Gavin Wye

Independent User Experience consultant

A Common Visual Language

20 January 2011

I sketch a lot in the early stages of a project. That's not really anything to be surprised about any more most UX'ers sketch nowadays in the early stages of a project.
Sometimes a page goes through 10-20 iterations. I try not to think about structure at first and just sketch let the ideas flow it's kind of using my hand as my brain. It's done it lots of times before so it knows what to do and I trust it. I have come up with (almost by accident) an copied lots of different styles for drawing things. Boxes, headings, links, drop-downs, overlays.
At times a wireframe will just be a series of lines and I show this to the people I'm working with. I often wonder if the people I'm showing sketches to understand what they are looking at. It's very hard to talk about ideas such as "when you click this it transforms in to this" if you don't have this shared understanding. For this reason I thought I would document my visual vocabulary. There really isn't a lot it its a few elements that I use over and over again. Here they are not very sophisticated but they work for me.
I have tried slightly higher fidelity versions using color to pick out links (blue), errors (red) and success (green) but it always feel like I'm getting in to the territory of marker visuals when I do this and that's not a sketch If I want to do something like that I'll jump in to InDesign, Illustrator, Omnigraffle or whatever other app I feel like using that day.

Oh and if your keen to know how I'm getting on in my resolutions just look at the date of this post. Not exactly what I was planning but better late than never.

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