UX Sketching – seeing inside the minds of your users

Yesterday I went to a User Experience Sketching session hosted by Devin Hunt from Lyst. I had no idea what UX Sketching was about, but it sounded interesting and some people I follow on Lanyrd were going, so what the heck.

If you haven’t heard of UX Sketching either, it turns out to be a way to see inside the minds of your users and experience your site/product through their eyes. Even better, it’s really simple:

  1. Find a user
  2. Ask them to quickly sketch the page/feature/item of interest
  3. Look at what they draw – and what they don’t draw
  4. Repeat until you’ve got a bunch of data points

By getting the user to draw from memory, you find out what’s most important/salient to them. One example from Devin – on Lyst they had a “Love” feature. Click metrics said people were clicking on it – but it never showed up in sketches. Turns out when they dropped the feature, no-one noticed – it was only being clicked because it was there, not because it was useful.

So when is this tool useful? Obviously, you have to have some users who have some familiarity with the site/feature. It’s no use if they haven’t seen it – so it can’t start a design process for a new feature.

What it can do is tell you where your design is working, or where it’s not. Perhaps you want reviews to be central to a buying page, but users aren’t sketching them. That could trigger a round of design work, mockups, A/B testing etc to see what raises the awareness. Maybe you’re trying to figure out where on a page things should go – looking at where users sketch them will tell you where they intuitively think they should go.

I think seeing through others eyes is one of the hardest things to do in design, so this seems like a great quick, easy way to do it.

Now off to get some users sketching…

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