Mark Baskinger on Drawing Ideas and Communicating Interaction from Johnny Holland on Vimeo.

Here Mark Baskinger (associate professor at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design) talks to Johnny about drawing ideas, the differences between industrial designers and interaction designers, and how interaction designers can use sketching to communicate their designs better.

Sketching is nothing more than showing what’s in your head. Everyone can communicate through drawing. Industrial Designers are very skilled at communicating their ideas within space and real time. It’s part of their vernacular. Interaction Designers are only expected to do that at certain stages and rarely go beyond the basics (ie stick figures). Since Industrial Designers can draw and illustrate in 3D, Interaction Designers should strive to sketch like Industrial Designers.

Construct a Visual Conversation
Use something accessible to the client to get them sketching (ie – a crayon at a cheap Italian restaurant) and talking about their ideas. Clients need to learn about the process. They will feel like they are directing but really they are learning through sketching. As a designer we are interpreting their direction as boundaries, wishes, and desires.

The physicality of the old (like a sliding phone) is what’s locked away in our brains but the new (like an iPad) is still foreign. There’s a disconnect to communicating the new verses what we know as the old. Form needs to embody the desired behaviour. Touch screen is becoming ubiquitous. Thus we need to put the old and new together in a meaningful way or users will break the old. Over time there has to be a record that shows the expected movement. Then connect it back to the person. Through the sketches, tell the story of the product.

Figure out what the value is that you are giving to business. Until everyday people can choose a product based on the interaction not on the cost, then interaction design will still be trying to persuade business they are a needed asset.