15-16 March 2018

thestudio, Manchester

Sketchnoting UX

Session type:

Session duration:
90 minutes

Presented by:

Dr Makayla Lewis

Brunel University London

About this Hands-On

Within UX, sketches are often used in the development and expression of experiences and complex content. They offer UX practitioners a better way to communicate and express ideas, as well as to document, explore and communicate experiences and concepts between the UX practitioner and user, collaborator, manager or client. It's often easier to think and maintain focus when visualising.

Sketchnotes can enhance sketches by including handwriting, fast and lightweight drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes and visual elements such as connectors (arrows), containers (boxes) and lines. Thus, offering greater expression, context, and engagement, the creator and reader actually want to refer back to them.

Sketchnotes are fast, lightweight, easy to create, and - by varying their fidelity - can be an integral part of all stages of UX process. This flexibility makes sketchnotes a valuable tool that can increase access; break down boundaries to concept expression; support the thinking process, and communicate ideas to others.

Therefore, competency in sketchnoting is a valuable tool for today's UX practitioner. This hands-on session will be divided into 5 parts:

  1. ‘Background and Examples’ - what are the significance and benefits of sketchnoting in UX? With examples from UX and neighbouring fields.
  2. ‘Sketchnotes 101’ - will encourage participants to find their personal style through a series of sketching exercises promoting confidence building and self-evaluation. Participants will be asked to sketch along with the instructor, following a series of best practice examples and fun exercises, that will be live drawn and digitally projected for immediacy, eg the humble line, people, facial expressions, actions, place, icons, connectors, separators, hand-drawn typography and scenes.
  3. ‘Applied Sketchnotes’ - participants will be given examples of how sketchnotes have successfully been used in UX, eg brainstorming, interviews, observation, personas, scenarios, storyboards, participatory design and reporting/dissemination. Participants will be given a series of practical exercises including interviewing their neighbours to produce a visual user narrative, UX improvs to produce storyboards and a reproducibility activity working in groups to look at whether different types of sketches get different results.

    The purpose of parts 2 and 3 is to offer participants a space to explore and develop their sketchnotes in UX skills whilst obtaining constructive feedback from the tutor.
  4. ‘Q&A’ session followed by recommended resources.
  5. ‘Co-created sketchnotes and UX cheat sheet’ - the tutor will put together visual outputs created by the participants into a ‘UX in the City: Manchester Sketchnote Cheat Sheet’ to be used by the hands-on workshop and wider conference to support further practice.

Beginners are encouraged to attend - a background in sketching, illustration or sketchnotes is not needed.

About the Speaker

Makayla obtained a PhD in human-computer interaction (HCI) from City University London in 2012. Formerly a research assistant on the Cyber Security Cartographies at Royal Holloway, University of London and Cyber Security Body of Knowledge at Lancaster University, she is now research fellow on Smart Money at Brunel University London.

Makayla uses HCI, UX, participatory design and visual methods to draw out an understanding of how people influence the management of their data and how they use social networks to extend and maintain this influence. Examples of Makayla’s work are on her website.


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full programme