Sketching, the simple, powerful UX tool

I’ll admit up front that I don’t think of myself as a great sketcher, but it is a great way to brainstorm solutions to user experience issues. It’s purposefully low fidelity, fast, and encourages multiple iterations. I’ve found I can waste a lot of time “trying stuff” if I jump to my computer first, but sketching allows you to iterate quickly without putting a lot of time into detail which is a easy trap to fall into. 

Yesterday, as a brainstorming challenge, I was asked to sketch out a few different approaches to a better airport security experience. I’ll share what I drew up here, but keep in mind that (a) I’m a terrible artist and (b) I tend to use humorous examples first to try and get my brain moving on a problem.

Simplify

Simplify airport security by doing the scanning while everyone is standing on a moving sidewalk. You step on, get scanned and move off at the end, and into the airport. No more hassle with lines and waiting!

Simplify airport security by doing the scanning while everyone is standing on a moving sidewalk. You step on, get scanned and move off at the end, and into the airport. No more hassle with lines and waiting!

Entertain

If you’ve ever stood in a airport security line, you know how boring they can be. So why not provide some entertainment while you’re standing there?

Entertain

Self-Select?

This is just me picking on security :)

idea3

 

 

One thought on “Sketching, the simple, powerful UX tool”

  1. There have been many instances where user itnerface has become an issue. So many times, a site has been unclear causing me to waste an unnecessary amount of time and become frustrated for what seems like a silly reason. In most cases, this happens with online applications. Not the most recent, but some of the most frustrating would be applications applying for different colleges. I remember one in particular for Northwest Nazarene University. To begin, on their homepage, there was no clear indication as to where I could find an application. I spent an extra fifteen minutes looking for the application when I could have been spending that time filling it out. To improve this, it would be nice if they created a direct path to the application, rather than having multiple tabs the user has to go through in order to find it. It almost felt like a guessing game that I was playing with the site. This is a downfall because the user could become impatient and give up on trying to find the application, just like I almost did. A good example of an easy to find application for colleges would be North Idaho College. I was able to find their application within two minutes of getting onto their site because of how well their usability was mapped out. It saved me a lot of time and stress. Not only that, but when I finally started the process of filling out the application, I noticed there were multiple parts to it and there was one part I actually had to request them to send me in the mail. This made things very difficult because I was not able to simply complete the entire thing online. Instead, I had to complete multiple forms online, as well as wait for papers to come in the mail to do by hand. This was incredibly inconvenient because it creates the opportunity for missing documents’ — I may forget there is another part, or simply misplace the papers. The different aspects of the application online were among the most frustrating. According to the site, there were some papers that were not required to fill out, yet there were others that were required. However, it was not clear as to which papers I did need to complete. So, for all I knew, I could have wasted thirty minutes filling out a part of the application that I did not even need. Although, one thing I did appreciate was the fact that the application let me know how many more pages were left for me to complete during he process. These are simply a few issues I have run into with usability. In order to create a functional and successful site,there are many things that must occur. One important thing would be to make sure the user knows that what they are doing is relevant and important. There is nothing more frustrating than filling something out or giving information that we feel like is a waste of time and energy. Also, it would be wise to keep the user informed on how much time they may be spending completing something. Sometimes, users may be on a time crunch and choose not to complete it for the mere fact they feel they do not have enough time or think it would be a waste of their time. Error prevention is another important aspect. Have you even submitted something, but it does not go through because of an error stated? Sometimes it will not even tell you where you made the error which causes the need to dissect every aspect of the form and find where you went wrong. Most of the time, we may not even be able to find a mistake. So, letting the user know exactly where they messed up and how to fix it is incredibly beneficial. Design is also an important aspect. If the site is bland and minimal it could cause confusion. On the other hand, if it is too complex, it could also cause confusion. All in all, usability is a very complex thing. There is a lot of thought and careful planning that must go into it in order for it to be successful.

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