for holding devices) and objects around us - laptops, cups, lamps.

This really was a session which could have gone on much longer and I don’t think many people would have minded. And I love the idea of sharing my research findings in such a different way, while still being able to get the main story across, because all this is is storytelling, just in a slightly different way than we are used to. I’ll definitely be adding it to my tool box for the future, even if I have to convince the UI designer to do the actual drawing for me.

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